|Dr. Beth Gibbs of Florida Southern College, left, directs a volunteer choir assembled at Annual Conference 2014 to perform at the Service of Remembrance. Photos by Steve Wilkinson.|
LAKELAND -- As each name was read, a candle was lit and people rose from various places throughout the hall to honor the person who had touched their life in a special way.
The dignified ceremony to mark the service of those who have died in the last year was part of the Florida Annual Conference Service of Remembrance held Friday morning at The Lakeland Center.
“They were the light of the world. They made a difference,” said Rev. Pam Cahoon during her reflections at the service.
“We cannot imagine how many people’s lives have been touched, changed, healed and made whole as a result of our loved ones,” said Cahoon, who recently retired as executive director of CROS Ministries in Lake Worth.
“They have supported missionaries. They have led work teams. They have cared for the homeless. They have supported food drives. They have been involved in immigrants’ lives.
|"They were the light of the world," Rev. Pam Cahoon, above, tells an audience at The Lakeland Center.|
“They have advocated through our political system for justice for all. They have prayed in hospitals and on battlefields. They have made God’s love real, and their light has shone in the darkest, most difficult places of individual lives and times in our corporate life together.”
Those being honored included Bishop James Lloyd Knox, who was from Tampa and served as bishop in Birmingham and Atlanta before retiring in 1996. The ceremony also paid tribute to 30 clergy members, one diaconal minister and 23 spouses who have died during the past year.
Cahoon made it a point to recognize the many sacrifices that the spouses of clergy make – including putting their careers second, moving away from friends and attending countless church suppers.
Music for the service was provided by a volunteer choir, made up of conference attendees who stepped forward earlier in the week to share their vocal gifts. They were led by Dr. Beth Gibbs, director of choral studies at Florida Southern College.
During her remarks, Cahoon acknowledged the pain that accompanies the loss of a loved one.
“Our grief oftentimes overshadows the light, and that is just the way it is,” Cahoon said.
But she offered these consoling words: “As you continue to struggle in the darkness of grief, may you know God’s light, may you know God’s light.”
Those honored at the service are listed below, along with their date of death:
Bishop James Lloyd Knox, April 13, 2014
Catalina Magali Borbon, April 22, 2013
Harris Cleveland Jones III, May 13, 2013
Curtis Wayne Norton Sr., May 17, 2013
John B. Peavy Jr. (Local Pastor), June 16, 2013
Hildeliza Amores Lopez, July 2, 2013
Paul Whitefield Haines, July 2, 2013
Lloyd Wilson Mullis, July 12, 2013
Hubert E. Floyd, July 18, 2013
Jerry Carl Johnson, Aug. 2, 2013
Daniel Dennis Sain, Aug. 5, 2013
Patricia Ann Small, Sept. 7, 2013
Thomas James Price Jr., Sept. 24, 2013
Jean Winona Ketwig French Russo, Oct. 24, 2013
Orville Howard Ripley Jr., Oct. 31, 2013
Russel Marion Peters, Nov. 1, 2013
Warren Wilbert Bennett, Nov. 7, 2013
Irvin Howard Price, Nov. 30, 2013
James Herbert Hankins, Dec. 10, 2013
Ralph Eugene Rivers, Dec. 16, 2013
Donald Allen Denton (Local Pastor), Dec. 25, 2013
Henry David Cribb Sr. (Associate Member), Dec. 28, 2013
David Joseph Love, Dec. 31, 2013
Eleazar Legra (Local Pastor), Jan. 1, 2014
Robert Caxton Doggett, Jan. 13, 2014
John Joseph P. Kincaid, Jan. 24, 2014
David H. Shaver, Jan. 28, 2014
Willis M. Rigsby (Associate Member), Jan. 31, 2014
Thurman Rivers Jr., Feb. 7, 2014
James Esley Ridgway, Feb. 27, 2014
James Burton Gayler, March 19, 2014
Barbara Mosley Mitchell, Nov. 6, 2013
Elizabeth Modell Potts Sharp, March 4, 2013
Hilda Elsbree Barrett, May 12, 2013
James Merrill Patch, June 21, 2013
Beverly Sue Berthelot Loveday, June 25, 2013
Marie Inez Padgett Evans, Aug. 8, 2013
Adelaide Stevens Ware, Aug. 9. 2013
Harriet Orr Rearic, Aug. 12, 2013
Fay Fletcher Baker, Sept. 1, 2013
Fae Brocious Brabham, Oct. 20, 2013
Doreatha Kelly Dell, Oct. 26, 2013
Agnes Durst Parsons, Nov. 14, 2013
Keith James Brayman Sr., Nov. 21, 2013
Luv Raquel Perez, Nov. 27, 2013
Maria Rosaura Partal Legra, Nov. 29, 2013
Gary Doles, Dec. 2, 2013
Dorothy Scott Brazzell, Dec. 9, 2013
Barbara Ellen Stiles Seghers, Dec. 26, 2013
Samuel Downs Lewis, Feb. 4, 2014
Dorothy Jean Sayre Lieving, Feb. 26, 2014
Emma Hewlett Welch Rivers, March 2, 2014
Jerelene Sellers Brock Olivent, March 12, 2014
Gladys Ida Agren Jenkins, March 31, 2014
James Halcomb, April 18, 2014
-- B.C. Manion is a freelance writer based in Tampa.