On Friday Night, United Methodists gathered in a community of faith and peace, in a spirit of thanks and restfulness, to honor those who have gone on to the Church Triumphant. The Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion commenced with a procession of families and friends of late Indiana Conference clergy and clergy spouses who had passed away throughout the past year, followed by members of the Conference Cabinet. Led by Rev. Larry Whitehead, Conference Superintendent of the North District, the ceremony shined a spotlight on servants of faith who died during 2016 and the early portion of 2017 and allowed loved ones to show their respects, as well as representation in solidarity, faith, and love.
Whitehead began the ceremony with a famous quote from the movie Gladiator, by actor Russel Crowe, who played Marcus Aurelius, in which he states, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
“Those who have gone before us echoed faith into our lives. As we celebrate them tonight, they echo once again, but not for the last time.”
As the remembrance segment began and names were stated and displayed on the main screen, friends and family of Indiana Conference clergy and clergy spouses stood up and paid their respects.
Attendees were also invited to partake in Holy Communion, served and led by Bishop and First Lady Trimble, Rev. Larry Whitehead, and Rev. Cindy Reynolds.
The service was one of deep reflection, soul-searching, and an opportunity to revisit our baptism, personal and organizational ministry, and to think on our baptism, as the Bible advises.
Rev. Whitehead encourages us to not think so much on the things we cannot control, direct, or alter, but to focus intently on our character, our presence in this world, and being the light in times of darkness and despair.
Rev. Whitehead reflected on the birth of his first grandson, James, and recalls the first moments of interacting with him, like holding him for the first time. He recalls more specifically, a moment alone with baby James where he prayed for his welfare and legacy.
He stated, “I prayed, in that moment, that I would be able to reflect the light in his life.”
Rev. Whitehead brought attention to this moment, particularly because that’s we all should aim to bring in someone’s life.