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Saying Goodbye

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Yesterday we said goodbye for now to a wonderful woman of faith. Beverly Kennedy lived and died sharing her faith every day. She will never know how many lives she touched as a school teacher for OCPS, as a Sunday school teacher for Church On The Drive, as a mentor and as a friend. I met Bev on September 9th1979, when she joined College Park Baptist church, as the church was then called. She and her husband Dan had moved to Orlando from Gainesville for Dan’s work. What drew me to her was her radiant smile and sweet spirit. It didn’t take anyone long to know what a special person she was and how just talking to her could change your life.

Bev loved her Lord and wanted everyone she met to know him as well. She spent time with children in her classroom at school and in her classroom at church. She got to know each child personally, what was going on in their lives and what they were having trouble with. She prayed for each child in her personal prayer time, for each family that was involved with that child.

Not only was Bev a gifted teacher, she was also a gifted artist. She did sketches of each child in her class. The drawings that are posted here are some of her work. The detail of each child shows the love she had for each student and how she saw them. In her home she has sketches of her own children at different stages of their lives. What a wonderful gift for a child to have a sketch of themselves from someone who loves them very much.

When Bev’s cancer came back she never asked, "why Lord?" She faced the situation head on and started the fight that she had already beat once several years ago. She showed God’s love to each person she had contact with during her treatment. And when those treatments weren’t working anymore she faced the reality that her life here on this earth was going to end. She told those that she loved how much they meant to her and how she wished she could have won this fight, but that she was ready to go be with her beloved Dan and the Jesus she served her whole life. I grieve for her family. For her daughter, two sons, and grandchildren. For her mother who won’t always remember that she is no longer here and might wonder why she hasn’t come to visit her. And for her students, who loved her so much and a few who knew she was so sick went and visited with her a few days before she died and told her how much she changed their lives and how much she meant to them. Yesterday we cried for what we have lost in her not being here but we rejoiced in where she is at now.

Bev, you were and will always be loved by us and will be missed, but your spirit will live on in each person you touched and each child you taught. I will see you again someday and I know we will pick up our friendship right where we left it the last day we spoke. Love you, my friend.  

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Summer Celebration Luau

Sunday we will be having a Summer Celebration Luau to honor all of our volunteers here at Church on the Drive. This is one of those events that we have just to have fun. There isn’t any hidden agenda. If you think about how many volunteers it takes to operate a church our size and cover every ministry area it can be mind boggling. We have 4 Councils, 14 Community Groups that meet every Sunday morning, and 10 Committees – some that meet monthly and 11 standing committees for a total of 269 volunteers.

We are very appreciative of our volunteers and I am happy that we have set aside one afternoon to honor them and have some good old fashion fun. We will have food (of course we are Baptist after all), music, karaoke, a hula contest (I understand that Pastor Jack is involved in this activity, grass skirt and all!) and prizes for best luau costume! You won’t want to miss this event. Come and join us this Sunday July 29th at 10:15 for Worship and then we will move into the Fellowship Hall for the Luau.

See you there.

Blessings,

Debbie Hairel

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