A report on the Memorial service of
On Saturday October 18, AD 2003, over 450 people gathered in the Morisset Baptist church premises between 2.00 and 4.00 pm, to celebrate the life and legacy of a dear friend - Rev. MA Butler who was called home to glory on Sunday October 12.
On that sunny afternoon,friends and family from the surrounding districts of Lake Macquarie , joined hundreds of other grieving friends who came from all over New South Wales , as well as from Victoria , Queensland,South Australia and as far as America .
The church auditorium was filled to capacity. It was standing room only and not an empty chair in sight. Additional seats were quickly arranged in the adjoining hall and many watched the service via a closed circuit TV.
The mood was sombre and most were still in shock, but there was an air of expectancy.
Harry Bollback -Co founder of Word of Life USA and John Ecob - the editor of the Herald of Hope magazine conducted the service.
In his opening prayer, John dedicated the service to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and gave thanks for the life & legacy Of MA. Butler.
Bro. Bollback then led the congregation with "Jesus Is Coming Again"- the first of three grand hymns ,purposefully chosen by the family and perfectly fitting for the occasion.
Faith and I were privileged to present a special musical item . She read the comforting passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and I sang "He's Home At Last"- a poem written by Avis B.Christiansen which I put to music.
After the congregation sang "At The Name Of Jesus" - another favourite of MA's, Bro. Ecob brought the first message of the day. In his usual passionate manner, John heralded the blessed hope and highlighted two of MA's favourite Bible texts:
He concluded his words of comfort by referring to the large number of emails which he had received from friends of MA .Due to time restriction he was able to read just a couple of them.
As the service progressed , and the saints lifted their united voice and sang the sweet old hymns, sorrow was turning to hope and sadness to joy.
The second message was brought by Harry Bollback ,who in 1983 was the one who actually asked MA to consider coming to Australia and become the Australian director of Word of Life ,which MA accepted and the rest is Australian History.
In his exposition of Philippians 2:16 "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain",Bro. Bollback ,in his usual joyous manner, reminded the congregation of:
He then concluded his exhortation with an invitation to receive Christ as Saviour and a dedication to HIS service.Many stood to their feet in response.
The congregation rose for the final time to sing the third hymn "How Great Thou Art" after which the Butler children shared with the audience a prepared 13 mins power point presentation on the big screen .The compilation of picrures which they put together from the family photo album featured their dad's smiling face. The funny moments brought back fond memories .Many tears were shed. Once again MA's love of people and for people espcially that of his family and friends was loud and clear.
In the concluding response , Bob Butler, speaking first on behalf of the family, expressed his sincere thanks to God and to everyone present.He also challenged us all to live for the Lord just like his father did .
Then Rob, MA'S eldest son got up, and in his usual gentle manner, he toothanked the congregation for their prayers ,presence and participation. In his final remarks he exhorted everyone to be faithful for the Lord.
Finally in the open sharing time, Rev.Dan Keegan ,current Director of Word Of Life Australia, paid tribute to MA. Pastor John Green ,Peter Jackson -President of the Herald of Hope, plus many more walked up to the micophone stand and shared from their heart of the lasting impact that MA had on their lives.
At 4 .00 pm as Harry Bollback thanked everyone for coming and closed the service with prayer,Kay , Brenda & Russ, Rob & Ada,Marge & Tim, Bob and Josh led the congregation out of the building .
Afterwards we drove to Camp Brightwaters for a delicious afternoon tea, prepared by Mrs Sally Warren and the dear congregation of Westlakes Baptist Church.
In short, the Saviour was glorified, the saints were edified and this is exactly how MA would've wanted to be.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.(1 Timothy 1:17)
With the love of Christ
Pastor - Inner West Baptist Church
P.S -For those who wish to write to Mrs Kay Butler, her mailing address is :2 Grant st Windermere Park NSW 2264. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org