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The Rev. John Gregory Tweed, minister to South Florida AIDS patients during 1990s, dies at 72

BY ELINOR J. BRECHER, EBRECHER@MIAMIHERALD.COM

The Rev. John Gregory Tweed, whose calling led him from the pulpits of historic Northeastern churches to the bedsides of desperate South Florida AIDS patients when HIV was still a death sentence, died of heart disease March 20 at his home in New Mexico. He was 72.

Once a disciple of the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, whose The Power of Positive Thinking became a 1950s self-help blockbuster, Tweed later accused Peale of occult-inspired plagiarism in a controversial article for the Lutheran Quarterly.

A Lutheran minister’s son, “Greg’’ Tweed descended from a founding family of New York City. Born in Yankton, S.D., on Jan. 16, 1940, he grew up in Denver, rural Minnesota and Chicago. He earned an undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, and a doctorate of divinity from Yale University.

In rich, erudite tones, with the precise diction of a Broadway actor, Greg Tweed preached at Congregational Churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York before joining Peale as co-pastor at New York’s venerable Marble Collegiate Church.

After a falling out with Collegiate over his unconventional ministries — to sufferers of what was initially called the “gay plague,’’ street people and addicts — and a devastating emotional collapse, Tweed came to South Florida in 1988.

He settled in east Fort Lauderdale’s Sailboat Bend when drug dealers outnumbered the preservationists who’d ultimately reclaim the neighborhood’s charming frame cottages.

After his life partner succumbed to complications of HIV at age 32, Tweed became an AIDS chaplain for Outreach, a public/private program run by Hospice Inc.

Click here to read the complete obituary.

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