God Story: Ced Jaggard

A Centennial Celebration!

November 25, 2015 marked the 100th birthday of one of Eastbrook Church’s original members, Cedric Jaggard!

Cedric Holman Jaggard was born on Thanksgiving Day in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, the first of two sons.  His family later moved to Montclair, NJ where he would eventually meet his future wife.  He was said to resemble, in many ways, his maternal grandfather – a Lutheran pastor and Civil War chaplain.

Ced was homeschooled by his mother until he began kindergarten.  His mother’s education was mostly in the Quaker (Society of Friends) tradition, prominent in the Philadelphia area where she had grown up. Some of the Quaker emphases—simplicity, stewardship and others—filtered down to him through her. She went on to attend college in Massachusetts for the equivalent of the first two years of college today—not at all a common experience for women of her time.  She impressed on him the importance of education, thus his love of it to this day.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting or knowing Ced, the following will let you in on a bit about his academic life:

  • He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College, with concentration on ancient and modern languages and a major in Greek, as well as significant coursework in philosophy
  • He went on to attend Haverford (PA) College for a one year Master’s Degree in Philosophy
  • He then received a fellowship to study abroad at the University of Basel, Switzerland for one year under the renowned theologian, Dr. Karl Barth
  • Upon his return, he attended Union Theological Seminary (NY) for two years – studying under Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, and Cyril Richardson, etc. – and received his Masters of Divinity
  • From Union, Ced went on to doctoral studies at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Josef Hromadka, late of Czechoslovakia, was his major professor.  He also studied under Otto Piper, Howard Kuist, John Mackay and Hugh T. Kerr, Jr., to name a few
  • He received his Th.D from Princeton in 1950

One important thing not yet mentioned is the 72-year love affair with his wife, Jean Dale McGiffert Jaggard. They still live out their love of the Lord and their love for one another every day!  They have three wonderful children—Keith, Yellville, AR; Dwight (Vangie), Newton Square, PA; and Kim Bierma (Marc), Atascocita, TX; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  The following is an excerpt from Ced’s memoirs:

“Both Jean Dale and I bear witness to our desire that Jesus Christ and his will be the supreme goal of our lives, individually and together.  We have received many blessings from the people in our ministry at the Valley Stream Presbyterian Church, New York; Westminster Presbyterian at Phillipsburg, NJ; our two years at Carroll College in Waukesha, WI; at First Presbyterian in Cedar Grove, WI as well as the First Presbyterian Church of Richfield, WI where I supplied the pulpit and did pastoral and other work (although not in residence in that rural community), for twenty-three years.

Along with my wife, I participated in two short–term team missions to Novosibirsk, Siberia.  I also served as an Army Reserve chaplain for twenty-one years.  In addition, I taught Bible in two of the colleges of my denomination.  Together these several strands of ministry have enabled me to participate and see the gospel at work in a wide variety of communities and other settings . . .

. . . Finally, I must mention also the richness of experience that I enjoyed in social ministry as administrator and teaming with Kim’s husband, Marc, at Oakton Manor, Milwaukee – the final fifteen active years of formal responsibility . . . Throughout this time, the people I was sent to serve also served me in ways I cannot offer due gratitude.  Wherever one is, there are joys and challenges when Christ is in the picture.”

Ced was actively involved in Eastbrook Church’s adult Bible study (formerly the Spiritual Formation Institute) for many years, teaching several classes.  About ten years ago, he was involved in the founding of the Theological Confab.  This group of theologians and other believers (many from Eastbrook) still meet monthly to discuss and debate various topics of interest regarding their faith and the world today.  While Ced no longer attends the meetings, he participates via conference technology and is able to impart his commentary thus.

At this time, Ced is busy putting the finishing touches on his book, Claiming Different Forms of the Good News: Road to a Broader, More Relational and More God-centered Gospel; Overlooked Bible Foundations for Growing in the Faith.  He encourages lay Christians and theologians alike to find new ways of looking at the gospel through the four prime forms that he proposes.  To quote David Moberg, member of the Confab and long-time friend of Ced, “Using ordinary language that lay Christians understand, it aims to bring formal theology closer into tune with its biblical foundations.”

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