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Lives and ministries remembered in service

Issue Date: 
Wed, 06/17/2009

Family and friends of those clergy, clergy spouses and lay members who died since last annual conference filled a section of the ballroom floor for the Service of Remembrance June 6.

Nineteen clergy and 13 spouses of clergy and 11 lay members were remembered in the service. Five of the clergy were serving churches at the time of their deaths.

Among these were the Rev. Johnnie Washington, who died while serving Franklin UMC in Churchton. He leaves a legacy of turning the small church into an Acts 2 church and transforming the congregation into one intent on creating discples for the transformation of the world.

The same might be said of Charlotte Mayne, who three years ago was appointed as a local pastor to Araby UMC. The church began growing in its ministries to others. Her legacy to the church includes a prayer shawl ministry, a youth choir and home-based Bible studies.

“We are a people who have come together this morning as one family in Christ, and in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we celebrate the lives of those members of this annual conference family who have gone on before us this year,” read a Deacon in the call to worship.

Doris Judd was 92 when she died, but in years before women were often accepted into professional roles, she became a diaconal minister in business administration at First UMC in Hyattsville. She served that church for nearly 50 years in many capacities, both professional and volunteer.

Dorothy Ordwein had served the church and conference as a lay member for more years than most can remember. Her legacy is a substantial one, helping tens of thousands of young people grow in their relationship to God. She was a key person in establishing the conference Retreat and Camping Ministries and in acquiring the 426 acres that are Camp Manidokan. She was also the conference’s first director of youth work.

Bishop Young Tai Park, of the Nambu Conference of South Korea, delivered the message of comfort. Speaking in Korean, his message was translated by the Rev. J.W. Park.

Acknowledging the grief that all face at the time of death, Bishop Park said, “However, we are not sad because they are with the resurrected Christ.”

Park recounted the story of Abraham leaving his homeland to follow God and his own story of moving as a young child.

“Homeland” is a place that is perfect, he said. “The Kingdom of God is where you can find the grace and love of God, a new heaven and earth. It is the most perfect place. … We’re living this life in hope and joy. Homeland is where our crown is waiting. God waits for the faithful servants, for the wise servants, God waits to give us the crown of glory.”

The Rev. Al Clipp, conference secretary, then slowly read the names of each person as their names and photos were projected on the screens. Family members or a proxy for each one came forward with a candle they placed on an altar. The Rev. Don Stewart tolled a bell and family and friends stood in reverence for each one.

“When the light of Christ is in us, that light never goes out,” said Bishop Schol. “The light of Christ lives on through the lives they’ve touched.”

As family representatives carried a candle from the altar to recess out, Bishop Schol said the lights “will be carried out as a reminder of our call to take their witness and legacy of abundant love into the world.

“There’s a world out there that needs Jesus. It may not know it yet,” said the bishop. “But we’ll carry these lit candles from the altar to take the light out into the world … where the light of Jesus shines brightest.”