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Pastor's Message - October 2023

~Remembering ~

“They give freely…their righteousness stands forever.”

~Psalm 112:9

Dear Members and Friends,

“Their righteousness stands forever”? How can that be? Nothing stands forever. But that’s what it says in Psalm 112, at the top of the page. When people are generous, their righteousness (which is to say their goodness, virtue or honor) never ends. It’s the nature of goodness and generosity to inspire more of the same…and thus create a cycle.

It’s always fun for me to hear about bygone members of this congregation, people I’ve never met, but who still loom large in the life of our church. I’ve done 77 funerals in my 13 years among you, but let me emphasize, I’m not referring to any of those dear souls. I’m talking about people whom many of you knew but I did not. Of course, Rev. Bill Barker looms the largest. He established a new church here in the early 50s by going door-to-door on Saturdays…setting a very high bar for all his successors. I’ve been hearing the name of Marge McKee for many years, a tireless supporter of mission. We have a mission travel fund named in her memory. Another titan of mission was Truman Kohman, who has an observatory named after him at CMU. Bob Grabow and Alice Kerner still live on in the sacred memory of our tribe. The list goes on and on.

Another beloved Bower Hiller I never knew was Roberta “Bobbye” Leonard. Bobbye joined our church in 1959 and transferred to a congregation in Tennessee in 2001. In her paper file in the church office, leafing through documents yellowed by time, I see that she taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, served as a deacon, and made a living as an officer at Mellon Bank. Twice widowed with no kids, I mentioned Bobbye’s name to a few long-time members of our church. They assured me that she was feisty and forward thinking and that I would have loved her. Bobbye died last summer. Though she’d been gone from our fellowship for 22 years, she never forgot her deep love for Bower Hill Church. She remembered us in her will to the tune of $100,000, which is equal to the sum she gave to her current church and to her alma mater, Waynesburg University. That, my friends, is commitment! She may have been gone from our sight long before she died, but she remembered us lovingly and materially. And so I wanted to take this opportunity to remember Roberta “Bobbye” Leonard. God hold her in peace forever.

It's a universal human desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves, something that will outlast us. Remembering the church in your will is a powerful way to ensure that its ministries, and its missions, and its unique approach to faith live on. It’s a way to make sure that our kind of faith—a faith that respects all and cares about the world—still has a voice. It’s a way to touch the future with your faith, so that the

Christ’s Peace,



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