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In Memorium: Elisabeth Elliot Gren

June 17, 2015

December 21, 1926 – June 15, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot Gren, well-known author and speaker, whose words influenced the lives of countless Christians for the past two generations, died Monday June 15, at the age of 88. (Read Christianity Today’s full story about her life and the scope of her influence).

Elisabeth Elliot Gren was born to missionary parents in Belgium, but grew up near Philadelphia and in New Jersey, until she left home to attend Wheaton College. Called to the mission field, she went to Ecuador and in 1953 married Jim Elliott in Quito. In 1955, her daughter was born; Valerie was only 10 months old when her father was speared to death, along with four other missionaries to the Aucas. Elisabeth continued to work in Ecuador for two years. She wrote several books about Jim’s death and her experiences in South America, which have inspired millions and helped shaped the modern understanding of missions: Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot; Through Gates of Splendor; and The Savage My Kinsman. Several documentaries, and one feature film, were made about the life and death of Jim Elliot.

 In 1969, Elisabeth married Addison Leitch, who was a professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Leitch died in 1973. In the fall of 1974, she became an Adjunct Professor on the Faculty of Gordon-Conwell, and for several years taught a popular course entitled "Christian Expression." In 1977, she married Lars Gren, a Hospital Chaplain, and student at Gordon-Conwell. The Grens later worked and traveled together and were active supporters of GCTS. They were married for 36 years.

Former Academic Dean Ken Swetland notes that “that many students will remember her with fondness and thanksgiving to God for her teaching and for her courageous stand on numerous issues.”