It is with a heavy heart that I am informing you that, Rev. Dave Cutting, one of the pillars of AFARI, died on Sept. 2, 2019. He was 84.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Elizabeth; and by three children, Andrew Cutting, Amy Wullbrandt (Blake) and Steven Cutting (Miki); seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren; his sister, Kay Shanks of Manhattan, Kansas.; and several nieces and nephews.
He graduated from Lenora Rural High School in Kansas and Doane University of Crete, Nebraska. It was during his time at Doane that Dave met and became lifelong friends with ARI founder, Toshihiro “Tom” Takami, a fellow student at Doane. Dave was a great story teller and one his favorites included a story about his college days with Tom Takami. As Dave told the story to me, one late night the two of them were driving back to Doane after an event. Dave was at the wheel but could no longer continue due to sleepiness. He asked Tom Takami if he could take over for a while at the wheel. Tom Takami said sure, and Dave, the trusting soul he was, stretched out in the back seat. Sometime later he was woken by a policeman tapping on the window wanting to see the license of the driver. Evidently, Tom Takami neither had a driver’s license nor much, if any, experience behind the wheel. The police officer said that he was weaving about and was concerned that the driver may have been drinking. Jolted from his sleep, Dave explained things to the officer and apologized, managing to get out of the situation with a stern warning, promising that this would not happen again. Dave said had no trouble staying awake for the rest of the drive.
In 1955, during his college years, he had a year at St. Andrews University in Scotland. He also participated in work camps during the summer, helping to rebuild churches in Britain and Germany that had been bombed during World War II. After college he graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Mass., where he met and married Elizabeth Anne Hill, a Baptist minister’s daughter. He was ordained in the First Congregational Church, now the United Parish of Lenora, his home church in Kansas. He was in active ministry in the United Church of Christ for over 40 years until his retirement in 1996.
Rev. Cutting was pastor of churches in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Arizona and Texas, and did exchange pastorates in England and New Zealand. He worked with Habitat for Humanity in the U.S., India and Nepal. This was all in addition to his work as a volunteer at ARI and his volunteer for ARI while in the U.S.
Dave served on the American Friends of ARI board from 1998 – 2006 and was President of the board 2003 – ’04. One of Dave’s greatest contributions was taking over the printing and mailing of the ARI Newsletter, “Take My Hand” for many years. Once Dave received the finished proof from ARI, he managed everything. He had it printed, and then he organized a team of volunteers to fold it or put it in envelopes, labeled them, worked out the postage and finally he mailed them. This was a huge job which saved ARI many thousands of dollars over the years. It was from Dave I learned to “Always include a donation envelope in every mailing!”
From Dave’s time serving as a volunteer at ARI he made close friends with a number of Participants and kept in close touch with them.
Dave’s approach to ministry included training the next generation of leaders. Two of the churches he served bought old school buses, fixed them up and sponsored many trips. There were Confirmation trips to St. Louis to study and experience some of the work the UCC did there, which included a hospital for mentally challenged children, Deaconess Hospital, and three neighborhood houses in the slums of St. Louis. There were also several two-week-long trips called Christian Travel Seminars, where young people studied “the shape of the world and the work of the church.” Trips were taken to New York City, where the teenagers studied the work churches did in that huge city, including the NYC Council of Churches, East Harlem Protestant churches in the slums, and a seminar at the United Nations. Many, as adults now, have written that those trips were the highlights of their growing-up years. They were exhausting trips but evidently worth the effort. There were also many trips for adults: to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., in 1976, for instance.
Rev. Cutting often preached on the words of Jesus regarding helping the poor and needy and led his people into areas where they could actually help put those words of our Lord into practice.
In lieu of flowers the family requests ARI/AFARI supporters’ gifts to be directed to AFARI, 2028 E Ben White Blvd, 3240-9000, Austin, TX 78741. Gifts could also be directed online to: https://afari.net/make-a-difference/support-ari/
His memorial service will be held Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. at The First Baptist Church, 105 Maple Ave., Keene, NH
J.B. Hoover, AFARI Executive Director
Margret Hofmeister, AFARI President