Yesterday was a good day. We gathered outside at our little Church of God at Baden to celebrate the life of our beloved Pastor Don. The day was a blessing.
Tears were shed, laughs were had and love was shared. He would have loved that. He would have loved that the focus of his memorial was to minister to the neighborhood. We gave away clothing, food and other household goods. People learned about the ministries of the church and how they can get involved. There was a bouncy room for the kids (they loved that)! Chris Shepherd band, Mercy’s Child and Matt/Josh performed music on the stage outside. It was a fantastic time.
Truly this is a transitional time for our little church. But it is very clear that God is moving amongst us. He is actively bringing healing to the people of this community. You can see it and you can feel it. But healing will never mean forgetting. It just means that we will be able to live with the hole Don left in our hearts a little better as God soothes and comforts us. I believe that comfort will come even more as we move forward in the callings that He has given to us. Don was many things, but the top of the list was that he was a servant of God. I believe that God wants to develop those little pieces of Don that are planted in all of our hearts. The truth is that those aren’t really pieces of Don… They are pieces of Jesus. And Jesus wants us to live in the fullness of His love, just like Don learned to.
Since this is my blog and I get to be selfish here, I wanted to point out a few things that blessed me yesterday.
The first thing is the strength and inspiration that is Deb Sharp. We all, and I do mean ALL, look to her. She is half of the amazing team that shepherded this church and neighborhood. She’s one of the strongest women I have ever known. I admire her so much. I stood back at times yesterday just to watch her do her thing. She is such a giving person. She is truly always willing to assist those in need. On this day of celebration of the life of her husband, she spent most of her time ministering with the big group of children. It cannot be understated what an important influence Deb Sharp has been to countless children in our North Side neighborhood. These children get to be taught about Jesus while having a good, safe time. It’s why the Baden Christian Child Care Center is such a key ministry of the Church of God at Baden.
Special visitors… I was blessed and so very happy that my friends and bandmates Mike Kushins and Kevin Reese came out to the Memorial festival. They’ve only met Don a couple of times each, but they came up to support me and celebrate Don’s life. They don’t know what that means to me. Kevin plans to go out on the homeless run this weekend. I am excited about that! I had another visitor as well. My lovely friend Marci surprised me and came up to Baden. I was truly surprised to see her. I was so very happy to reconnect with her. Her presence touched me. Then Heather and Earla Cotter showed up along with Robert Fabian. They had gone out to do meals on wheels once with Pastor Don on Thanksgiving last year. I was so happy to see them.
My parents… As some of you know, my Dad has been speaking at church lately. He also spoke at Don’s funeral. My Dad is an amazing man. God gives him such amazing strength when he needs it most. I admire my Dad so much. I still recall him preaching his Dad’s funeral. I learned a new respect for him that day. That respect has only grown. For the record, I cannot imagine standing up there and preaching Don’s funeral. I would have sobbed through the whole things and you wouldn’t have understood a word I said. I cry too much… Don would have called me a sissy! My Dad has a willing heart. He wants to follow Jesus wherever He leads. Jesus led him to the Church of God at Baden. I couldn’t be happier. My Mom… I adore my mother. She is the sweetest, compassionate person I have known. I was watching her yesterday too. People are drawn to her just like they are drawn to Don and Deb. I often found her off to the side talking alone with someone who just needed a compassionate ear to hear their hurts. That’s my Mom. But it doesn’t end there. No, she will be praying for all of those hurts. I promise you that. My Mom prays a lot. So if that scares you, then it’s best not to talk to her!
The hard work… So many people worked so hard to make yesterday the amazing success that it was. Caleb Sharp busted his tail to make sure that the stage was set up, sound was good, and tents were ready. Oh and rumor has it that he paid off the ice cream man so that people could get ‘free’ ice cream. Speaking of the stage, a big thanks to Have Bible Will Travel for use of their mobile stage. That was HUGE for us. The list of workers would be long and I would no doubt forget many people. But the joy of this church is that EVERYONE was involved in some capacity.
Jan Quinn… We were so blessed to have Jan Quinn present the Proclamation from the city of St. Louis yesterday. Pastor Don loved Jan and she works with us in many ministries to the poor and to senior citizens in our area. We are currently working with her on some new ministry opportunities as well. Oh yeah, about that Proclamation… That Proclamation declared April 6th as “Pastor Carvin Donald Sharp Memorial Day”. We were super excited about that!
I could gush on and on about how many people came out or all the stuff that happened, but I need to get in to work this morning! If you are interested in checking out pictures from the day, I have uploaded them to the Church Flickr page. Thanks to Jamie Brown for snapping most of these shots. I think she captured the moments perfectly!