Dr. Edwin A. Sawyer, bishop in the Moravian Church, died on October 5 at Moravian Manor in Lititz, PA, after a short illness. Born July 20, 1914, in Bethlehem, PA, he attended Moravian Preparatory School, graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S in Business Administration and an M.A. in English, and in 1956 earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, writing his dissertation on the religious experience in the American Moravian settlements of the 18th century.
In 1938 he was ordained into the Moravian ministry and married Elizabeth Stempel of Bethlehem and Staten Island, NY. Together they served congregations in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Ohio, Arizona, and Canada for more than 40 years.
Dr. Sawyer also served as Chaplain of Salem Academy and College for six years, as President of the Eastern District of the Moravian Church for nine years, as Director of Stewardship and Deferred Giving for six years, and as President of Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, where he was instrumental in the merger of Moravian Preparatory Academy with Moravian Seminary for Girls. He was consecrated a Bishop of the Moravian Church in 1986, in recognition of his spiritual leadership. Widely respected as an administrator and scholar, he is probably best remembered by clergy and laity as a caring pastor.
Dr. Sawyer leaves behind three children, Dr. Robert Sawyer, a retired minister and former head of the Southern Province in the Moravian Church; Jean Sawyer Twombly, violinist; and Dr. Marilyn Sawyer Sommers, Professor Emerita, University of Pennsylvania. He also leaves five grandsons and their wives and seven great-grandchildren.
Family members will gather for a private burial service. A memorial service will be held at the Old Chapel of Central Moravian Church at a later date.
Funeral arrangements are by the John F. Herron Funeral Home in Bethlehem.