A Note From the Keener Family
August 17, 2018
Pastor Jim Hopkins
Pastor Allison Tanner
Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
3534 Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland, C 94610
Dear LABC Family,
I have been trying to write this letter for over a week now. It’s not that I didn’t want to write it; but, I found myself struggling with how to convey the depth of gratitude the girls and I experienced as we came to grips with Paul’s sudden passing. In other words, I did not know how to say “thank you!”
Paul LOVED his Lakeshore family! For almost 20 years, LABC has been the place where he felt most comfortable and chose to live out his calling. Lakeshore was the place and people who shared his interpretation of the gospel and decided to live out his calling. In the past few years, Paul was committed to sharing God’s word and love with diverse groups of people, both large and small congregations, and both mature and new ministries; however, wherever he went, he was sure to tell them that LABC was his ‘church home’ and that Rev. Dr. Jim Hopkins was his pastor! Paul was so very proud of LABC’s history and its living testimony as reflected in Matthew 25. So, when The Lord decided to call him home on Saturday, July 21, 2018, there was no doubt where we would hold his Homegoing Celebration.
The LABC family responded to our inconceivable loss immediately, both in providing prayers and words of comfort and support but also in your presence. The wonderful Pastor Allison was there almost immediately offering solace and a gentle, guiding hand. As I was trying to both drive and manage my cognitive dissonance on Sunday, July 22nd, she talked and prayed with me until our connection was lost as I drove through the Webster Street tunnel. The amazing Sims family visited with us and brought a full dinner the following day. Later that same week, Paige came to share her love, condolences and a home cooked meal. I can’t recall everything (the fog hasn’t completely lifted quite yet!) you all did in those first few days, but there were just so many wonderfully generous gestures for which we are forever grateful!
We must also say thank you to the group responsible for changing the focus of the Wednesday Bible Study to allow that time to be used as a Prayer Vigil. What a powerful place of community and refuge that provided for us, and others, who loved Paul. The ability to sit and reflect in silence before a loving God; the sacred music; the scriptures and mediations Allison shared and the culminating candle lighting ceremony. So very powerful to see folks wait in line and light a candle both in Paul’s honor but as a reminder that we all have the capacity, and responsibility, to use our time, talents and treasures for good. Allison also remembered that Paul loved the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Thank you!!!
We appreciate the tremendous support provided by the Social Committee, led by Sheila, Carol and Johanna. They were on hand Thursday to help us set up in both the Family Room and Barnett Hall. We also want to thank Larry for checking in with us about recording Paul’s service, so that we would have a permanent record of the celebration of Paul’s life. And the entire LABC Family was on hand Friday, August 3, 2018, to give witness to the ways in which Paul touched the lives of those with whom he came into contact through his ministry, his work at ACPWA, and his softball coaching career. Pastor Hopkins telegraphed that Paul’s celebration would be a memorable, joyous occasion by setting the LABC context when addressing the family in the library prior to the service beginning. He then followed with the welcome that included the refrain I would hear recounted to me countless times since the service…”Paul was a good man, doing good things.” It was a beautiful, glorious day…Paul would have loved it!
So, thank you, Lakeshore. Christine, Jessica, Rachel and I would not have been able to make it through the last three weeks without you. Again, we can never thank you enough for all you did to walk with us ‘through the valley of the shadow of death.’ We would, however, like to provide a gesture of thanks by hosting an upcoming Coffee Hour. We are working with Allison and Sheila to identify a date. At which time, we hope to greet and thank you personally for demonstrating the love of Jesus and showing us how much Paul meant to you, his beloved Lakeshore Family.
May God bless and keep you is our sincere and fervent prayer!
Carla, Christine, Jessica and Rachel Keener
Prayers of the Congregation
- LeAnn Flesher for her dad (eye surgery)
- Ruben Artery (recuperating from surgery)
- Joel Reyes for his sister and his nephew
- Phil and Gloria Meads
- All our students, teachers and school employees
- All affected by the forest fires in the West
- Rita Jennings (health)
- Jo and Dave Robinson
- Emma Gordon for her son, David
- Jamie Reid
- Pat Hughes for her daughter, Mary Ann
- Mary Karne for her daughter, Maryla
- Marian Ott as she settles in at St. Paul’s Towers
- Katrina Lau for her aunt
- Jewelle Gibbs (health)
- Chris Schelin and the Starr King School for Ministry community as they mourn the death of Assistant to the President, Sarah Ebster
- Thanksgiving for the ministry of the Global Servants of American Baptist International Ministries
- Thanksgiving that LCC teachers Joni and Teracita are back at work
- Thanksgiving for life and ministry of the Reverend Noah Osborne (McGee Avenue Baptist Church). Prayers for all who grieve his death.
- Thanksgiving for the life of Aretha Franklin. Prayers for all who grieve her death.
Another Suicide Prevention Number (For a person in crisis to use and/or a person concerned about someone in crisis)
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
I hope you will be in worship this Sunday as we consider “The Weekly Inconvenience” that is church. I will be preaching and Carolyn Matthews will be singing and leading the music.