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The Rev. Evelyn S. Newman dies at 82

The Rev. Evelyn S. Newman, an ordained minister

The Rev. Evelyn S. Newman, an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and longtime Setauket resident, died at 82. Newsday's obituary for Rev. Evelyn S. Newman
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The Rev. Evelyn S. Newman did not have a smooth path to the ministry.

When she applied to one seminary, "she was basically told very nicely to go home and take care of your family, be the queen of your household," her daughter, Elizabeth Lunde, recalled Thursday.

But Newman, a 40-year Setauket resident, pressed on at a time when not many denominations would ordain women.

"She would tell you she felt a calling from God, that this is what she was meant to do. She was determined," Lunde said of her mother, who died Tuesday after a long illness at an assisted living facility in Marietta, Ga., where she moved three years ago. She was 82.

Ultimately, Newman was accepted at New York Theological Seminary in 1967, graduating in 1970, and she was ordained in the United Methodist Church.

She served in several Long Island churches: Amityville, Hicksville, Smithtown and St. James, where she served in a variety of associate or assistant pastor positions. Newman also served at the Riverside Church in New York in the 1970s, where she was minister of pastoral care.

Writing about Newman in 1983, Newsday columnist Bob Weimer said she left Riverside in 1979 to explore a different form of ministry, to teach people how to "draw faith out of silence and meditation."

Lunde said in 1980 that her mother established her retreat ministry, Chapel in the Garden, in a converted barn on her Setauket property. Newman held retreats there and at churches around the country.

"She worked to teach people that there could be prayer without ceasing in all things that they do, not just in a pew in church on Sunday, or next to the bed at night," Lunde said.

Over the years, Newman also served as the protestant chaplain at Stony Brook University and chaplain of the Long Island Veterans Home in Stony Brook.

Newman was born Aug. 12, 1927, in her family's Baldwin home. She graduated from New York University in 1949, the same year she married "the love of her life," Jay Newman, Lunde said. The couple raised their three children in homes in Levittown, Hauppauge and Setauket. Jay Newman died in 1972.

Besides Lunde, survivors include Newman's sons, Peter Newman of Marshalls Creek, Pa., and David Newman of Marietta; and a sister, Dr. Arline Peace of Grove, Okla.

A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. March 20 at the Stony Brook Community Church in Stony Brook.

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