January 7th, 2023 found me at two funerals of strong NT-NL Synod, ELCA leaders and an ordination (more on that in a later post). The first funeral, as has been posted here earlier, was for Mr. Mederick Rodgers of St. John Lutheran-Oak Cliff-Dallas.
Mederick was a strong leader in our synod, particularly with our public witness team. He was, along with his spouse Emma, a voice of reality to us as we considered how systemic racism impacted our black siblings in our synod. Mederick had a way of speaking truth and inviting others into conversation to understand one another. A skill no doubt honed in his 38 years as a manager and executive at Southwestern Bell (later AT&T).
We were grateful for the hospitality of Friendship-West Baptist Church in South Dallas for the space for his funeral. We received resolutions of condolence from many parts including St. John as well as his alma mater Texas Southern University and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.
Our own Rev. Dr. Willard McIver (St. Andrews Lutheran-Hurst, pictured in the top frame) brought the sermon. It was a powerful day of witness to the consistency and integrity of a man who lived his baptismal vocation each day and into those promises we can commend him.
After the service I sped down I-20 to Arlington in time to receive the Eucharist at the funeral of the Rev. Yvonne Kiebler at Advent Lutheran Church-Arlington. Pastor Joel Burkholder preached and presided as the community gathered to give thanks for Pastor Keibler’s ministry and life.
Yvonne was a second career pastor. Having served in Governmental service for many years. She faithfully served a multi-point parish call in the Panhandle and then at King of Glory-Fort Worth. As she retired she continued to be a supply preacher and interim as called. Her death came, like Mederick’s, as a surprise, and so it was a blessing to be comforted by the gospel promises and the consolation of community.
One of the primary duties of the church is to bury our dead. To proclaim the good news in the face of what to the world sees as the end. But we do not mourn as those without hope. We trust our God is and has been at work making all things new. Please join me in prayer for the Rodgers and Keibler families in this time and for all who mourn in this new year. #NTNL #InMissionTogether