Retiring Faculty Member Eugene Lemcio

The year 1974 was memorable in both Washingtons. In Washington, D.C., President Richard Nixon left office in disgrace; in Washington state, Gene Lemcio took up an office in Seattle Pacific’s Alexander Hall and began a grace-filled run as professor of New Testament and Greek.

Gene’s vocational journey originated in a mostly Ukrainian immigrant church in Pennsylvania. His pastor was a translator and editor of a modern Ukrainian language Bible, produced by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Every Sunday the pastor brought corrected proof pages to update the congregation on the week's progress. His desire to emulate that pastor motivated Gene to earn advanced degrees at both Asbury Seminary and Trinity College, Cambridge University.

After a year of teaching Greek at Asbury Seminary, he headed west to join seminary friend Frank Spina on the faculty at SPU. For 36 years Gene has taught students to love God with their minds through engagement with Scripture — and when life has been good to him, through studying Greek!

In the School of Theology and around campus, Gene is best known for his gracious manner and his thoughtful, penetrating questions. Both point to a humble spirit; to his willingness to see another point of view and take up the learner’s mantle in any situation, even though those who know him well understand he has had answers of a prophetic kind in mind all along.

Gene’s scholarly work focuses on the theological claims of the biblical witness. An elected member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, he has published two books and numerous articles on topics such as the unifying kerygma of the New Testament, canonical criticism, and intertextuality in biblical texts.

And he has not forgotten his heritage language. Gene has extended his teaching ministry by travels to Ukraine, where he has lectured in universities and seminaries. Plus he has been active in the Seattle-area Ukrainian community, including service on the Advisory Board for the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington.

Gene’s home congregation is First Free Methodist Church, where his wife, Diane, is the organist and he has served as the senior teacher for the Homebuilders Sunday School class for years.

All the best, Professor Gene Lemcio!

Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010