Vol 9 No. 2 Celebrating and Remembering


Over the last few years, several of us have been grappling with how to remember those who have passed away.  There has been a great deal of concern of how to do this properly, respectively and adequately.  We have even developed, and will soon release, an aid for people to be able to guide them through writing a remembrance of a family member or friend.  What we really got hung up on, however, is a concern of who would write a memory and would we ever be in danger of leaving someone out.  We can never second guess who should write a remembrance, and as to whether someone gets left out, that’s simply going to happen.  And I have an expectation that people will understand, gently draw it to our attention and move on from the disappointment.  So here it goes…

Despite all the above-mentioned concerns, I have hit a tipping point last week with the passing of Lance Morgan.  Lance was a remarkable man in so many ways; a child of God, a husband, father, grandfather, pastor, friend and mentor.  His loss to the community of First Baptist Church Prince George, BC, and far beyond, is incalculable.  I found myself in the middle of a chorus at worship in my home church on Sunday choking at the memory of Lance.  I honour him, give thanks for him, remember him and extend to his wife, Pat, our thanks to her for her ministry, our love and our prayers.

I’ve had these tipping points before, and to my profound regret, have done nothing about them because of the issues I mentioned in the first paragraph.  Here are some of the names of people I will comment on over the next few months but cannot do justice to them with a fleeting sentence today. This list is not exhaustive.  Amongst this group are some that you will remember:  Lance Morgan, Shirley Bentall, Kory Lewis, Gayle Moffat, Howard Bentall, Peter Isaak, Glen Alexander, Fran Stelck, Bill Cram and Ian Hinds.  Please note the order – it is intentional. Glen was chair of the board that hired me.  Howard deeply encouraged me.  Fran Stelck was part of my Sunday school experience as a child, and had a great influence on me. I was in a local cemetery conducting an interment in December, when I stumbled across Bill Cram’s grave, upon which were his name and dates and the simple phrase, “The hands and feet of God”.

Two of the simple criteria I use in reflecting on the passing of someone are from Romans and Galatians.  I ask from Romans 8:38 and following whether this was someone who imitated the Lord Jesus to such an extent that they reminded me that I was never to be separated from God’s love despite my circumstances.  The Galatians passage is more simple and tougher.  Did they exemplify the fruits of the spirit, and more to the point, do I?  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23

In coming to a close, I want to tell you a Lance Morgan story.  It’s not to convey anything else but an aspect of his personality, outrageous humour, and in his ability to challenge, why he helped form me.  In one of his early weeks at a church, he persuaded a local undertaker to lend him a coffin.  He brought it into the Sunday morning service, opened the lid, put a mirror inside it, got the congregation to walk past it, look in, and told them that the trouble with the church was the person looking back at them from the bottom of the coffin.  Vintage Lance! And maybe I got some of the details wrong, but he won’t mind.

I’d also like to leave you with the words from Bill Cram’s headstone.  Like Bill, and like Lance, may each of us be “The hands and feet of God”.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell