Obituary: Allen Joe Moore

Allen Joe Moore, a longtime professor and administrator at Claremont School of Theology, died on September 18, 2016. He was 89.

Born September 7, 1927, he was named after his two grandfathers, whom he liked to call “the heretic” and “the preacher.” He inherited the free-thinking of Pa Crider and the preaching enthusiasm of his Grandfather Moore. As an undergraduate at Southwestern University, Mr. Moore served as pastor of Gause and Milano Circuit and preached in revivals across Central Texas, becoming known as “the Little Preacher.” He continued to blend pastoral ministry with study, completing a master’s degree in sociology at Baylor University, focused on social pathology, and a Bachelor of Divinity at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

As a pastor, Mr. Moore was known as “a builder,” building congregations and physical structures in the Texas towns of Mooreville, Rosenthal, Kennedale and Moody. He soon became a leader in young adult ministries, serving over time as executive secretary for the Methodist Board of Education in Central Texas; director of the Wesley Foundation for North Texas College and Texas Women’s University; and director of young adult work for the denominational board of education. In the latter, he and colleagues created innovative programs for young adults, including apartment ministries, travel seminars, workshops on values and sexuality and ecumenical networks. They also produced “Faces,” a film that focused on the public and private faces of young adults.

Overlapping his church service, Allen earned a PhD from Boston University, writing one of the first dissertations in the United States on practical theology and graduating in 1963. During the Boston years, he served the Chestnut Street Congregational Church in Worcester, Massachusetts and did clinical work at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. Upon graduation, Mr. Moore began his 31-year professorial career at Claremont School of Theology. There he redesigned the program in religious education and pioneered new courses for theological curricula: practical theology, communications and human sexuality. During these years, he published two books and more than 100 book chapters and journal articles, focusing on theology and culture. His first book, The Young Adult Generation, was based on interviews with young adults in sites across the United States and Europe.

In the next years, Mr. Moore’s research and writing focused on family life, sexuality, homosexuality and gay rights. In his last 20 years he returned to some earlier themes, focusing on Christianity and popular culture; the social context of theology; liberation approaches to education, and the relationship between practical theology and religious education. During this period, he edited Religious Education as Social Transformation and a widely read essay on liberative religious education. 

Mr. Moore was also an administrator in Claremont School of Theology, serving periods as associate dean of students and dean of summer studies. He was vice president and dean of academic affairs in his last eight years (the first as acting dean). He was also a leader in professional guilds, co-founding the Association of Seminary Professors in the Practical Fields (forerunner of the Association of Practical Theology), for which he served as first president, and the predecessor body to the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education.

Allen is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth Moore, and by his five children: Glenda Kittinger, Nanette and Mike Fox, Joyce Janette Cable, Clifford Laurence and Sheryl Mathews and Rebecca Mathews. He is also survived by eight beautiful grandchildren and their families: Jason and Kristen Kittinger with their son Henry; Michael and Kristin Kittinger with their children Jackson, Adela, Ava Grace and Ella Kate; Steven and Olivia Kittinger; Christopher and Kelly Fox with their daughter Tyler; Jennifer Fox Applegate and Rick Applegate with their children Devin, Robert, Trysten, Sophie and Syrus; Curtis and Brandy Cable with their children Haley and Kiley; Kevin Cable with his son Robby, and Kylie Mathews. 

The family invites those who wish to honor Allen to contribute to the Allen J. Moore School of the Prophets Scholarship Fund, Boston University School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215. To leave a condolence or share a memory, visit 


Submit a Comment

Share This