Saturday, July 18, 2009

Celebration of the Life of The Reverend Douglas Eugene Lawrence

By Susan Allison

A service of Thanksgiving was held today at Cross Street AME Episcopal Zion Church for Reverend Lawrence with Rev. Moses L. Harvill, Officiating and Rev. Robyn Turner presiding.
The large church was packed full of people who felt blessed to know Reverend Lawrence as attested to by the many reflections given in his honor. And just because you didn't know Reverend Lawrence doesn't mean that he didn't know you! Here was a man in our midsts who had the heart of a saint, whose love knew no limits and whose passion for ministry inspired many to follow in his footsteps.

It was a powerful service including Jay Hoggard who played "His Eye is on the Sparrow," Mayor Guilliano declaring it Rev. Douglas Lawrence Day, an incredible solo by Yvette Early, and and many testaments to the vast reach of Rev. Lawrence's influence--from Louisville Ky, to Camden New Jersey to Buffalo New York, and from all over Ct.

Rev. Lawrence ministered to the poor and the down-trodden, the sick, the lost. He also had a way of finding people, looking inside them, and bringing out their best, often tenaciously pulling out their best. I first met Rev. Lawrence in 1989 when he was ministering to someone in the North End. He was a quiet man, with a small frame, but with a great smile and sense of humor, and a relentless mission to do his best in the world and bring out the best in others.

Rev Lawrence was a WWII Veteran who served in the Pastoral Ministry for over 45 years. He was instrumental in the building of the first Cross Street Church at 160 Cross Street. He received many community service awards for his work with Eddie Shelter, Riverview Hospital for Children, Juvenile Diversion Board, Rushford Center, St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, Oddfellows Playhouse, People Helping People, Inc. as well as many other community activities, some of which he was responsible for starting. He published the book, Image of God, and has written two other books which will be published posthumously.

He is survived by his wife Vernell Lawrence in Middletown as well as grandchildren nieces and nephews in other states.

Love poured from Rev. Lawrence into the places where it was most needed--the children's hospital, the homeless shelter, the North End...he will be missed.

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