Awana co-founder Arthur Rorheim dies
by Leigh Jones
Posted 1/08/18, 03:52 pm
Arthur Reynold Rorheim, co-founder of the international children’s ministry Awana, died Friday. He was 99. Rorheim founded Awana in 1950 while working as youth director at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago. He wrote most of its early curriculum and training materials, basing them on the programs he created for his own church. Scripture memorization formed a large part of the ministry’s focus, and today Awana remains known for its Bible-based handbooks and memorization competitions. The ministry became a global enterprise in 1972 when Rorheim started the first Awana club in Bolivia. Today, churches in 104 countries use Awana’s teaching materials. Rorheim stepped down as Awana’s executive director in 1990 but served as president for another nine years. He regularly visited the ministry’s headquarters well into his 90s. “I’ve never found the word ‘retirement’ in the Bible,” he joked. Rorheim leaves behind two children and one daughter-in-law, four grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren. His wife Winnie died at age 97 in December 2015.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.