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Bill and Marianne Bailey

William “Bill” Bailey

September 10, 1931 – January 12, 2017



Memorial Service



A couple of weeks ago, In Asheville, NC, members of the OE community gathered with members of the Jubilee community and Bill and Marianna’s family and friends to celebrate and honor Bill for his service not only in Asheville, but also around the world.  John and I, Elaine Stover and Marie Sharp represented our OE community. Bill and Marianna were founding members of a unique congregation called Jubilee Community Church in Asheville.  Every time I’ve attended, I walk away challenged and uplifted.  Bill’s  memorial service was no exception.  Below are some of the highlights from  notes I wrote when we returned home:

> The haunting and calling to Attention of  Scottish Pipes

> Leonard Cohen’s  “Ring those Bells”  … imperfect world …with cracks …that’s where the light gets in.

> Lynn’s tribute to her dad read by her husband Allen:  “Watch ye therefore ….You shall wear a Golden Crown!”

(In my mind I could hear our spirited group singing that old gospel song.  We could add that to our list of songs to sing when one of our community is celebrated.)

> Tom’s recollections of his dad  and sharing tributes and memories sent by others.  Story of container for Bill’s ashes:  an antique  handmade pottery stew pot: reminded him of Bill’s cogitating style of “stewing” upon some issue or challenge.

> Video of family years with children and grandchildren, with music lke Moon River accompaniment.  Story of Bill and Marianna’s elopement while they were in high school.  16 and 17 years old.  Married 67 years.  Bill and Marianna, what a team!

> Story of Bill’s death, night of full moon, of his relaxing as Marianna opened the curtains for him to see, then breathing his last.  Music playing in the room:  “Won’t you come home, Bill Bailey?”

> Congregation invited to whistle along with “Won’t You Come Home?”

> Song “I’ll Fly Away” by congregation

> Another Leonard Cohen song where congregation joined in with the Hallelujahs

> Reaching out to folks around us as we sang “Let it Be a Dance”

> Commission to  Pay It Forward re: Bill’s greatness

> Postlude:  “Won’t  You Come Home, Blll Bailey?”

> “Amazing Grace” and bagpipes

> Some danced in celebration as the postlude was played, with gratitude for having been privileged to share in the life of Bill (and Marianna).


John and I are grateful for the shared memories of so many on this list serve that helped us all to “re-member” Bill more fully.

          ~~  Lynda Cock


In light of the recent conversations about the Order today and going forward, I find the part of Bill and Marianna’s story from 1989 on to be intriguing. Whatever happened at that meeting in Mexico, the body became dispersed in ways that no purposeful strategic approach could perhaps ever have accomplished. I hope stories like this one of the Baileys and the countless others that are out there (some on video, thanks to the Wiegels) do find their way into the Archives. Years from now someone digging through these stories may conclude that what happened through and among us after the Mexico meeting was as significant, or perhaps even more so , than what happened during those years when we were all on the same assignment board. Either way, it’s finally only one magnificent story with many storylines, and it is still being written, in ways we never could have imagined by people we will never know existed, nor they we. In the full accounting it may well be that we are but one small, indispensable chapter.

         ~~  Randy Williams


I remember the summer of 1972 when we made the great MOVE in huge moving vans.  Our van took us to Oklahoma CIty, Tulsa and finally Amarillo where our family was to live.  I remember coming to Oklahoma City for regional meetings and was always inspired by you, Marianna and Bill.  Bill seemed to take everything in stride – covering the logistical bases and rituals and yet doing it with ease,  You, Marianna, the gracious hostess, making sure that each one was cared for throughout the weekend.  There were many more gifts that you each brought to the Order.  And, then, of course, the Oklahoma City house itself with it’s lovely stained glass window. Although we each had our own roles and persona, I will always think of Bill and Marianna in one breath.  Why does this stay with me??  It always felt true for Fred and me.  But now, I am on my own and find it to be yet another thrilling adventure with Fred’s memory forever present.


