The Reverend Reuben Gums

The Reverend Reuben Gums


Let us remember with thanksgiving the life and ministry of Rev. Reuben (Ben) Gums, 89, who died on October 11, 2017 at the Jamestown, ND Regional Medical Center. He was born October 16, 1927 in Cleveland, ND, to Fred and Katherine (Vossler) Gums and attended Jamestown Public Schools. He attended Jamestown College from 1945 to 1947 and graduated from North Central College in Naperville, IL with a bachelor of arts in speech and religious education.

In 1952 he graduated from Evangelical Theological Seminary in Naperville with a master of divinity degree and was ordained elder and became a full member of the Dakota Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Reuben served Zion Church in Kulm, ND for one year, followed by an appointment to serve as director of the Radio-Audiovisual Commission of the Philippine Federation of Christian Churches. In the Philippines he met Frances Lorene Seifert, of Vernon, NY. They were married on March 9, 1956 in Manila where Frances was serving a three-year term for the Methodist Church’s Division of World Missions and the E.U.B. Division of World Missions.

While in the Philippines, Reuben worked for the U.S. Air Force part-time as a civilian auxiliary chaplain and a “supply” preacher at other military installations. Returning to the U.S., he enrolled at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he earned a master of sacred theology degree in 1959. After graduation Reuben and Frances moved to Chicago, where he was appointed director of radio and television for The Church Federation of Greater Chicago. They lived in Chicago until 1968, when Reuben was appointed executive secretary of the department of communications for the Council of Churches of the City of New York.

When his wife passed away in 1970, Reuben continued to live and work in New York. In 1974, he was appointed to develop Tri-State Media Ministry, serving all churches in the metropolitan area. After retirement in 1985 he served as executive director for the Laymen’s National Bible Committee, which organizes National Bible Week, and had his own public service radio program each Sunday morning on WYNY. Reuben was active in the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in New York City. He moved back to North Dakota in 2004, where he was active in St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Jamestown, ND.

He is preceded in death by his wife; his parents; his father and mother-in-law, Clarence and Evelyn (Lawrence) Seifert; two brothers, Fred, Jr. and Harold; three sisters, Leah Fuehrer, Helen Powers and Edna Weispfenning; two sisters-in-law, Violet Robinson and Sharon Clark; and two brothers-in-law, Verne Seifert and Milton Seifert. He is survived by two brothers, Ervin Gums and his wife, Nora, of Jamestown, ND and Lloyd Gums and his wife, Millie, of Lodi, CA; two sisters-in-law, Laura Wells of Vernon, NY and Eleanore Lamanque of Clinton, NY; two brothers-in-law, Lawrence Seifert and his wife, Lillian, of Oneida, NY and George Seifert of Vernon, NY; and several nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. 

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Jamestown, ND with Rev. Joel Winckler officiating. Burial was in Highland Home Cemetery in Jamestown, ND.