Paul Eppinger, who led a campaign for Arizona to recognize a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. and later was involved in interfaith affairs, has died. He was 83.
Ordained to the American Baptist Church, Eppinger led First Baptist Church of Phoenix for seven years before retiring in 1992. He became executive director of the Arizona Ecumenical Council in 1993 and then started the Arizona Interfaith Movement, which seeks unifying themes among representatives of all world religions.
The Rev. Larry A. Fultz, who succeeded Eppinger, announced Eppinger's death to the community in a letter posted on the Arizona Interfaith Movement's website.
"The Interfaith Community around the world lost a dear friend and champion for justice and civility," Fultz wrote. "... But I lost a dear friend, a friend who has been my mentor and teacher for many years. He stretched me in ways that I never thought possible and always did it with love and humbleness. ... Undeniably, Paul leaves a great legacy which we all can draw on and learn from but it’s what he takes with him that grieves me the most. He takes all that wisdom, knowledge, passion and caring that simply isn’t transferable."
Paul Eppinger now joins URI's "Celestial Cooperation Circle," which encompasses all members of the URI community who have passed on.