One of the advantages of having the Uplands Village in Pleasant Hill is meeting the diverse and interesting people who move here from other parts of the country or world. One such person is the Rev. Dr. Jack J. Seville Jr.
The Lancaster Theological Seminary gave the 2012 Robert V. Moss Award for Faithfulness in Ministry to the Rev. Seville at its annual graduation/alumni banquet in the Marriott Heritage Ballroom in Lancaster, PA, on Friday, May 18, which coincidentally was Seville’s 74th birthday and the 48th anniversary of his graduation from the seminary.
Early in his career, the Rev. Seville served several churches in Pennsylvania. In 1989, he was called to serve as conference minister of the Northern Plains Conference, United Church of Christ (UCC), an area that comprises the state of North Dakota and two provinces of Canada. In 1998, he received the North Dakota Conference of Churches Ecumenical Achievement Award. In 2000, he received the National Leadership Award from the state of North Dakota for his work in leading the state’s disaster response team, following the calamitous North Dakota 1997 floods, which led to the evacuation and burning of the city of Grand Forks.
After retirement, Seville accepted a special assignment for the United Church of Christ following the terrorist attacks in New York City Sept. 11. He was asked to serve as a chaplain to local churches and clergy of the denomination in places where the attacks affected lives personally.
For seven months he visited local churches in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, doing crisis counseling with clergy and laity, who had lost loved ones. The United Church of Christ had 61 local churches in which persons died as result of the attacks. In 2010, the Rev. Seville received their first Lifetime Achievement Award from Hagerstown Community College.
The Moss Award is presented for distinguished service in the practice of specialized ministry in the United Church of Christ. The general criteria for consideration as a recipient of this award include fostering the vitality of ministry, exhibiting excellent pastoral presence, demonstrating creativity in ministry, enlisting and nurturing the gifts of others and relating the gospel to commonly shared experiences of all in society.
The Rev. Seville was quite surprised and touched by the decision of the alumni council to grant this award to him. He knew Dr. Moss when he was a student. It was Dr. Moss who later hired him as adjunct professor of Lancaster Seminary in 1970 where he taught New Testament theology and Greek for six years.
Both Seville and his wife, Fanny Lee, are authors. He has published three novels and some poetry. She has published two books of biblical songs and stories for children for use in churches and by families. Seville's other interests include singing, tennis, baseball, reading, writing, movies and other sports. He has sung with many musical groups wherever they have lived. Look for the debut of this "Renaissance Man" on the stage of the Cumberland County Playhouse in this summer’s rendition of Music Man.
Following retirement in 2001, the Rev. Seville served as interim conference minister for four UCC conferences. He and Fanny Lee retired to Uplands Village in 2010 and are active members in Pleasant Hill Community Church, UCC. Seville served as interim pastor of the Community Church from May through July 2008 during Pastor Tom Warren’s sabbatical leave.
Like so many before them, Jack and Fanny Lee fell in love with this part of the country. He was born in Hagerstown, MD; Fanny Lee was born in Martinsburg, WV. That makes them both real southerners. They see coming to Uplands Village as a way of continuing to participate in the mission spirit that has guided their lives and ministry throughout their 53 years of marriage.