Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009: A Quiet Mourning

While we have been praising God this week for the good news we received on Monday, we have been grieving the loss of our dear friend Rich Elling, who passed away early Wednesday morning. You can't sum up his life better than our pastor did this week. Here is Pastor Frank Wevers in his own words on Rich Elling's life:

"Let me also take this opportunity to celebrate the life of Rich Elling, whose journey with Jesus ended early Wednesday morning. Rich was known and loved by so many persons in our church and in our community. I have known few persons who have inspired me more than Rich. It was a privilege to call him my friend, my co-worker, my confidant, and my inspiration. I will deeply miss his gentle yet powerful presence. Rich modeled what passionately following Jesus looks like. He was a disciplined man who began each day in God's Word and in God's presence. The last day of his life, I noticed his Bible and glasses on the tray beside his hospice bed. Rich was a man who modeled devotion to his family . . . he leaves a powerful legacy of faith and selflessness for his family. Rich was respected in the business community for his integrity . . . there was no doubt that his faith followed him out of church on Sunday into the workplace on Monday. Rich was a dedicated servant who worked behind the scenes at Calvary Church as a volunteer staffer for seven or eight years. He also volunteered at the City Mission. Since Rich's death, I have heard so many stories of how he quietly came alongside so many persons in times of difficulty. It was Rich's way to minister to others in a way which drew no attention to him. So many of us were shocked at how quickly Rich went from active ministry, to a hospice bed, and then into the presence of Jesus. We need not be surprised. Rich ran the race set before him with great passion and discipline. He invested as much as he could, as long as he could. Then he quickly and quietly slipped from this life without much fuss . . . that was Rich's way. His death leaves a hole in my heart, in his family, in our staff, in our church, and in our community. But his life has left an inspiring example for those privileged to know him."

Please remember Mary and the family in your prayers. The visitation and funeral are this weekend. Rich and Kristi had a very special connection. His passing came very difficult for Kristi. Please also remember Kristi as we mourn his loss.