Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


January 9, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Richard T. (Dick) Murray, 77, the Seneker Professor Emeritus of Christian Education who taught at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology for 29 years, and was among those who conceived and developed the popular Disciple Bible Study curriculum for The United Methodist Church, died January 7 of complications from diabetes.

“Dick Murray’s skills as a teacher and storyteller, and his passion for the Bible story, not only inspired countless numbers of pastors and Sunday school teachers to be better educators, but indeed, helped transform the way The United Methodist Church preaches and teaches Scripture,” said Robin W. Lovin, dean of Perkins School of Theology.

A clergy member of the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in the Houston area, the Rev. Murray joined Perkins School of Theology in 1965 helping to establish the school’s continuing education programs for both clergy and laity, and later preparing hundreds of pastors and Christian educators as the Seneker Professor of Christian Education, a position from which he retired in 1994.

He was the author of Teaching the Bible to Adults and Youth and Strengthening the Adult Sunday School Class from Abingdon Press. Prior to joining the Perkins faculty, the Rev. Murray also served churches in New York and Texas, was director of Trailer Ministries in Paducah, Ky., and was director of Adult Ministries for the Texas Annual Conference.

His passion for effective Christian education and Biblical literacy among church members led him in 1986 to collaborate with Bishop Richard B. Wilke and others at a gathering in Flower Mound, Texas, with the goal of developing a pastor-directed Bible study for training Christian Disciples. The resulting 34-week program, “Disciple: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study,” has since been used by more than 400,000 people throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and other places around the globe, and has been translated into languages including Korean and Spanish.

Aimed at developing strong Christian leaders, the study carries participants through the biblical story from Genesis to Revelation.

Born April 4, 1924 in Des Moines, Iowa, Dick Murray leaves his wife of almost 58 years, Joyce Martin Murray; a daughter, Ruth C. Alexander of Dallas; a son, Martin R. Murray, of Munich, Germany; a grandson, Martin T. Alexander of Dallas; and three brothers, Robert Murray of Fresno, Calif., Lawrence Murray of Denver, Colo., and Phillip Murray of Des Moines.

Services will be conducted on Friday, January 11, at 2 p.m. at Perkins Chapel at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, 6001 Bishop Blvd., with a reception following in Kirby Parlor, 5915 Bishop Blvd. The family requests that memorials be made to either Perkins School of Theology at SMU, c/o Mary Brouillette, P. O. Box 750133, Dallas, Texas 75275-0133, or to the Dick Murray Award for Excellence in Christian Education, c/o Judy Matthews, First United Methodist Church, Missouri City, Texas, 77459.