A true family in times of trouble

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sometimes even when you are at a place when something happens, you’re more a spectator than a participant. Such was the case for my wife, Lyndal, and I Sunday morning.

As we have been searching for a church home; we have been occasionally visiting Union Baptist Church. We have a number of friends who attend the church and we have found the people welcoming and friendly.

A sad thing happened to the people of the church last week when one of their members, Linda Edwards, died in an accident that can only be called freak because of its nature. It was sad and sudden and a blow to the people of the church as well as her family.

Let me back up and say that I have known Dave and Linda Edwards for many years. I got to know them during Dave’s coaching stint at Hertford County High School and have known them ever since. In fact, Dave was the first person to ever invite me to Union.

We went to church Sunday not knowing exactly what to expect. Knowing Dave as well as I do, I was certain he would be in church, but you never know how a congregation will handle the type of life-altering experience they suffered.

When we left Sunday, Lyndal and I talked extensively about how impressed we were with the church family. They surrounded Dave and his children. They loved them. They cried with them. They were the definition of a church family.

People who are in crisis need love and support and Dave and his children – Rachel, Brian and Paul – were certainly in crisis. They are dealing with the loss of a wife and a mother. Dave and Linda were married for more than 30 years.

We were so impressed with the way they were given that love and support from their church family Sunday morning. Because of the holidays, it was the first time some of the people had the opportunity to talk to the Edwards family. They streamed to the front to talk with Dave and the children. They didn’t rush, taking time to really talk and support them.

While some pastors and worship leaders may have been afraid to talk about the terribly tragedy that had occurred, Jackie Brinkley (Music Director) and Pastor Curtis Pixler did not.

Before the service started, the pastor invited everyone in the church to come to the front where Dave and his family were seated and to lay hands on them and pray for them. The entire congregation flooded to the front. There were tears, there were hugs and there were sincere prayers.

It is my sincere hope that no one ever has to experience what Dave and his family did last week. I hope no one ever loses a family member so tragically and so suddenly. If they do, however, I hope they have a church family that will wrap them in love and support the way the Union did the Edwards family Sunday.

Thadd White is Sports Editor and Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached at 332-7211 or via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com.