Obituary: Melbourne Metcalf

BELLEVUE, WA (August 11, 2016) — Retired Covenant missionary Melbourne “Mel” Metcalf, 94, died Sunday, August 7.

metcalfMel was born October 29, 1921, in Ashtabula, Ohio. He married June Norleman on September 4, 1945.

He received his associate’s degree from North Park College, a bachelor of ministry degree from North Park, a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan College while pastoring the Evangelical Covenant Church in Richland, Michigan, and an M.Div. from North Park Theological Seminary.

Mel also attended Yale University for one year studying Chinese in an intensive program as he prepared to serve as a Covenant missionary to China. The Communists shut the door to mission there before the Metcalfs could begin their work there, so the Covenant sent them to Japan.

During their years in Japan, Mel helped to start new churches, taught English Bible classes, served multiple times as chairman of the Covenant Missionary Society in Japan, and for two years served as the director of the Bible school and seminary in Tokyo.

During retirement, Mel served as interim pastor at the Covenant Church in Everett, Washington, and also served as the pastor of visitation at the Martha Lake Covenant Church in Washington.

He is survived by his wife and by his children: Bruce Metcalf (Kris) of Hilmar, California, Judy Cleversey (Gary) of Springfield, Oregon, Linda Nelson (Tim) of Longview, Washington, and Debbi Larson of Seattle, Washington. He also is survived by 10 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 27, at Covenant Shores Retirement Community Center.

Memorials may be directed to the Japan Covenant Seminary building project, and can be sent to The Evangelical Covenant Church at 8303 W Higgins Rd Chicago, IL 60631 Attn: Gretchen DeNeui

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  1. Mel was very instrumental in my call to ministry. Tim and Linda Nelson were in my small group at West Hills Covenant Church in Portland, Oregon, so out of politeness I went to Mel’s mission presentation. When he gave the “missionary invitation,” I knew God was talking to me. Next fall I was at North Park. I discovered I’m not called to be a missionary, but Mel got me there. Thanks!

  2. Uncle Mel personified the heart of Jesus. He gave his all to bring joy and love to this world and I praise God that I was blessed with his life!

  3. Mel was a gentle spirit, a most faithful servant of Christ and a beautiful soul. One always felt blessed in his company. Peace to his memory.

  4. Mel truly lived an encarnational ministry in his many years in Japan.
    May God bless his ministry and that of his family.

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