Feature

With the Lord

As reported in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue.

By

Gregory (Greg) A. Jack

March 31, 1959–October 19, 2016

A pastor’s kid, Greg was born in Los Angeles, Calif., and accepted Jesus at an early age. He had an avid interest in music as a young boy and was an excellent drummer.

While in the U.S. Navy, Greg rededicated his life to Christ and heard God’s call to serve Him in ministry. He later attended Southwest Bible College and Seminary. On December 21, 1985, he married Maria Kolomvotos.

During his 33 years of ministry, Greg served in various capacities in C&MA churches in Hayward, Calif., including Hillside Alliance Church. In 2007, he became the lead pastor at the church, where he served until his death.

Greg had a passion to share Jesus’ love with everyone he met. He started a coffeehouse ministry called “The Hangout,” where people young and old listened to Christian bands, enjoyed coffee and fellowship, and experienced God’s care for them in an inviting, alternative setting. Greg also helped bring Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program, to Hillside. This ministry was instrumental in freeing countless people from hurts, habits, and addictions. In addition, Greg was a manager of a family restaurant, where his contagious smile and joy in the Lord touched many lives.

Greg is survived by his wife; daughter Sophia; and son Alex.

Rev. Keith VanRoy Lindsey

September 2, 1932–April 1, 2017

Keith was born in Irvona, Pa., where his family attended the Irvona C&MA Church. He served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany during the Korean War. In 1955, Keith married Doris Jean Miles. He graduated from Detroit Bible College (now William Tyndale College, Farmington Hills, Mich.) in 1963.

During more than 30 years of C&MA ministry, Keith pastored churches in Defiance, Ohio (1964–1967); and Beaverdale (1967–1973), Nanty Glo (1973–1992), and Holliday, Pa. (1992–1994).

During retirement, Keith and Doris lived in Coalport, Pa., where Keith served as an interim pastor and preached at other local churches. Throughout his years of ministry, Keith served as a cook at Mahaffey (Pa.) Camp and enjoyed spending time there with family and friends each summer.

Keith was predeceased by his wife; he is survived by daughters Linda and Deloris; son Larry; 8 grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.

Rev. Richard James Abrams Jr.

February 11, 1938–April 4, 2017

Elsie Mae Ekstedt Abrams

December 18, 1934–May 3, 2017

A pastor’s son, Richard was born in Martindale, Pa., and decided to become a missionary while at Canby (Ore.) Camp. He attended Simpson Bible College (now Simpson University, Redding, Calif.). On June 21, 1958, Richard married Elsie Ekstedt.

Born in Nora Springs, Iowa, to missionaries and evangelists, Elsie met Richard while preparing for ministry at Simpson. After they married, they served a pastorate in Price, Utah, for two years.

For more than 30 years, Richard and Elsie were C&MA missionaries to Peru; they also ministered for several years in Quito, Ecuador; and Miami, Fla., before retiring to Salem, Ore.

Richard then embarked on a second career in the Salem-Kaizer School District’s translation department, where he worked for 12 years. During their time in Oregon, the couple was involved in the Dallas C&MA Church, singing in the choir and leading an adult Sunday school class. Richard and Elsie were greatly honored to return to Lima, Peru, in 2013 for the 40th anniversary of the Encounter with God program, a large part of their ministry in South America.

Richard and Elsie are survived by daughters Linda, Lois, and Elisabeth; son Richard; 12 grandchildren; and 6 great grandchildren.

Mary Poser

January 3, 1923–April 5, 2017

Mary was born in Bradford, England, and attended Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bible College. On August 26, 1943, she married Rev. Victor Poser.

During 42 years of C&MA ministry, Mary served alongside Victor in churches in New Castle, Ind. (1943–1944); Genoa, Ohio (1949–1952); Wheeling, W.Va. (1952–1955); Melvindale, Mich. (1955–1968); and Hamilton (1968–1978) and Kenton, Ohio (1979–1987).

Mary was predeceased by her husband and their son David; she is survived by daughter Jackie; 4 grandchildren; and 8 great grandchildren.

Hazel Irene Grames

August 18, 1923–April 7, 2017

Irene grew up near Akron, Ohio, and was valedictorian of her high school graduating class. In 1946, she married Ernest Grames, whom she had met at Beulah Beach Camp and Retreat Center while they were teenagers. The two graduated from Wheaton (Ill.) College in 1949. Later, Irene earned an MEd degree from Temple University in Philadelphia.

