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Awana co-founder Arthur Rorheim dies

This undated photo shows Arthur Rorheim with an Awana club member during an overseas trip. Awana Clubs International

Awana co-founder Arthur Rorheim dies

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.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.


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Just Me 999

So thankful for this man and his ministry. AWANA has been a main staple in our family for 24 years now. We truly appreciate its emphasis on Bible verse memorization. I cannot tell you how much fun we had at Summit during the early 2000s, the Texas State Championship in 2010 in which my Bible quizzing team won first place in that year's first ever Texas championship and now our last child, a precious daughter, will receive her Citation this year. Thank you Art and Lance for starting a life changing ministry! Well done faithful servants.