This past Friday morning royalty left the earthly Covenant Family and moved to a new residence. Happily living in a modest home with few earthly possessions, asking only that he be granted the privilege of serving, Percy Thurman Henry was called by the King of Glory to move into the royal palace of The Almighty God!
He moved out of his earthly body without fear, with boldness, expressing love for his family and friends and making clear that death had no power over his hope in the Resurrection when Jesus returns.
He served as an Elder (and Elder Emeritus) of Covenant Church for 67 years. Until less than one year ago at age 89 he was the leader of the Senior Adult Sunday Bible study. One of twelve tithing founding members he was a rock that weathered every storm, holding fiercely to his faith and trust in God.
He and his wife Alice, who is in a care facility, were of fiber that contributed to the character of what Covenant is today.
True to his self-effacing life he did not want a large funeral. He left instructions for a graveside service this Friday at 11 AM at Holly Memorial Gardens, Charlottesville, VA.
I have never known a better man than Percy Thurman Henry. Humbly I have served as his pastor for 38 years. The personal loss is too great to measure.
Odd, that the very week Covenant will celebrate Dedication/Appreciation of new facilities is the week of heaven's gain of our dear brother.
Danny Bare from age 12 has been very close to Thurman and Alice. He often visited them, would sing and show pictures of the construction. Brother Henry would rejoice and say: "It is more than we dreamed."
God's timing is not our own. Perhaps the best perspective is that we have a double celebration! I pen this letter to you wondering who is preparing themselves to fill the shoes, to take the torch, to pick up the mantle and to be a warrior in the character of Christ.
From 2 to 2:55 this Sunday we will have special singing, tours and refreshments. From 3 to about 4:15 PM we will give thanks to God and to persons from our community who have blessed us to arrive at this wonderful moment of launch!
Construction labors ended, we now have new doors opening. Energies that were devoted to building can now be totally dedicated to service, evangelism and discipleship.
On a Navy ship there are times with the commanding officer sounds an alert: "All Hands On Deck." There is urgency. The ship may be at risk. There may be a fire. An attack may be imminent.
Failure to be on deck is criminal. Failure to be on deck also has social consequences. Other sailors can shun or ostracize the person who refused to heed an "All Quarters Call". The person who refused to heed the Captain's orders chose to put the entire ship at risk! Selfishness disregarded the possibility of the ship and all lives on the ship being lost!
Our mission is simple. We are witnesses telling others that Our Jesus is alive and willing to save all those who repent!
As we launch our prayer is for "All Hands On Deck". Every person learning and developing skills to witness. Every person being empowered by the Holy Spirit. Every person being sent by the Holy Spirit into our counter-culture world!
I pray that Sunday will be glorious! I pray that what follows Sunday will be a move of God among us that will stir our community!
God's time is now!
Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Psalm 126:6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves (souls) with them.