My grandfather’s name was Frank Logan Asbury III. Many of you might have had the privilege to know him during the sixty-plus years that he belonged to Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church. He was the one in the suit on Sunday mornings (in the summer he and Mathew Pinson went toe to toe in their matching seersuckers) who wouldn’t leave the sanctuary after the closing voluntary until he had shaken your hand with vim and vigor (a language man, he loved alliteration) and often exclaimed something like, “Why, Pastor Alice Rogers, as I live and breathe!” even if he’d seen you no less than two days ago.
He loved to communicate and connect with his faith community in a plethora of ways. But apart from his sunny greetings (Carole Adams once described him as “sunny” and oh, it is the perfect word) after worship, you may not have noticed him up front very much. And that’s because he wasn’t in the lectern reading the Gospel lesson or ushering or singing in the choir (but those Fanny Crosby hymns… even Steve Darsey knew they were his favorites). The spotlight wasn’t his place (unless there was a joke to be told - “I absolutely challenge anybody anywhere to be a more masterful joke teller,” Julia Wynne declared at his 85th birthday party).
No, Frank’s place was often behind the scenes, serving the meal at Wednesday Night Supper or helping count offering money and sign checks. With a career in insurance, he was the one to call if a person or church vehicle got scratched up. He served as chair of the congregation’s first Council on Ministries, the Administrative Board and the Board of Trustees. He worked hard to get Safe Sanctuaries training in place at Glenn, and he and my grandmother, Betty Mackay Asbury, chaired the Glenn School kindergarten Board of Directors when their second child Mackay was in the 4-year-old class.
Then there were what Betty calls the “somewhat unconventional ways” that her husband expressed his love for Glenn: He would wash the signposts in front of the Church School Building when wet grass stuck to them after a mowing. He once noticed that the front steps of the parsonage needed scrubbing, so he took his bucket over and set to work. And of course, he loved to joke that his full name was actually Francis Asbury, the famous Methodist circuit rider. (Former pastor Cynthia Vaughan told us, “He was always affectionately known as ‘Francis’ to me!”)
Whether you knew him as Francis or Frank, or simply as a friendly face in worship or at supper, Glenn lost another dedicated servant when he passed away on December 18, 2013 from complications following a stroke. But his legacy of service and friendship endures. And in homage to his desire for our faith family to connect and work together – in and out of the spotlight – all generous gifts that have been given in his memory over these two years will be used to enrich the church’s communications ministry, so that future generations may enjoy a Glenn Church just as strong and devoted as my grandfather left it.
Claire Asbury Lennox