MUNCIE, Ind. – Indiana Conference members, friends and families filled Emens Auditorium June 10 to pause and remember those clergy and clergy spouses who died during the past year.
“Love Kindness” was the theme for the service which remembered 27 clergy and 33 clergy spouses.
Brian White, superintendent of the Southeast District, preached, “It’s a Mystery” based on Isaiah 63:7-9 and I Cor. 15:51-53, 56-57.
White and his wife Michelle, lost their adult son, Ian, last year.
“It is with a sense of humility that I share with you this evening,” said White.
White talked about the first time a pastor receives the call – the call from a church member who asks the pastor to come visit a family during the death of a loved one. “Suddenly as the circle gathers around the hospital bed, one member will look up and say, ‘Pastor, can you say a prayer?’”
Jesus got a call from Mary and Martha about Lazarus. Jesus, however, didn’t come quickly. Lazarus had been dead for three days. They questioned if Jesus had arrived prior to the death if Lazarus would still be alive.
White recalled thoughts that go through our minds during those times: If I only had paid attention to the signs, if only I took them to the doctor. “Most of us have responded to those calls. But what happens when we are the ones? Do we call a pastoral friend, a district superintendent, a bishop?”
After the friends and family have returned home, that first night home alone is quiet and we are faced with the mystery of life, of death, of resurrection.
Sometimes we have to look backwards to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God. Somehow that relationship was broken, and we continually look back and wonder how that happened.
It happens when a mother cuddles the children and they ask what happened to Grandpa. It happens when we are going back to work and the world won’t stop around us. “We try to look backwards as we go forward.”
One of the other mysteries is community and facing the mystery of life with hope. “As we read the list of names, some of those names are familiar names. I feel a loss with their passage. It turns out alright in the end. This list represents people who become part of that great cloud of witnesses.”
“God can still work through a community of believers,” said White.” I believe it will turn out alright. How? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”
Clergy: Emerson H. Abts, V. Glen Beck, C. Melvin Blake, David Cross, Robert S. Davis, Donald Duggleby, Charles Dumond, Lester Ellis, John W. Fischer, Jr. , Glenn Harness, Leon George Hostetter, Wayne Johnson, L. Kenneth Kraft, Carl Martin, Earl McCall, Dean McCoy, Fuhrman Miller, Ralph Miller, Bennett Mullins, Max Nicoson, Max O’Dell, Everett D.H. Owens, Osa Edward Patrick, Bert Reed, Russell Stevens, Summer Walters, Esther Wilson
Clergy spouses: Flossine Baker, Cecile Bellmore, Margaret Bosworth, F. Janice Bredemeier, Primrose Brooks, Jane Carpenter, Leona (Lee) R. Cook, Judy Coomer, Ruth Crawford, Eleanor Mae Donham, Debra Evans, Jo Ella Evans, Lillian (Betty) Frields, Leslie Gillespie, Elva Grace, Mary Green, Juanita Holdzkom, Mary Margaret Howell, Eunice Hutchinson, Judith Kaetzel, Florence Kemp, Patty Lacoax, Dorothy McGuin, Doris Poindexter, Donna Scott, Lucy Surber, Ruth (Peg) Townsend, Grace Vanest, Mary Wake, Eva Wallace, Dorothy Wilbur, Edna Mae Wood, Judith Wooden