I was honored to be a part of Glen’s homegoing service this weekend. It was the shortest 3 hour service I have ever been a part of. It was held in the gym at Cirle, the very place I met Glen in 1989. So many people from so many different phases of Glen’s life spoke, it was beautiful. Here is my 3 min part of the service:
You could say that Glen Kehrein’s life and mine first intersected when I was one. Or about that. It was about that time that Glen moved from a northern Midwestern state to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute and to study Bible and Theology (a path I would repeat several decades later) and there he began to volunteer at Mr. Dillon’s Sunshine Gospel Mission on Clark street (the organization I have now been the director of for the past decade). Glen “got is call” at Sunshine he used to tell me.
In 2001 when I became the director of Sunshine we were starting over – I met with Glen to get advice on how to handle a 99 year old start up ministry. A new neighborhood (Cabrini was about to be no more) new staff, new philosophy, new board, new programs. . the whole 9.
We met with many people and ministries but ultimately decided that the manner of life and ministry forged here at Circle through Glen, Lonnie an their community here in Austin would be our future. Different neighborhood. . . same program.
We moved to Woodlawn and set up on 61st street. . . to become like you all.
Little did I know that Glen would not only continue to serve as mentor, but in the past several years he would become much closer as a friend. We’ve been in a weekly bible study together for the better part of the past 5 years. Our families also grew closer as Paula and Lonni got to know one another and our youngest kids did too.
The more I got to know Glen the more I appreciated him. Self servingly, it was because he and I were a lot alike. Much about our sensibilities, love of history, struggle to comprehend the injustices of our communities, desire to listen, and to serve. Our sense of joy to be a part of what God was doing here, abandoning the false hope of the suburbs. . . finding the power of the gospel so alive through an inner-city African American community. . . Glen would say that in a real way he was redeemed through this community. I echo that too.
Glen’s legacy – a legacy of proclaiming and embodying the Kingdom — lives on in my life and in countless others. It lives on not only at Circle and Rock and the Fellowship, but at Sunshine and many other ministries.
And one other thing. I’m taking over one aspect of his life. The book recommendation thing. Have you read the New Jim Crow? Have you read Family Properties? Have you read the biography of Booker T? get those on your list and next time we talk I’ll let you know what’s next, on Glen’s behalf.