A Service of Remembrance
Thursday evening, June 16, a Service of Remembrance for conducted.
Click here for the memorial booklet that includes clergy memoirs (pdf).
After a welcome from Bishop Lewis, the Rev. Ileana Rosas issued the Call to Worship.
The Rev. Grace Han, the preacher for the service, began her sermon, “Friends, we gather tonight for our Service of Remembrance. Each year, we begin Annual Conference with a worship service dedicated to remembering.
We remember specifically those people in our Annual Conference who have died in the past year. We celebrate their incredible lives and ministries. We remember their legacies, stories, and journeys and proclaim the promise of resurrection that claims them and us.” “But,” she continued, “we also recognize that tonight’s service comes in the midst of an extended season of pain and loss. We gather in person for the first time in three years because a global pandemic completely changed our world. We come heavy with grief mourning 6 million lives worldwide (and that’s thought to be a significant undercount). We gather as violence motivated by racism continues to plague our country. We gather in the wake of school shootings and mass shootings. We gather as war rages on in Europe. And we gather as our churches and our denomination face division, struggling to find a path forward.”
Han continued, “In many ways, this would be a good year to skip over remembering and just fast forward to looking ahead to five years down the road when COVID is a distant memory and all our denominational schisms are resolved.
“But what we’ll also see tonight s that it is precisely in our most difficult moments n the shadows of the darkest valleys that God is with us,” Han said. “And just as God’s presence was a Balm for the Israelite people in our Scriptures generations ago, God’s presence is a Balm for us today. And that is worth remembering.”
Click here to see the entire sermon (pdf)
The Rev. Joshua King, conference secretary, conducted the Act of Remembrance: Naming of Honored Dead, as a candle was lit in their memory.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving was delivered by the Rev. Marcus Stallworth.
The Rev. Grace Han, pastor of Trinity UMC, Alexandria, preacher for the Service of Remembrance.