A-Award: Kathleen Register ’53 Redeker – Asbury University
Shapemaximize playTriangle
Watch The College Tour
Contact Us

A-Award: Kathleen Register ’53 Redeker

From the Classroom to the Pulpit

June 2, 2023

A-Award winner Rev. Kathleen Register ’53 Redeker remembers the Asbury Chapel service that changed her life: “The speaker was a missionary who said: ‘If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.’”

After graduating from Asbury College with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish secondary education, Kathleen returned to Florida to teach for one year.

“During that year, I finally surrendered my life completely to God and accepted His call on my life to be a missionary,” she said. “That was a real struggle because I thought being a missionary would mean being an ‘old maid!’”

In 1954, Kathleen journeyed to Tokyo, Japan, to work as a missionary-teacher in a high school and women’s junior college in Aoyama Gakuin. During that time, she recalls that the Women’s Society of Christian Service in the United Methodist Church sent out missionaries to serve for at least three years.

“When I wasn’t teaching conversational English, I held a Bible study for students in my home,” she said.

Kathleen recalls her formative years serving the post-WWII era of Japan.

“God impressed upon me that we should not bomb our enemies; we should love them,” she said. “As I taught and loved the Japanese people, God brought a German man to visit the Japanese family where I lived. And after two years, we began our blessed 63 years together.”

After serving in Japan for three years, Kathleen returned to the U.S. to teach in Saint Petersburg, Fla., where she also married the love of her life, Immo, in 1959.

“From the very beginning of our marriage, we felt that all we had belonged to God,” she said.

The couple moved to North Carolina, where Kathleen discovered a deeper call to service. 

“As a lay speaker in the little mountain churches around us, I saw their struggle to stay open and I prayed for them,” she said. “God seemed to be asking me if I would give myself to help them, and upon saying ‘Yes’ in 1970, He called me into full-time ministry.”

Kathleen became ordained in the United Methodist Church after studying at Duke University, serving at three little mountain churches. She then served at a small city church for two years before moving to Florida with her retired husband, who worked as Director of the Mineral Research Lab of North Carolina State University.

“We became snow birds and active in our Florida church home,” she said, both serving at First United Methodist Church in New Smyrna Beach.

Last September, Kathleen’s husband passed away, leaving a legacy of giving to Asbury University, notably through the Register-Redeker Memorial Endowed Scholarship (given since 1993) as a need-based scholarship.

Asbury University President Dr. Kevin Brown offered thanks to Kathleen for her service on the Alumni Board.

“I am thankful to Kathleen for serving on the Alumni Board and for being a prayer warrior on behalf of the institution,” Brown said. “Her steadfast prayers have left an indelible mark on us. We praise God for her impact and faithful obedience to Him.”

When asked about life lessons that she would like to pass along, Kathleen smiled and said: “I’ve learned that Jesus reigns in my heart. He has never failed me. I would like to share His love with everyone, because after all, it is not about me. It is about Him.”

Since 1946, the Asbury University Alumni Association has given Asbury’s highest alumni honor, the A-Award, to outstanding, loyal alumni who exemplify academic excellence and spiritual vitality. Each recipient has achieved distinction in their field of calling and has served for the benefit of others and for the glory of our Heavenly Father.