Remembering Steve Hayner
— Tom Sine —
Steve Hayner was a dear friend and I will be one of those who will have a hard time imagining the world without him. Steve was “University Pastor” at University Presbyterian Church when I attended there in the early eighties. That is where our friendship began. He was a such a supportive friend to me in tough times and good times.
Steve was so moved by the growing refugee crisis in Asia in the mid -80s that he volunteered a morning a week at World Concern where I worked… which was a real boost to the staff in that crunch time. Steve was always available to help below the radar. In fact he was also available to help us to use his Old Testament expertise to draft a theology of mission for World Concern. Eugene Lemcio a New Testament prof at SPU also shared his expertise.
When Seattle Pacific University was searching for a candidate for Dean of Students, unable to find a person with a background in student services, they stopped the process and started over. As I recall as soon as they interviewed Steve they hired him. He was well respected by both faculty and students. One of my favorite memories was when the students gave Steve the “Beaver Cleaver Award.” All those of us who knew Steve were impressed by the genuineness and the transparency of his leadership style.
I saw InterVarsity Christian Fellowship before Steve Hayner became their CEO. I don’t know any evangelical organization that became as richly intercultural as IVCF became under Steve’s leadership. All of a sudden we saw leaders at Urbana that were from a richer array of cultures as well as many more younger faces.
When Steve left IVCF he became an assistant pastor in multi-cultural church in Madison while Sharol completed her graduate program. He always seemed to do the right thing.
At Columbia Theological Seminary they asked him to leave the classroom and serve as president. Under his leadership the seminary began preparing pastors to lead the church into a more “resilient” future. Sharol sent us all the message on Friday that “Steve’s life was swallowed up by LIFE…” Steve, my friend, I will miss our times together.