CHICAGO, IL (February 13, 2015) — Joy Lynn Champion, a bi-vocational pastor with Modesto Covenant Church and a former Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) executive board member, died on February 12 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 66.
Born Joy Lynn Handwerker on May 22, 1948, in Memphis, Tennessee, she was raised in Fresno, California, and graduated from the University of Pacific in Stockton, where she met Darrell Champion, her husband of 42 years.
For many years, Joy taught sixth grade in Lodi and Modesto school districts. In 1973 she was instrumental in bringing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) to her local high schools and went on to serve as an FCA area director in addition to leading a variety of other outreach ministries in the Modesto area. In 2005, she graduated from Fresno Pacific Seminary and in 2010 became licensed bi-vocationally with the ECC.
Over the past decade, Joy served as the congregational care pastor at Modesto Covenant and was elected as a board member for the PSWC. She had recently expanded her work to include outreach ministries at Covenant Village in Turlock.
In addition to her husband, Joy is survived by two daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.
A homegoing celebration will take place at Modesto Covenant on February 16 at 11 a.m. Gifts in her memory can be made to Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary at 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno, CA 93702-4709; Joy Champion Oakdale FCA Sports Camp Scholarship, 5724 N. Fresno St., Fresno, CA 93710; Modesto Covenant Church Building Renovation Fund, 913 Floyd Ave., Modesto, CA 95350.