The Least of These Remembered Photography Exhibit

Posted: December 17th, 2013

Graduates of Chicago Theological Seminary live out their passion for God by bringing justice and mercy to the world. The planned gift acknowledged in this article comes from a member of the class of 1938 who was no exception. His legacy stands as a remarkable example of God’s love for those most in need. While we honor his family’s request to keep this alum’s name anonymous, we all agreed that his story should be shared.

These photographs are part of “The Least of These Remembered” exhibit that is currently be installed at CTS through January 20:

Our donor traveled a difficult path to CTS and his ministry. He worked as a field hand, delivered the Saturday Evening Post by bicycle, and even lived under a bridge during his undergraduate years in California. He hitchhiked to CTS and while there met his wife of 55 years. 

In addition to his ministerial work, our alum was an artist, photographing and recording those he served. From December 6 through January 31, a special exhibit, The Least of These Remembered, will showcase photography from his seminary years. The pieces will be displayed on the first and second floors, with a study room dedicated to his memory and honoring his generous planned gift to his beloved seminary. If you are not able to visit CTS during the exhibit, it will be accessible through our website. CTS is honored to have been a part of this man’s path. Thanks to his generosity, his ministry will continue in the lives of generations of students to come. We are privileged to share these words from his daughter, written on the occasion of her father’s exhibit.

Lessons from my Father

My father served five congregations and worked hard to do all a pastor should for his flock. But his covenant with God was not confined to the church. He went out into the communities of town, nation and world, feeding lambs and caring for those in need. 

In a time before food stamps, he carried business cards with the name and address of a local eatery and the words “Enjoy a free meal.” Dad would sign the cards and give them to folks in need. Each month, he paid for those meals—not with church money, but from his own salary.

Throughout his life, Dad defended the “least of these.” As a Conscientious Objector during WWII, he spoke against the racial segregation of the blood supply. In the San Joaquin Valley in the late 1940s, he preached about the plight of migrant farm workers.

In a tiny, dusty company town in Nevada, he spoke against the repeal of a municipal code that prohibited gambling, saying that a casino would bring no tourists but would instead profit from local paychecks better spent on the town’s children. Later, he worked to help the down-winders in Nevada and Utah poisoned by radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear bomb tests.  

I learned that sometimes love manifested has a price. And yes, we in his family paid part of that price. He was fired more than once by congregations that were unreceptive to his message. We moved a lot and lived frugally, but Dad always provided. He wasted nothing, neither time nor resources, but reused, repaired and remade. Minutes filled with productivity bought him hours each day for meditation and prayer, time each week to tend our garden and play with us children, and years for study and writing about Christ and God and man.

Our family’s planned gift to CTS originated, literally, in a widow’s mite, and has grown and been conserved by four generations of his family, untouched even in the hardest times. In this year of the 100th anniversary of Dad’s birth, its purpose is fulfilled.

If you would like to learn more about CTS’s Victor and Jessie Lawson Society, which honors planned gift donors like this dear donor and his family, or if you are interested in planned gift opportunities at CTS, please contact Megan Davis-Ochi, Vice President for Advancement, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (773) 896-2431.