I read the stories of Bill’s memorial service with deep appreciation. I sang along as I read the names of the songs that were sung or played during the service and the song that was playing as Bill took his final breath.  That one brought a bit of a smile from me. Our Order songs carry so much beauty, depth care and motivation for me. Over the nearly 10 years as we developed  Songaia Community, our newly created song book held many Order songs.  New Community Bound became the community hymn, along with Harmabee,  Rainbow Trail, some of the love songs, and a few others.  However, as Patricia Newkirk and I were trying to bring new songs into our  community memory, I stumbled across BELIEVE.  We have been singing it ever since Our Annual Community meeting in January. One of my neighbors, Marilyn said, “why have you been keeping this song from us?”. We sing it quite well!  And, it seems so suited to our times, right? With love and many hugs,

          ~~  Nancy Lanphear


Bill injected his gift of spontaneity and relaxed, easy going nature to the task at hand and also contributed these gifts toward making a celebration a memorable event. I remember a celebration initiating the South House in Chicago with a talent show. Bill and Nan crooned to those gathered the song, “I Shot the Sheriff, (but I didn’t shoot the deputy)! Intentional lyrics from a man who made intentionality look easy. Journey on in peace, Bill Bailey. Grace & Peace,

          ~~  Dawn Collins


What can we say about Bill?–Bill who married Marianna in their mid-teens and then went on to play football at Duke; father three bright and accomplished children; finish three years of graduate school; then put all of that to work on behalf of our corporate life and work. In the first year of the Religious Houses, Bill and Marianna were assigned to Los Angeles, where Bill demonstrated his great ability to raise the right questions and calm the waters with simple but profound answers. He was also somewhat a magician who did his and Marianna’s laundry while he did “wake-up” around our House every morning. From there he mixed his southern drawl with many other voices in Order Houses around the world. The Hahn family are grateful for having had the privilege of sharing life and work with Bill Bailey. Grace and Peace to Marianna, Tom, Lynn, Nan and the younger Bailey clan.

          ~~  Doris and Charles Hahn


I want to add my first real experience of Bill Bailey. The Assignment Committee decided to transfer Ken and me and our boys from Portland, Maine to Amarillo, Texas in the summer of 1973.  When we packed up and went to Chicago we met a small convoy that would take us to St. Louis, Oklahoma City (where Bill and Marianna were assigned) and we trundled on to Amarillo.  The culture shock was amazing.  Bill was kind enough in the midst of all he had
to do in OKC to gather us in over the next few months to talk with us and help us adjust to our new environment and we are still very grateful for his caring for us during a (very) difficult transition.  We thank both Marianna and Bill for their care for us.  P.S.  We had a great celebration in Europe when Oklahoma went gold with 100 town meetings.
~~  Clare Whitney



Marianna Hines Bailey

1932 – August 9, 2020


Marianna was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina and married her childhood sweetheart when they were both juniors in high school. Marianna received a BA in Communications from the University of Texas in 1988 and a MA in Women’s Studies from Northern Illinois in 1992. Marianna’s husband, Bill, became a Methodist Minister, moving to Illinois in 1957 to serve in his first local church. In 1967 they decided to expand their missional work in the local church to community organizing and they traveled the world together for many years working with the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

Marianna was known as a force to be reckoned with. She was known for her “gracious southern manner…matched by a fierce resolve to be a powerhouse of care and action”; “sweet and profound thoughts”; “great spirit woman”; “low-key, personable presence of steadiness and faith”; “elegant and graceful lady of the house and also the amazing program strategist”; “very loving, creative leader to fill precious moments with drama, dance and song”; and, “You have lived and made possible the words of John Lewis”.

Marianna was loved dearly by her children: son Thomas (Tricia), and daughters Lynn and Nan. Marianna  leaves a legacy of caring and nurturing through her grandchildren, Keara, Brenna, Billy, Julia, William (Melissa), and Thomas,  and great-grandchildren, Merlin, Hiliana, and Catalina.



Dear Epitome of Southern Charm, we greet your last days in honor for crossing your path today and back in the days of ”the Institute” full of expanding knowledge and spiritual awakening. May your family, friends, and colleagues recall your sweet and profound thoughts as you prepare to join in body and spirit with the Mystery. That same Mystery that sustains us all even now in these uncertain times. Kindfully yours,

          ~~  Dawn Collins


May 2015:  Tomorrow my grandparents Bill and Marianna Bailey will be honored as “Living Treasures” of Asheville.They have been married 66 years and have done a lot of good for this community. Proud and excited to be here with them.

