Conference members and friends celebrated the life and ministry of clergy and their spouses who died since Annual Conference 2014 in the 2015 Memorial Service. A life of ministry is shared between the clergy, the clergy spouse, the family, the church, and the community. Every year, those who have served the North Carolina Conference faithfully and diligently as pastors and their spouses who served alongside them in the various appointments offering encouragement, support, and prayers are remembered and honored. James Henderson spoke with one of those who came to remember a loved one.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Julia Batchelor in the hallway who was seeking information and instructions for where she was to go for the Memorial Service. She and I talked. She informed me that she was here for the memorial service for her mother, Mrs. Irene Mullikin. She relayed that her father died in 1982. She told me that she was standing in for her not only her mother but also her father. I agreed to stand alongside with her and escort her to the proper area prior to the Memorial Service starting. I went out in the gathering and was able to find Mrs. Batchelor as promised by her aqua blue sweater that she was attired. I escorted her with honor with her arm locked with mine to her seat for the memorial services. We talked and celebrated the life of her mother, her father, and the ministry that they shared together as husband and wife and as a family. A memorial service is a celebration where that those of us that are still alive are allowed to stand in place of those who have transitioned to be with the Lord. This made the scripture passage for the Memorial Service sermon, 1st John 3:1-3, come to life in a very visible way.
“The overall theme of 1st John 3:1-3 is that as children of God we are to love one another. Today, my being allowed to escort Julia to her seat for the Memorial Service demonstrated quite emphatically how great is the love God has for us and that as children of God we are to have the same level of love for one another.
“It was an honor and a privilege to come alongside Julia in this most difficult time to celebrate the life of her mother and reliving the moments she shared with both her mother and father as we paid homage to her mother who died. I saw the love of God in Julia, and she saw the love of God in me. 1st John 3:2 sums up our interaction today that I will forever cherish which is follows: “Beloved now we are children of God, and it has not appeared yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” Our more than chance meeting today was due to the fact that Jesus was in the midst of our meeting . Jesus was walking alongside us and with us, and we were allowed to step out of the world and to see Jesus as Jesus is which is love.”