Service of Celebration Linda Vickers 11/13/23
Good morning and welcome to this celebration of the life of Linda Vickers whose membership in this congregation of Christ’s church has been transferred to her new place of fellowship and worship in the Church Triumphant in Christ and with Christ forever.
I’m Cathy, one of the care ministers here and I had the privilege of journeying with our friend Linda during recent months. We watched Hallmark movies and favorite old TV series, read morning devotionals, talked about careers, family, her travel adventures with friends to dozens of vacation destinations and historic locations. We shared joys and heartaches together in the intimacy of Christ’s presence with us as the autumn days grew shorter. Linda had a morning routine that included enjoying a cup of hot tea and adjusting the blinds to an angle to allow just the right amount of light and to watch the birds at the feeders by the front window and to observe the coming and going of neighbors, friends, and family. Expressions of gratitude to God and others were many and complaints few. Linda knew the destination, the path, and, as has always been her practice, she led the way.
Linda and I talked about Scriptures that comforted us and others that had challenged us and guided us in life.
I’m going to read Jesus’ words, from selected verses in John 5 and John 14
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.”
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going……….I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
…….. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves……… If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him…..If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Linda heard Christ’s Words and believed. Jesus had her new home ready and came to take her there.
I will close with a poem for this season that reminds me very much of Linda. Its title is “When Giving Is All We Have” by Albert Rios.
One river gives
Its journey to the next.
We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green.
You gave me
What you did not have,
And I gave you
What I had to give—
Together, we made
Something greater from the difference.
Let us pray:
Gracious and loving God, we don’t understand why physical bodies must die as they do, for there were those, like Enoch and Elijah, who were taken up without death. But we know that Christ chose death and that he rose to new life. And you have told us that because of that we who believe in your Son Jesus Christ, like Linda, will also rise to new life. We, like Linda, receive and trust your promise. As she has followed Christ in death and new life, we will obey your Word and follow also,
in Christ’s name,
Obituary of Linda S. Vickers. (by CBByrd)
Linda Stewart Vickers, age 73, a long-time resident of Bay County known by many for her service as a volunteer, died peacefully at her home among loving friends and family on November 6, 2023.
Linda was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 10, 1950, to Milton and Audrey Stewart.
She attended high school at Southeast High School in Brandenton, Florida, where she enjoyed traveling and playing clarinet in the marching band. She further cultivated her love of traveling in retirement, including with some of those friends from her school years.
Linda retired after 30 years with Bellsouth (AT&T), volunteering and enjoying social activities with the ATT Pioneers, as well. She also worked briefly at Disney World in Orlando, achieving what friends called a lifelong, if somewhat whimsical goal, that reflected her love of life and sprit of fun, before beginning a second career as a ticket agent with Southwest Airlines. Linda made friends from all over the world through her gregarious sense of adventure and curiosity about the world. She has numerous photo albums of the many global destinations of trips that she researched and organized and of the friends and family who accompanied her.
Linda is survived by two sons, Terry Tarr of Ellijay, Georgia and Eric Dean Vickers of Panama City, Florida. She leaves behind two granddaughters, Audrey and Alyssa Vickers of Pensacola, Florida, with whom she enjoyed many happy times.
She was a member of Lynn Haven Methodist Church, was active in the adult Sunday School class , and served faithfully as a devoted volunteer as a greeter, a servant in many mission and ministry events, and an attentive friend to many. Linda and a close group of friends volunteered annually for sixteen years in the hospitality tent during the weeklong Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival, where they enjoyed their designation as “Rainbow Ryders!” She also was a devoted annual volunteer for Wreaths Across America and Habitat for Humanity
In addition to her passion for volunteering and travel, Linda was known for her creativity and ability to initiate a celebration on a minute’s notice.
Linda will be lovingly remembered for her smiles, hugs, and hospitality in her home, at church, and throughout the community.
The service for the celebration of Linda’s life will be Monday, November 13th, at 11:00 a.m. at Lynn Haven Methodist Church, 3203 Minnesota Ave. in Panama City, FL. 32405.
In lieu of flowers, Linda’s family and friends invite memorial gifts on behalf of Linda S. Vickers to the Good Samaritan Fund of Lynn Haven Methodist Church for use in Bay County local missions and benevolence assistance to the community.