          ~~  Billy Berger-Bailey, Grandson   News article from Asheville, NC.  We celebrate their family as mission from God to history.    With care,

          ~~  Lynda and John Cock



Article: The Bailey’s – Bill 83 years old and Marianna 82 moved to Asheville in January 1998. Through their words and actions they have inspired and taught people throughout the region how to honor others, build consensus, and collaborate more effectively, even in the midst of major disagreements. Most notable, is their leadership in multiple community and neighborhood visioning, planning and organizing efforts that, despite early contention and conflicts, remain viable and sustainable many years later. They have been involved with Neighborhood life and human development all their adult lives beginning in Mt Airy NC, followed by 5th City in Chicago, Central City 5 in Oklahoma City, the Sudtungan Human Development Project (HDP) in the Philippians, the Majuro HDP in the Marshall Islands, Salani HDP in Western Samoa, and Havelock North in New Zealand, and here in Asheville.

Bill and Marianna, for my first four years in the Order, were the essence and the context for me.  I loved those 4 years at 1415 N. Hudson in OKC.  We learned how to facilitate Town Meeting 76, many times from the basement during tornado warnings. We did 100 Town Meetings on one weekend, with a lot of work by our colleagues from near and far. We dug into efforts for the Central City 5 community, and improved Stiles Circle Park. I will never forget the radio show that Bill and Tom Whitsett performed for one celebration … It was so realistic that the participants asked when it would be broadcast.

Bill and Marianna set the global context and the spirit context for me, and I’m forever grateful. My heart goes out to Marianna and the family at this time of transition, and I pray for you as you celebrate the completion of Bill’s life, such a talented and gracious human being. With love and respect,
~~  Nancy Trask


We first met Bill and Marianna as they were moving into the room across the hall from us during our intern year at the Washington DC religious house. The house previously had been a former residence of the Discalced Carmelites on Rhode Island Avenue.  Of course, the rooms were small and we had just had baby, Christopher, in July, 1971.  Somehow Bill and Marianna survived a brand new baby next door and jumped into our lively community.  So many of you have expressed lovely things about Bill and Marianna as we all have such dear memories of this couple.  Since first meeting them, one thing that stands out is their closeness.  I always remember seeing them TOGETHER. That was a difficult thing to accomplish in our order.  And Oklahoma 100’s evening celebration had to be a high point of missional accomplishment for them.  We all basked in the joyous atmosphere of achieving the impossible. Blessings to these dear ones, Marianna and all.
~~  Jack and Louise Ballard


Tomorrow my grandparents Bill and Marianna Bailey will be honored as “Living Treasures” of Asheville.They have been married 66 years and have done a lot of good for this community. Proud and excited to be here with them. #t#billandmarianna     News article about being living treasures.  

          ~~ Billy Berger-Bailey, grandson, Facebook 5/30/15


Joe and I hold you, your Mom,Nan, Maria, Billy, Julia and Tom in our hearts tonight with deep love and admiration for the strong image of “missional family” you have always represented — whether under assignment together or working in separate places.


When your parents agreed to take on a critical leadership role in Majuro, we became Nan’s guardians in the NYRH (first in Patterson, NJ, then in Manhattan — a 3 year journey when Nan was then in high school).  Your Dad returned to the US briefly during this time, and led House Church one Sunday in Patterson.  He was introduced as “Nan’s Dad”, to which Jon and Ben, then three years old and very attached to Nan said, in toddler shock and utter disbelief, “But we thought OUR Dad was Nan’s Dad!”  So we have felt forever connected in love and appreciation to the Bill Bailey family.


Your family (Bill, Marianna, Lynn, Nan, Tom)  somehow, despite understandable pain and angst, were able to embrace the radical shift from being a pastor’s family in comfortable suburbia, to moving to the then-ghetto of Fifth City as part of an experimental religious order, to sharing your gifts of leadership in remote villages and big cities across the world — AND — to not ever lose your commitment to extended family (including Nan’s grandma with whom she always stayed in touch) or its unusual call to service. All of that and far more (as the family expanded) is the legacy of Bill Bailey, his beautiful wife, Marianna, and his three terrific offspring — and their enriching effects to  planet earth and its inhabitants will be felt directly and indirectly for many more decades. We send you our love and prayers of thanksgiving for being YOU!
~~  Marilyn and Joe Crocker