B.J,. Stiles completed B.D. degree at Perkins School of Theology and was ordained elder in the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church in 1957. He was then invited to join the staff of the church's Board of Higher Education in Nashville, After serving on the campus ministry staff at the Board for three years, he was chosen to be the editor of motive Magazine. During his nine years tenure, the magazine was celebrated and reviled. He grew the circulation, won numerous awards and brought new writers and artist to the pages of motive.
In 2015, Boston University School of Theology (BUST) honored B.J. and the history of the magazine by digitizing every issue of the magazine since its founding in 1939. On September 15, 2015, BUST mounted an exhibit of selected articles, editorial, art and poetry taken from issues of motive during B.J.’s editorship and hosted an event announcing the motive recognition project.
In 1968, B.J. took a leave-of-absence to join the Presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. Soon after Kennedy’s assignation, B.J. and his family moved to Washington, D.C. to join the staff of the RFK Memorial. He launched and directed the RFK Fellows program.
After leaving the RFK staff, he held senior positions at the Urban Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council on Foundations. While at the Council, the AIDS epidemic began, and B.J. left his position at the Council to begin what became a long-time career in AIDS leadership.
During the early days of AIDS, he acknowledged his long-denied homosexuality and ended his 25-year marriage, and became active in numerous LGBT-AIDS organizations. In 1987, he founded the National Leadership Coalition on AIDS and mounted efforts to address AIDS as a workplace challenge. In the early 1990’s, the Coalition merged with the National Community AIDS Partnership to become the National AIDS Fund where he served as CEO until his retirement in 1999.
He met Steven McCollom, an architect, in the early 1980s and began a long-term (35+ years) partnership, leading to their marriage in 2008. The couple moved to San Francisco in 2000, where they now live.
(This biographical statement provided by B.J. Stiles.)
Biography Date: March 2018
United Methodist Church | Council on Religion and the Homosexual | AIDS | Clergy Activist
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