The official news service of the Seventh-day Adventist world church
Walter Scragg (right) discusses the fine art of boomerang throwing with Pastor Don Bain. [photos courtesy SPD]
September 21, 2010 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | David Gibbons, Adventist Review staff/ANN
Walter Robert Lambert Scragg, a retired president of two Seventh-day Adventist world regions, a former president of Adventist World Radio (AWR), and a former General Conference communication director, died yesterday. He was 84.
Scragg gave 48 years of distinguished service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in many leadership and departmental roles around the world.
He attended Avondale College, graduating from the ministerial course in 1945. After completing an arts degree at Adelaide University in 1949, Scragg commenced work as a pastor-evangelist in the Victorian Conference. In 1956 he was appointed as associate speaker for the Australian "Voice of Prophecy" radio program, beginning a career in media and communications work that spanned much of his life. The next year he became director of the Voice of Prophecy, and in 1959 he was appointed as assistant Radio/TV secretary of the Australasian region. Sabbath School department director's responsibilities were added in 1961. In 1965, he was called to be principal of Longburn College, New Zealand in 1965.
In 1966, after 18 months of educational work, he was again called back into the Radio/TV ministry at the General Conference. In his new role, he was responsible for restructuring the world church Communication department to merge public relations and electronic media in 1973. In 1975, at the Vienna General Conference Session, Scragg was elected president of the Northern European region, where he served for eight years. He returned in 1983 to the South Pacific region, where he served as president until 1990.
In 1991, Scragg was called out of retirement to serve as AWR president. "Walter was president of AWR during its early, formative years, and was instrumental in establishing the organizational structure," said Dowell Chow, AWR president. Chow said Scragg, a former "Voice of Prophecy" speaker in Australia, "was a staunch supporter of and a believer in media, particularly radio media.
He retired for a second time in 1996. The following year, he was asked to serve as a pastor for the newly formed Fox Valley Seventh-day Adventist Community Church. Then in 1999 Walter came out of retirement the last time, returning to Takoma Park, Maryland, as interim pastor of the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Walter married Betty Onion in 1951. She and their three children -- Gregory, Bronwen and Mark -- and nine grandchildren survive Scragg.
Scragg is remembered by many Adventist leaders and members for his great commitment to media ministry and his skills as a church administrator. He was the author of several books, including the 1998 adult devotional, "Such Bright Hopes."
"He was a man of great stature," said Greg Scott, AWR senior vice president, who worked with Scragg. "He was very well loved and respected by all who knew him."
Scragg's funeral service will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 23, at Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church, New South Wales, Australia, followed by a private family interment.