July 05, 2019

By Fred Koenig

A christ candle was lit during the Memorial Service on Saturday morning of annual conference to represent the light of hope that shines on from generation to generation. Those in attendance were invited to remember the people and communities whose lives sang with love as they answered the call to follow Jesus. The Conference paused to grieve those who have walked through the doorway of death into the life to come, and celebrate the ways that their light shines on in the doors they opened, the ministries they nurtured, the lives that they impacted, and the love that they shared. By the singing of songs, the lifting of prayers, the tolling of bells and the lighting of candles, those gathered were reminded that in Christ there really is no death. In Christ, the light of love is never extinguished and the song of resurrection hope rings on. 
 
At the beginning of the service an emotional Bishop Bob Farr took a moment to gain his composure as he started to speak. The memorial service has started to hit closer to home for him. 
“I knew about three-quarters of the pastors we are honoring today,” he said. 
 
He gave thanks for the surviving spouses and families in attendance, saying that the hundreds of years of ministry that the memorialized clergy represent could not have happened without the support of families. 
 
“You have our prayers, our love and our blessings,” Bishop Farr said.
 
A bell was tolled and a candle lit as the names were read of Missouri Conference clergy, clergy spouses, Mozambique clergy and Mozambique clergy spouses who died in the past year. The service was closed with a blessing from Rev. Rebecca Dunger Peak.
 
God of generations, 
When we set our hands to labor, 
Thinking we work alone, 
Remind us that we carry 
On our lips
The words of prophets, 
In our heart
The love of mentors, 
In our veins
The blood of martyrs, 
In our eyes
The visions of mystics, 
In our feet
The journeys ‘of the faithful,
In our hands
The strength of thousands.
Amen.