Beloved Teacher

In the years following his semi-retirement, Claypool served as Theologian-in-Residence at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, from 2001–2003, and as Priest Associate at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia, from 2003–2005.  He was most influential during these years before his death as Professor of Homiletics (2001– 2005) at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, where he was on the faculty of the ecumenical consortium that included Columbia Theological Seminary and the Candler School of Theology.  Beloved by students and respected by fellow faculty, Claypool fulfilled this teaching role with wide admiration.
The recipient of six honorary degrees and author of eleven books, Claypool is remembered as a gifted preacher, teacher, author, and nationally respected speaker.  He lived his life preaching and teaching the message of what he considered to be one of the primary themes of his ministry: that life is gift that requires no greater response in return than gratitude and generosity. Claypool was diagnosed in 2002 with advanced multiple myeloma.  Despite this diagnosis, he was determined not to resign himself to death but to struggle bravely through the treatment.  Sustained by those whom he loved and who strengthened him, he remained true to his theology of the gift of life until his death on September 3, 2005 at age 74.

Claypool with students of Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology, c. 2004.

Claypool said, “I am not a scholar, but I love ideas and study. And I really do love people.” His willingness to share the lessons he had learned through life experience translated into a teacher who connected with his students.

“Beyond being inspirational to this student body, you choose to be minister, mentor, and friend. You treat us as equals while you help us along the journey.”
–John Davis, Former Student

“Your guidance, honesty, and warmth have changed not only the way I preach, but the way I see life.”
–Matt Divall, Former Student