Jerry Jud

This is, to my knowledge, the last recorded interview of Jerry Jud. My buddy Ben Wild and I trekked up to his home, Timshel, to spend a couple of days with Jerry, his wife Georgeanne, and Puffin the cat. We recorded this interview the last morning we were there, November 12, 2018. So, this is not only the last recorded interview, but the last time I saw my dear friend and teacher. He died on March 9, a youngster at only 99 years and 9-1/2 months old.

This exploration of Jerry’s history with Love is not only a sweet autobiographical journey, but also a profound statement of his theology, his views on social activism, and much more.

Please click here to watch it.

A couple of technical notes: Ben and I had some technical issues in the recording of the video. So, while the audio recording is complete, there are a couple of breaks in the video stream. Ben did an elegant job of editing it so that the break is easy.

Also, I’m mindful that we misspelled Jerry’s last name in the opening shot. We’ll correct that soon, but I wanted to get this out as soon as possible, knowing that the loving people who will be watching this have forgiving hearts.

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I know Jerry through Shalom Mountain, which he co-founded with Elisabeth Binz Jud in 1976. Shalom has been my spiritual home since 1997, and I’m now privileged to lead retreats there a few time per year. I was privileged to co-lead with Jerry the last retreat he led on at Shalom, “Science and Mysticism”, in 2011.

So, if he had done nothing more than found this retreat center, his impact on my life would have been profound. In the last few years, though, it’s been the conversations with Jerry and his mere existence on the planet — his being — that provided at least as great an impact.

I hope you enjoy the video.

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Here’s his obituary, penned by his daughter Kai:

Gerald J. Jud, founder of Shalom Mountain Study and Retreat Center, left his body on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at his home Timshel, in Lawton, PA. He was 99 years old and his death came after a brief illness.

Gerald was born in New Bern, Texas on May 26, 1919, the seventh of nine surviving children of Reverend Daniel Jud and Aurelie Luhn Jud and grandson of John Balthazar Jud, a pastor of the Evangelical Synod of North America and president of the New York Synod. Gerald’s mother was of a Texas pioneer family and at the age of 18 when she was the organist of her church in Belleville, Texas, she married Daniel, the church’s minister. Gerald is in the family tree of Leo Jud who helped Zwingli translate the Bible in Switzerland in 1540.

Gerald graduated from Baylor University with a BA, McCormick Seminary in Chicago University with a BD and Yale University with a PhD in Psychology of Religion. On July 3, 1944 Gerald married Esther Stuermer, a fellow graduate student at Yale. They had four children, all born in New Haven, CT: Carol Elaine born December 23, 1947; John Mark born April 21, 1949, who died three days after birth; Daniel Arnold born August 5, 1950, who died in 2006; and Virginia Pauline born August 15, 1953.

After graduation, Gerald served as Assistant Pastor and then Pastor of the First Congregational Church, UCC of West Haven, CT from 1943 to1957 where he pursued his interest in the power of group dynamics.

Thereafter, Gerald became the pastor of Central Congregational Church in Worcester, MA. He remained as pastor three years until he was called in 1960 to be the Vice President of the Division of Evangelism and Research in the newly formed United Church of Christ. On the very day that he was installed, his wife Esther drowned in a sailboat accident in Long Island Sound.

He served in his new position for the next 15 years, a period of radical change, not only for him but for the church and culture. This period called him to serve both the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. Gerald was a theologian and a visionary who was actively engaged in the Civil Rights movement, the Anti-Vietnam War movement and the crisis around overpopulation. In 1972, Jerry developed an interest in the Human Potential movement and took a year long journey around the world focusing on Third World countries.

He left his position in the United Church of Christ in 1975 and in 1976, he founded, with his second wife, Elisabeth Binz Jud, the Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center in the Catskills of New York. Here he incorporated a technique he invented called Training in the Art of Loving, a process of spiritual growth and development which focused on the body’s holding of fear, anger and pain and the transformative healing possible within an intentional loving community. His work at Shalom Mountain also centered on the bridge between the sacred and the sexual and his practice of yoga.

After serving this now international institution for 15 years, he and his wife of the past 28 years, Georgeanne Vosburg Jud, founded the Timshel Center for the Study and Practice of Mysticism in Lawton, Pennsylvania.

At the time of his death he was working on a project to bring the individual followers of the religions of the world together in meaningful dialogue as a step toward promoting peace on the planet.

He is the author of seven books — Strengthening the Bonds, The Shape of Crisis and Tragedy, Pilgrim’s Process, Training in the Art of Loving, and Ex-Pastors. He also co-authored six other books and numerous articles on church and culture.

Gerald is survived by his wife, Georgeanne Vosburg Jud, his two daughters Kai Carol Jud and Virginia Jud; three grandchildren, Shems Wali Jud, Daniel Baker Jud, Amira Baker and three great grandchildren, Tealia Marion Jud, Oliver Thielsen Jud and Kiran Kulkarni. In addition, he is survived by his second wife, Elisabeth Binz Jud and step-daughters, Wendy Beck, Robyn Hightower, Heidi Curry and April Roberson.

All who knew him will remember his teaching, “Trust the unfolding.”