We celebrate the passing of Danny E. Morris, who began his new journey on January 1, 2021, a very good day to start anew. Danny, age 87, was dedicated to the service of God as an infant by his grandfather, himself a circuit riding Methodist minister in North Florida. At 17, Danny answered that call to ministry.
Danny served as a student pastor while in seminary on a circuit of three churches in North Florida, went on to serve as an associate pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for two years. He planted a new congregation at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida and was pastor of Hialeah United Methodist Church, a bilingual congregation in downtown Hialeah, Florida.
In 1965, Danny and Sam Teague, a layperson in his congregation, developed the “Ten Brave Christians” program while a pastor at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Tallahassee. That program continues to affect lives to this day. His book about that experience, “A Life that Really Matters,” has been translated and published into seven languages and is currently in its fifth edition.
Danny served for 22 years as a United Methodist clergy in the Florida Conference and in 1973 joined the staff of the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tennessee as the Director of Small Group Ministries. He served in that position for three years then moved to the staff of The Upper Room Ministries where he served for 23 years.
He initiated the Upper Room Division of Developing Ministries and served as Director for 16 years, developing and managing more than 40 programs and resources. He originated the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation and the Five-Day Academy, both of which are national and international programs for spiritual study and formation. Some of his other programs of great impact are The Healing Ministry, The Living Prayer Center and The Walk to Emmaus.
He met Rosalie Bankhead Green while he was in Seminary at Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. They married in 1956 and Danny is survived by Rosalie and three children, Alan (Beth) Morris of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, David Morris of Ventura, California, and Diana Haines (Patrick) of Lebanon, Tennessee; nine grandchildren, Graeme, Kelsey, Tanner Morris, Ross, Claire and Carson Haines and Will (Anna), Luke and Joe Morris; sisters-in-law Darris Morris and Gladys Stewart; 11 nephews and nieces; and multiple great nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Dan DeLeon and Lucy Jean Morris of Defuniak Springs, Florida, and brother, Robert Morris of Tallahassee, Florida.
Danny has written 21 books (if you let him do the counting) and maintained a website on spirituality and humor for many years. He received the prestigious “Philip Award” in 1985, “For Distinguished Service in Evangelism” given by The National Association of United Methodist Evangelists. Nancy Pfaff wrote his biography, “Light and Fire,” in 2002.
If you ever asked Danny how he was doing, his answer would be, “Better than average.” That he was, that he was.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Sunday, January 10 for immediate family. It will be live streamed for others to participate.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Danny’s honor can be made to Wilson County CASA in Lebanon, Tennessee, MTSU Wesley Foundation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee or Miriam’s Promise in Nashville, TN.