Often in these past weeks people have remarked how the coronavirus pandemic has brought back memories of the polio epidemic in the 1950s. For some the memories also include stories their parents and grandparents told of the 1918 flu epidemic. Commentators tell us that COVID-19 will also be remembered for generations to come.
When it comes to winter, often it is the winter storms of 1977-78 that gauge the severity of all other winter storms since then; and if you are really lucky, you might even hear someone tell you about the winter of 1936-37 with its incredible snow drifts, impassable roads, and bitter temperatures. Admittedly, this past week’s winter weather hasn’t been a milestone to remember, just some blustery days that had a way of sticking with me longer than I wanted.
Sad news was received yesterday about the death of Rev. Dr. William R. Harvey who served the Brunswick UMC from 1966-1978. From the stories many of our members tell, it is clear that his years here came at a critical time in the life of the congregation, and the legacy of his time here endures to this day.
When Bill and Nancy arrived in 1966, they came straight out of Africa. Well, maybe it wasn’t that straight but they came from the Mulungwishi Theological Seminary in present day Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nancy grew up a Lakewood gal, but it was Bill’s first time to live in Ohio. They had infant twin girls, a two year old daughter and a seven year old boy, all of which tells me that their time here from 1966 to 1978 was just as formative for their family as it was for the Brunswick UMC.
When the Harveys left Brunswick in 1978, they also left behind a legacy of faith, hope and love that continues to this day, even though many of us here now never got to meet them. Likewise, others are in our present lives leave legacies too, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill.
Who has left a legacy in your life? And what kind of legacy do you long to leave for those who will come after you? Pray too for the legacy our church will leave, that it be glorifying to God and uplifting to the people who will come after us.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.“
I Corinthians 13:13
United Methodist Pastor, Child of God, Follower of Jesus Christ.