Eleanor Elizabeth “Betty” Adler, wife of Archbishop Adler, went home to be with the Lord Friday, December 14, after a long battle with heart and lung ailments. She was 70.
Betty was one of the most gifted people I ever met and seemed to me to continually wear herself out, using those gifts for God and for us. When I think of Betty Adler I recall the scripture, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down is life for his friends.”
Betty was born in Florida, the daughter of a Pentecostal pastor who served many churches from Key West to Panama City. She grew up in Orlando, where she attended and graduated from nursing school. She also met and married her first husband, Major Kenneth Paul Tanner there. She had four children with Major Tanner, one boy and three girls, before enduring his heroic death in Vietnam in the summer of 1970.
For the next four years she worked as a nurse and raised their children. Then she met and married a young Pentecostal minister, the man we know as Archbishop Adler. She would spend the rest of her life traveling with him around the globe in his prophetic ministry, then as a pastor’s wife to churches in North Palm Beach, Orlando and finally Southern California, where they served St. Michael’s Church for 27 years.
Betty was used tremendously in worship and praise. Who can’t hear her voice right now if we stop and listen? As well as a fabulous voice and perfect pitch, her confidence, faith and boldness for God seemed to shine through her music. When Betty was done singing, you felt ministered to and it was impossible not to feel proud to be a Christian.
Year after year Betty plowed the harvest fields. As a frequent speaker in churches and women’s retreats, she not only travelled with Apb. Adler, but many times without him. If God said go, Betty went.
When our local church, at the time called “Stone Mountain”, went head long into “Operation Rescue” or as it was known out here, “Pastor’s Rescue,” who do you suppose was at the front, one of the first getting arrested (that’s right, thrown into jail)? We proudly have it on film; “Why that is Betty Adler!” Not once but many times. I recall one rescue when she was arrested even before Abp. Adler.
Why was Betty there? Betty was there because she ate, drank and breathed life. Not her life. Life itself. No one seemed to appreciate the wonderful gift of life like Betty Adler. When I first met Betty, around 1979, she was into Midwifing. Is that how one says it? Yeah, Betty was always running out of services or meetings, to deliver a baby for someone, in their home. I just shook my head! To each their own. Oh, don’t worry, she had the ability and experience, having specialized in O.B., GYN as a nurse.
Even though Betty was hindered by several health issues, heart, terrible allergies, and very bad asthma, she refused to have any of it hold her back. I know personally about her great golf game, having been victim of it, and I am told her bowling shills were near professional and won individual championships in Florida.
Around 1990 Betty’s life took a radical turn as God gave: “Stone Mountain Church,” a change in direction and development. In our metamorphosis was the discovery of the ancient church, liturgy and wonderful Sacramental life.
Being feed a large and wholesome diet of books and other materials by now Fr. Ken Tanner, Betty’s oldest son (at the time a student at college), this crazy little church started a major, radical turn from independent Charismatic into liturgical, sacramental worship (the catholic way). This weirdness was so remarkable that the professional journals of Charisma Magazine and Christianity Today did a big article on what is now called “St. Michael’s Church,” and the rest is history.
Our phone rang off the hook. God turned our little church’s work into a worldwide movement. Betty found herself travelling more than ever. Much more. Like a trooper, with the zeal of the athlete she was, she picked up the cause and moved forward. Whether on the road or entertaining others here in her home, she fulfilled her role with the gracious dignity and friendly loving attitude that changed all of us. Who will ever forget her laugh?
All those years, the incredible challenges they brought, Betty and Abp. Adler faced them together. The expediential growth, especially taking the CEC to Africa and other developing countries, ever expanding with meager resources to do it; the tragedies endured; but mostly, the ever present and constant pressure all those things brought would tire anyone, and Betty was no exception.
However, all of us have our own stories of the many times Betty impacted our lives. Remember that now famous line from Actor Jack Nicholson in the movie As Good as it Get’s? Speaking to his budding girl friend he says, “You make me want to be a better man.” Well who among us cannot say that Betty Adler not only made us want to be a better person, but was used mightily by God in making us a better person?
Thank you Betty. We will miss you, for a while. Soon enough we all will be together again with no more painful separations. We love you.
Besides her husband, Abp. Adler, Betty is survived by four children (Kenneth, Mia, Chris, and Jill), 35 grandchildren, two sisters (Cecelia and Priscilla) and a brother (Ellery). She is preceded in death by her first husband, Maj. Tanner, by her daughter, Gina, and by three grandchildren (Jonah, Chloe, and McKenzie).