Rev. Ronny Lanier, 1969
Updated June 11, 2014: You may leave notes for Ronny’s family at her online obituary.
Updated June 3, 2014: The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts have provided details on Ronny’s memorial service:
A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 15, at 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Melrose, Massachusetts. The address is 561 Main Street. In typical Ronny fashion, pot luck refreshments will be served after.
Donations in Ronny’s memory may be made to the Lanier Mission House or Hallmark Hospice. You can send these to the attention of Scott Macaulay at 102 Tremont St., Melrose, MA 02176,
Original statement from then-President Nick Carter:
It saddens me to share with you that a distinguished Andover Newton alumna has died: The Rev. Veronica “Ronny” Lanier died peacefully last night (May 28) surrounded by her family. She was 95.
We will keep you updated on details for the memorial service, which is still being planned.
Inspired by her mother’s stories recounting the dedication of pioneer missionaries Adoniram and Ann Judson in Myanmar (Burma), 200 years ago, Ronny discerned a call to Christian service in her youth.
After graduating from Gordon College in 1954, Ronny received training at Brooks House of Christian Service in Indiana and was commissioned as a missionary by the American Baptist Home Mission Society in 1957. She served at Christian centers in Denver, Sacramento, and Chicago before joining the ministry staff of the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts in 1964.
Ronny began as a children’s worker, overseeing curriculum and teacher training. She completed her seminary training at Andover Newton Theological School and was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1970. She then served the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts for 25 years as the Minister of Education.
In 1995, Ronny opened a mission house in Melrose, Massachusetts, where visiting missionaries have stayed while in the Boston area on home assignment. She also for many years organized and hosted bus trips for American Baptists from New England to the annual World Mission Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin.
Ronny served as interim pastor in several churches, most recently as Pastor Emeritus of the First Baptist Church of Lynn, Massachusetts. She served this multicultural congregation for 16 years and remained involved in the church’s ministry.
Ronny was awarded Andover Newton’s prestigious “Spirit of the Hill” award in 2013, which noted her lifelong contributions to the church and her enduring embodiment of the mission and values of our school. She was also the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the American Baptist Seminary of the West and several other deserved recognitions locally, regionally, and nationally.
I was blessed to know Rev. Ronny Lanier for nearly 40 years. Her effervescent joy bubbled up everywhere she went and infected everyone around her. When asked about it Ronny was always clear that her faith made her that way—being loved by God filled her with so much joy she simply had to let it out or she’d burst. Those of us who were touched by her—and there are tens of thousands of us!—will miss her deeply. If ever someone deserved the honored adage, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant,” it is this gentle soul.
—President Nick Carter, Andover Newton Theological School