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Marble Collegiate Church
PORTLAND -- Dr. Arthur Caliandro, Minister Emeritus of Marble Collegiate Church, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. He was 79.
Dr. Caliandro's gift as a 'people's minister' from 1984 to 2009 shaped the character of Marble Collegiate Church, the oldest Protestant church in America with a continuous ministry, founded in 1628. Through his remarkable ministry, Marble acquired the reputation--locally and nationally--for offering a positive, non-judgmental setting in which all are welcome to explore their faith journey.
Born in Portland, Dr. Caliandro was the son of a Methodist minister and one of three brothers who all joined the ministry. He knew at a very young age that he, too, wanted to be a minister. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and Union Theological Seminary, Dr. Caliandro began preaching in rural churches in Ohio and Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1967 he heeded the call from Marble Collegiate Church and, as a young Associate Minister, was given the mission to build community. In the fall of 1984, Dr. Caliandro succeeded Dr. Norman Vincent Peale as Senior Minister.
During his time as Senior Minister, Dr. Caliandro pioneered many progressive Christian initiatives including the founding of Partnership of Faith - a vehicle for building interfaith relationships that produced an annual 'Trialogue' with a Rabbi, Imam and Christian minister discussing common ground; the GIFTS ministry serving the LGBT community; the inclusion of women in all aspects of ministry; and Prayers for Peace, an ongoing tribute to the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan; and a national television ministry reaching millions called Simple Faith that continues to this day.
Dr. Caliandro has been described as 'a quiet hero' for his selfless support of people in need in New York City and around the world. During his leadership, Marble Church has helped a large number of outreach and service organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, God's Love We Deliver, and New York Cares, and provided funding and volunteers for hundreds of other causes.
Dr. Caliandro believed that all people, of all faith traditions felt a 'calling' to something bigger than themselves, and that the purpose of a church is to provide a place where that 'calling' could be affirmed and augmented through education, worship and community. During his tenure at Marble Church, many well-know figures shared their personal experiences including Michael J. Fox, Arlene Dahl, Brian Williams, Leslie Stahl, Peter Jennings, Marcia Gay Harden and others.
'Arthur was a precious gift to the people of Marble and to people all over the world and will be sorely missed,' says Dr. Michael Brown, Senior Minister, Marble Collegiate Church.
He is survived by his wife, Sandra Graham Caliandro; his son Paul; and his grandchildren, Christopher, Nicholas, Isabella, Nils and Claudia. His son Charles predeceased him.
Services will be held live stream on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m., at Marble Collegiate Church, Marblechurch.org. For more information please call 212-686-2770.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Jan. 6, 2013