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In Memorium: Robert E. Fillinger

April 30, 2015


Robert Fillinger was born February 18, 1924, and passed away Friday April 24, 2015. Dr. Fillinger was hired as Assistant Professor at Gordon-Conwell in 1968, and became the Director of the Office of Admissions and Registration in 1985. Dr. Gordon Isaac, who knew Bob well, offers some reflections below.

Bob was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was nurtured in the faith at the LA Advent Christian Church. He came to New England School of Theology in Brookline in the 1940's. (In 1958 the school moved to Lenox and changed its name to Berkshire Christian College). He graduated and pastored in Port Clyde, MA; Manchester, NH; and Meredith, NH. He heard the call to the mission field and served in Mexico as a missionary from 1958-65. He pursued language studies at the University of Guadalajara for five years while building the mission. Bob returned to New England where he served as Vice President at Berkshire Christian College. In time he worked with Malcolm Knowles at BU and received his Ed.D.

From the late 1960's he made common cause with Charles Schauffle. Together they promoted and agitated for Christian Education in New England churches. They were often a part of the yearly Christian education conference put on by the Evangelistic Association of New England (later to become Vision New England) that was held in different regions with a church facility large enough for several hundred Sunday school teachers and leaders, youth ministry leaders, and women’s ministry leaders.

There was a time when New England had some of the largest Sunday School gatherings in the country focusing on curriculum, change agency, the Sunday Superintendent's role among other things. Bob Fillinger first served Gordon Divinity School starting in 1968 and then Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary after the merger. During his tenure he served for a time as faculty marshall and as the Registrar. Bob was also very proud of the contributions he made in Leighton Ford's Arrow Leadership Development Program all the way to his retirement in 1992.