During their 60 years of marriage, Irene served alongside Ernest in C&MA churches in Jersey Shore (1953–1957), Nanticoke (1957–1960), Willow Grove (1960–1968), Elizabethtown (1968–1974), Fairlawn (1974–1980), and Uniontown, Pa. (1980–1982); and in Bremerton, Wash. (1982–1989). She was primarily involved in Christian education and women’s ministry. Irene also taught public school in Willow Grove, Elizabethtown, and Bremerton.

Irene was predeceased by her husband; she is survived by sons Jonathan, Philip, and Stephen; 6 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren.

Rev. George Smith Rawding

August 23, 1917–April 29 2017

Born in Glendale, Pa., George attended Nyack (N.Y.) College and Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Pa.). On January 5, 1943, he married Katherine Mary, whom he had met at Nyack.

An ordained C&MA minister, George was actively involved at the C&MA church in Shamokin, Pa., for 50 years. He also served churches in New Brighton, Woodchopper, Canton, and Elysburg, Pa., and was founding pastor of the Elysburg Alliance Church.

George was predeceased by his wife; he is survived by daughters Georgene and Gwen; sons Kurt and William; 9 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren.

Dr. Leonard S. Wallmark

December 21, 1931–May 15, 2017

Born in San Francisco, Calif., Leonard served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War (1951–1955). He attended Simpson Bible College (now Simpson University, Redding, Calif.) and received his Mdiv and DMin from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. On June 6, 1953, Leonard married Edith A. Davis.

Leonard was a pastor at Petaluma Neighborhood Church (1964–1966) and taught at Simpson University (1964–2002). After officially retiring, he continued to work as an adjunct professor until age 78. His 40 years of service as a Simpson professor impacted thousands of students.

Leonard is survived by his wife and children Debbie, Tim, Julie, Rick, and Janis.

Betty Janet Patzke Mitchell

January 12, 1921–June 28, 2017

Born in Minnesota, Betty attended Simpson College (now Simpson University, Redding, Calif.). On June 1, 1947, she married Archie Mitchell. They were appointed to Vietnam, where they were house parents at the Dalat School for MKs. Archie also was the director, and Betty oversaw kitchen activities and did bookkeeping.

They later moved to the Banmethuot Leprosarium in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Within months, Archie and two others were captured by Vietcong soldiers and led away into the jungle. They are presumed dead.

Betty remained in Vietnam and became involved in women’s and children’s work.

In 1975, Betty and eight foreigners were captured in Banmethuot during one of the North Vietnamese last offensives to end the war. She was moved to multiple jungle camps, suffering from cerebral malaria and other illnesses. After eight months, Betty and the other prisoners were released.

Betty returned to the Dalat School, relocated to Penang, Malaysia. She became involved in prison ministries and visited Vietnamese refugee camps in Malaysia and Thailand. After returning to the States in 1986, she ministered to the Dega people from Vietnam, encouraging them as they organized into churches.

Betty was predeceased by her husband; she is survived by daughters Becki, Loretta, and Geri; son Glenn; 10 grandchildren; and 13 great grandchildren.

See Betty’s tribute here.

In Memorium

Deborah (Debbie) Scott Schermerhorn

October 25, 1959–July 15, 2017

On July 15, the Development Area of Ministry and the C&MA National Office said farewell to a beloved friend and co-laborer, Debbie Schermerhorn, after a brief, courageous battle with cancer.

Aside from her gentle spirit and love for the Lord, Debbie was most known for her artistic talent. She briefly worked at Prentice Hall and National Religious Broadcasters before settling into her lifelong career as a graphic/Web designer and digital content coordinator with the C&MA, where she served for more than 30 years.

After moving to Colorado with the National Office, Debbie joined Simchat Torah Beit Midrash in Englewood. There she worshiped, studied, and shared her skills as a freelance artist. She also grew in her deep appreciation of the Jewish roots of Christianity.

Debbie was an inspiration in living and in dying, full of grace and peace. After being given days to live, she continued to say, “In heaven or on earth, I just walk with Jesus. The venue is irrelevant.”

Though her time on earth came to an end early, Debbie’s legacy lives on in her designs and continues to minister to hearts around the world—just as she prayed it would.

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