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Lives Connected by Faith

Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School

As the processional wound down the streets of Washington D.C., and as the pipe organ at the National Cathedral heralded the arrival of dignitaries, I sat in the small sanctuary of Conway United Methodist Church in South Orlando attending the memorial service for Claudia C. Weller. She was the mother-in-law of our former School Board Chairman, Frank Schrimsher.

In our Nation’s capital, remembrances of the last president from the greatest generation continued throughout the afternoon. He was an amazing man, a decorated war veteran, a West Texas entrepreneur, a remarkable public servant, and a man of deep faith. When his best friend stepped into his room on the morning of his passing, the 41st President looked up and said, “Where we going today, Jim?” “We’re going to heaven,” his friend responded. “Sounds good to me, I’m ready,” Bush replied.

At about that same time, Claudia C. Weller peacefully breathed her last breath surrounded by her family, who were singing her favorite hymns. She was 98 years old and also part of the greatest generation. She was a loving mom, a wonderful nana, a pioneer in the telephone business, a faithful partner alongside her husband in his car dealership, a Girl Scout leader, a four-time published genealogist, a community servant, and a great neighbor.

Two people who never met were eulogized on the same day, at the same time, over a 1,000 miles apart. One remembered quietly in the church she loved so dearly. The other celebrated in the halls of power while the world watched on television screens.

Lives so different yet so beautifully connected by their love of country, an abiding passion for service, and a personal relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They cared for their families, they believed the best about others, and they left the world around them better than they found it. They followed different paths on earth. But when they arrived in heaven the same welcome was extended, the same celestial choir sang, and they heard the same words from their Heavenly Father – “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your reward.”

As my day ended, I prayed God would give each one of us a hunger for a life so well lived and a longing for the joyous homecoming they experienced by His grace and mercy.

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