John Claypool

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John R. Claypool IV (born December 15, 1930 in Franklin, Kentucky - died September 3, 2005) was rector at St Luke's Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook from 1987 to 2000 and an author of several books.

Claypool was brought up in Nashville attending a Southern Baptist church. He earned an associates degree and Mars Hill College in North Carolina, an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and a doctorate of theology in 1959 from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

He was ordained at Belmont Heights Baptist Church in Nashville in 1953. He pastored Gilead Baptist Church in Madison County, Kentucky from 1952 to 1955, the First Baptist Church of Hartsville, Tennessee from 1957 to 1959, Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky from 1960 to 1971, Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas from 1971 to 1976, and Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi from 1976 to 1981. He was invited to present the Lyman Beecher lectures in theology at Yale Divinity School in 1979.

After that he attended the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. In 1986 Claypool was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. He served as rector of St Luke's for fourteen years before retirning in 2000. He worked as a Professor of Homiletics at the Mercer University School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and as a part-time theologian-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans, Louisiana and a Priest Associate at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

Claypool died in 2005, survived by his wife, Ann, three children and two grandchildren. The death of one of his daughters from leukemia inspired his first book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, now considered a classic on dealing with grief through spirituality.


  • Claypool, John R. (1974) Tracks of a Fellow Struggler: How to Handle Grief. Word Books. ISBN 0876808631
  • Claypool, John R. (1977) Stages. Word Books. reprinted as The Saga of Life: Living Gracefully Through All of the Stages (2003) Church Publications Inc. ISBN 0914520431
  • Claypool, John R. (1980) The Preaching Event. Word Books. ISBN 0849901316
  • Claypool, John R. (1982) The Light Within You. Word Books. ISBN 0849902738
  • Claypool, John R. (1983) Opening Blind Eyes. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0687292131
  • Claypool, John R. (1985) Glad Reunion: Meeting Ourselves in the Lives of Bible Men and Women. Word Books. ISBN 0849904692
  • Claypool, John R. (1994) God is an Amateur. Forward Movement Publications. ISBN 0880281472
  • Claypool, John R. (1994) Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables. McCracken Press. ISBN 1561011851
  • Claypool, John R. (1999) Mending the Heart. Cowley Publications. ISBN 1561011657
  • Claypool, John R. (2003) The Hopeful Heart. Morehouse Publishing. ISBN 0819219541
  • Claypool, John R. (2005) God, the Ingenious Alchemist: Transforming Tragedy Into Blessing. Morehouse Publishing. ISBN 0819221805
  • Claypool, John R. (2008) The First to Follow: The Apostles of Jesus. Morehouse Publishing. ISBN 0819222968


  • Garrison, Greg (May 3, 2008) "Claypool's final book released." Birmingham News

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