Voice of the Vestry: Sharing our love

By John Strickler

Vestry member John StricklerSeveral weeks after his passing, Nan and I continue to grieve the death of Grace parishioner Bill Hankins. I know many of you do as well.

The strange thing is that we’ve never known Bill and Helen well, or at least not intimately. Although we lived not 10 miles from each other in suburban Lansing, we didn’t meet until both couples moved to Traverse City. We began to connect with Bill, a faithful volunteer at Jubilee House and Helen, a lector at Grace. Until now, I’ve never told Helen this, but when our oldest daughter, a high school English teacher, visits us, she always hopes to hear Helen read from scripture. She loves to hear that lyrical English accent as it passes God’s word to us.

At Jubilee House, Bill was a rock. Nan and I constantly marveled at his calm demeanor as he interacted with our patrons. We never heard a harsh word come from his mouth. When one of our patrons was suffering, or acting out through the influence of alcohol, drugs or depression, Bill would sidle up and offer a comforting and calming word. And whatever tension was in the room would quietly disappear. That was Bill; intelligent, quiet, understanding, and utterly without ego. My regret is that I never shared these thoughts with him, or with Helen.

Nan and I have been graced to enjoy many decades together on this earth, God’s wonderful creation. Don’t wait to share your admiration of friends, neighbors or loved ones. Constantly reaffirm your love with those you know well, or casually, even those you’ve only recently met.

I know Bill’s spirit resides with God. My hope is that I may share my admiration with him in a later life.





We have temporarily suspended all in-person gatherings for worship, along with all in-person events not related to our vital outreach ministries. We look forward to returning to joyful worship together. Please check back for announcement of dates. Full letter from Father Jim here.

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Sat at 5pm
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