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Candles burn brightly to mark their passing

Candles burn brightly to mark their passing

DAYTONA BEACH -- They are gone now, and as each of their names was read, a candle was lit and a chime was sounded to observe a moment of remembrance for clergy and spouses who have died since the Florida Annual Conference was held last year.

“Today we come to memorialize, to remember women and men who have answered the call to announce His coming. And to be present, present with people,” said Rev. Bob Tindale, who spoke at the Service of Remembrance Friday morning at Bethune-Cookman University.

Rev. Bob Tindale at podium with Nell Thrift at sice
Photos by Steve Wilkinson.

“As I read over these names, I’m reminded of the many ways that they have impacted my life. How their lives served as God’s presence for literally thousands of people,” Tindale said.

“Whether they directly taught or prayed with or sat with us, their corporate presence helped to bring God, the presence of God, to us, to our area, to our conference, to the kingdom on earth,” he said.

“Think about it: Is there anything greater that can be said about anyone than the fact that their presence brought God’s presence to us?

“Their sermons -- both lived and preached, their love -- shared directly and multiplied through others -- have brought the presence of God to literally tens of thousands of people,” said Tindale, in a message that focused on the importance of being present to others, as Christ is present to his followers.

“Over the years, I’ve grown more and more aware of our need for each other, for presence, for people to be there with us and to be there for us,” Tindale said.

When his 24-year-old son died 11 years ago, Tindale said he went through cycles. He would need to be alone, and then he would need to be with his family and others who cared for him.

 “I have found on a deeper level, I need presence. Not answers. I needed the presence of God and I needed the presence of people. Not words,” he said.

The people didn’t have to be physically present, he said. He just needed to know that they were truly there for him.

Jesus cried when his friend Lazarus died, Tindale noted.     

“Jesus was so present,” Tindale said. He was in touch with his own emotions and of those of the people around him.

“He cried because there were people who were sad, because he felt it himself.”

The presence of those who have passed on will be missed, he said.

The following clergy* are remembered and their dates of death noted:

--Leslie Clarence Jackson, May 16, 2014
--James Robert Maxfield, June 13, 2014
--Ronald Anthony Gibson, Sr., July 4, 2014
--John Andrew White July 4, 2014
--Roy Albion Fiske, July 14, 2014
--William Hilden Compton, July 18, 2014
--Randall Lorentz Parsons, Sept. 20, 2014
--Robert Glendon Krouse, Oct. 2, 2014
--Wallace Brode Draper, Oct. 11, 2014
--Neo Nestau Garvin, Oct. 13, 2014
--John Henry Hires, Jr., Oct. 21, 2014
--Charles Robert Bruce, Nov. 15, 2014
--Terry A. Peck, Nov. 15, 2014
--Donald Wayne Coughenour, Nov. 18, 2014
--Eldon Simmons, Dec. 4, 2014
--Carl Daniel Shafer, Dec. 19, 2014
--Larry Eugene Cook, Sr., Dec. 21, 2014
--Janice Ann Henry-Rinehart, Jan. 13, 2015
--Franklin Pierce Smith, Jan. 24, 2015
--Chester William Plank, Feb. 10, 2015

--George Robert McCormick, March 11, 2015
--Donald Leland Bain, April 14
--Haig Medzarentz, June 3, 2015

The following clergy spouses* who died in the past year are remembered:

--Wilma Clayton Stanfield, May 18, 2014
--Rita T. Chapman Luther, June 1, 2014
--Pamela Joyce Austin Norton, July 3, 2014
--Mary Liles Stauffer, July 14, 2014
--Marguerite J. Bartlett, Aug. 21, 2014
--Barbara Whitehead Stewart Brisbane, Aug. 23, 2014
--Patricia Ann Whitehead Fleming, Aug. 30, 2014
--Betty Jean Burgess Radcliff, Oct. 15, 2914
--Alida Esther Barrios Gomez Rodriguez, Nov. 2, 2014
--Helen Monson Luce, Nov. 6, 2014
--Margaret Alfonso, Nov. 10, 2014
--Judith L. Hamilton Niemeyer, Dec. 1, 2014
--Barbara Stewart Floyd, Dec. 26, 2014
--Dorothy Jane Plant Cofield, Dec. 29, 2014
--Joseph A. Parra, Jan. 25, 2015
--Jane Lankford McGahee, Jan. 26, 2015
--Gladys Marie Quattlebaum Jordan, Feb. 1, 2015
--Marilyn White, Feb. 11, 2015
--Montie Mable Bell Jackson, Feb. 11, 2015
--Wanda Grace Bresee Pope Felton, Feb. 24, 2015
--Dorothy Charlene Whiteman McPeak, March 5, 2015
--Earselene Zimmerman, March 13, 2015

--Agnes Lucile Smith Watson, April 17, 2015
--Richard McClellan, May 5, 2015
--Martha Dorrell, June 3, 2015

Also remembered was Aggie Reed, who died Feb. 27, 2015. She was the president of the Florida Conference United Methodist Women.

*Some recent deaths were not listed at the Service of Remembrance and will be included in next year’s service.

-- B.C. Manion is a freelance writer based in Tampa.