High: °
Low: °
Chance of precipitation:


Monday, April 23 Local

"Giant" Darien church leader dies at 83

There was a time when the Rev. Everett "Terry" Fullam's Sunday sermons at St. Paul's Episcopal Church drew so many people that Sunday services were moved out of the small building and into the Darien High School auditorium.

"The Holy Spirit was with Terry in a very unique way," said John Tiffany, a friend of Fullam's who has spent last 18 months digitizing hundreds of the minister's sermons. "Talks were always personal as if they were going to right into an individual."

Fullam died March 15 at age 83.

More Information

Fact box

He did not live life at a slow pace. On Sundays, he would have three services in the Episcopal church. Early Monday morning he flew to Washington, D.C., to teach in the afternoon. Then it was back home to Darien to teach on Tuesday and Wednesday before flying out again to teach throughout the country for the remainder of the week.

When Fullam became the rector at St. Paul's in 1972, roughly 200 people were active at the church. During Fullam's time, however, that number would balloon to 1,200 people.

"He could move the word of God from the realm of head knowledge to the heart," Tiffany said.

Fullam, who was born in Montpelier, Vt., studied music at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., before he withdrew and started his philosophy studies at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.

He completed graduate studies at Harvard University and Boston University and received his master's degree in philosophy from Harvard in 1955, according to Virtue Online.

He never studied at a seminary before taking up his position at St. Paul's, according to Virtue Online.

In a 2004 interview with Virtue Online, Fullam said his greatest influence was Dennis Bennett, an Episcopal priest.

"I had been a believer but through his ministry I found a deeper, richer life," Fullam told Virtue Online. He said his mother, who was the "finest Bible teacher," was also an inspiration.

In 2004, Fullam was asked what themes were present in his ministry.

"The transforming work of the Holy Spirit in a person's life, when believers learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit instead of fighting the Spirit," Fullam told Virtue Online.

Fullam left the Episcopal church in 1989 to travel the world to teach.

"Equally important was his service to other churches and denominations," said the Rev. Christopher Leighton, who succeeded Fullam at St. Paul's. "He led the way in renewal, which meant personal evangelism of those in the church, a fresh in-filling of the Holy Spirit and a restructuring of parishes to go forward with Jesus Christ as the head of His Church. He loved to preach and teach the Scriptures, and he did so with conviction and clarity."

Fullam and his wife, Ruth, retired to Ormand Beach, Fla., where he continued to teach ministry, but a stroke in 1998 forced him to stop teaching for good.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews