Obituary: Bishop Robert Fielden Lundy (March 29, 1920-Jan 22, 2003)
BISHOP Robert F. Lundy (1964-1968) passed away at his home in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, on Jan 22, 2003 at the age of 82.
Born into the home of a Methodist minister, he graduated from Emory and Henry College in1941, and with the B.D. from the Candler School of Theology, Emory University in 1944. In 1961, Emory and Henry College honoured him with the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Admitted on trial in 1943 and ordained a deacon in the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church in 1944, he was received into full connection and ordained an elder in 1946.
His calling to serve in Malaya was a result of a series of events. While serving as a pastor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – his first full-time pastoral assignment – he and his wife felt the call to serve the church beyond their homeland. They were convinced that God had called him to serve in China while listening to Mrs Berckman, wife of the Rev J. H. H. Berckman, missionaries on leave from China and who were later to serve in Singapore.
The Lundys were then sent by the Methodist Board of Missions to study Chinese at Yale in preparation for commissioning as missionaries to China, but political developments made it impossible for them to go to China. As a result, they were appointed to the service in Malaya in 1950.
Transferred to the Malaya Annual Conference, the Rev Lundy ministered to Wesley churches in Klang, Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan and Ipoh, and served as District Superintendent of the East Malaya and Perak districts. He pastored Barker Road Methodist Church briefly until he was elected to the episcopacy on Aug 21, 1964.
Together with his pastoral responsibilities, he served for many years as Associate Editor, and then Editor, of Methodist Message from January 1962 until he was elected Bishop in August 1964.
As the last missionary bishop, Bishop Lundy guided the churches during the debate, planning and formation of the Autonomous Methodist Church of Malaysia and Singapore which came into being in 1968, when he declined re-election in the belief that his successor should be a local person.
After his service in Malaysia and Singapore, the Rev Lundy left for yet another distinguished period of service in his home Conference in the United Methodist Church.
His 19 years in Southeast Asia were varied, interesting and fulfilling, fully living up to his Chinese cognomen, Li Renbu, meaning “Servant of Mankind”. A faithful Veteran of the Cross, he will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. His funeral was held on Jan 25, 2003 and he is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three children – Robert, Allen and Elisa.