Remembering the 'balcony people'

Memorial service honors 34 who passed on

By Jessica Brodie

Calling them “balcony people”—the kind of people who affirm, encourage and cause us to be better than we ever could be on our own—Dr. Tim McClendon lifted up the 34 souls who joined the Church Triumphant over the past year.

“These people offered Christ, and in the midst they told the truth,” McClendon said during the memorial service at Annual Conference Wednesday. “They hit the nail on the head, and they did not split the wood in the process.”

Borrowing the term “balcony people” from Joyce Landorf Heatherley’s book of the same title, McClendon remembered so many examples of times the departed touched his life and made him better. He lifted up people like the Rev. Calvin Washington, with his ever-present joy, smile and happiness; the Rev. Lindsey Rivers, whose wise words and wit might have inspired McClendon’s desire to be conference parliamentarian; Pat Lare’s smile and ministry of grace; Dr. Wright Spears and the countless people he mentored.

“They offered Christ, didn't they?” McClendon asked. “And in a real way, authentic, genuine, through hope, love, forgiveness. Whatever their ministry might have been, they were like Jesus, and we’re grateful.”

He challenged the body to consider not only what Heatherley posed in her book—who is on our list of balcony people—but also whose list we might be on, encouraging us to be balcony people like those gone before us to the Kingdom of God.

Active ministers who were recognized during the memorial service were the Rev. Curtis Lee Felkel Jr. and the Rev. Calvin Burdell Washington.

Retired ministers were the Revs. Carl Douglas Clary, Edward Laney Davidson, Charley Glen Dudley, Dixie Lamar Gamble, Adlai Corwell “A.C.” Holler Jr., Ralph Stuart Kaney, Harry Van Nesmith, Joseph Webster Pridgen, Lindsey Eugene Rivers, Robert Wright Spears and Wendell Wilkie Sumter.

Spouses were Martha Anne Burke Bigelow, Jule Kelly Canaday, Marilyn Bishop Fisher, Patricia Tyler Lare, Ruth Elizabeth Lott Medley, David Quinton Stafford and Paula Jeanne Everett Tanner.

Surviving spouses were Marian Bralley Cooke, Erma Mae Geissinger, Sarah Nalley Hartley, Elva Morris Huggins, Fannie Mae Johnson, Elizabeth Jordan Miller, Catherine Jeanette Morrison, Ida Spann Nelson, Sybil Glenna Moore Ray and Thomasine Gatlin Shuler.

Others recognized were John Cleveland Barr, Keith Allen Hiott Sr., Nicholle Rivrs and Paulette Stevens.

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