Thursday, May 29, 2008

REMEMBERING REV. ELDER JERI ANN HARVEY

REMEMBERING JERI ANN
MCC OBITUARY
The Rev. Elder Jeri Ann Harvey
MCC Leader and Pioneer
1934 - 2008
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The Rev. Elder Jeri Ann Harvey


REMARKS BY
The Rev. Nancy L. Wilson
Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

May 28, 2008

There was never any mistaking that voice, or the Bible raised high above her head, or the joy, passion and energy of her preaching – sometimes with such intensity that perspiration would roll down her face and arms. Hers was the kind of soul-searing conviction that brings you right up out of your seat – it could also be the sweet, gentle story that soothed and comforted. There was that hearty, unmistakable laughter. And the way she said "Jesus."

Rev. Elder Jeri Ann Harvey was many things to many people – Pastor, Healer, Friend, Sister, Lover, Mother, Elder. She defined "butch" for many in her generation. She broke down barriers of gender and race. She was the first woman pastor of MCC Los Angeles; she was the first Native American MCC Elder.

Her prayers were "effectual" in a deep, Biblical way. In a more frail state, more recently at the General Conference in Calgary in 2005, 500 people crammed into an upper room, and even when you could not hear her weak voice that night, you could feel her presence, the healing presence of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. To be around her was to expect miracles, and to receive them. Even her presence was healing.

I have so many memories of Jeri Ann - serving with her on the Board of Elders, hearing her preach and pray, laughing with her late at night after a long meeting.

Jeri Ann loved. She loved women and men; she loved kids and puppies. She loved the freedom and the power of the Gospel of Jesus that she shared on so many continents through MCC. She loved good music, religious music. She loved a good story. She loved our MCC churches, members and pastors, in small or larger churches. She prayed with them, wept with them. She traveled all over the world; she wore herself out sometimes. She gave until it hurt, many times.

Her life and ministry became our history.

She confronted the Ku Klux Klan in Texas.

She battled for civil rights in California.

And like so many of us in the 80's and 90's she did too many funerals. She buried too many friends -- from HIV/AIDS, from breast cancer, from all the things that take too many too soon.

Jeri Ann Harvey preached hope and she lived hope. She endured a lot; she suffered and struggled a lot. Through it all, she was a fighter and a lover and an icon for many.

She loved Rev. Elder Gillian Storey, and was full of romance and playful friendship, right up to the end. We thank you, Gill, for loving and caring for Jeri Ann with joy and faithfulness.

May her memory be a blessing for all. May perpetual light shine upon her. May all that she was and offered be remembered and bear much fruit, in Jesus' name.

Grace and peace,

+Nancy

The Rev. Nancy L. Wilson
Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches


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REMARKS
by The Rev. Dr. Troy D. Perry
MCC Founder and Moderator Emeritus

The young woman literally pushed her way between us.

It was MCC's 1974 General Conference in San Francisco; I was talking with an MCCer when the young woman stepped in between us, flashed a smile, and said, "Let a real butch belly up to the bar."

That's how I first met Jeri Ann Harvey – and she's been making an impression on me, and thousands of others, ever since.

From that first moment, I felt a deep connection with Jeri Ann. We soon became colleagues; we quickly became the best of friends.

I am saddened that I will not see Jeri Ann again in this life, but there is a reunion that is yet to come in which we will again be reunited.

I know today that Jeri Ann Harvey rests in the arms of a loving God and that she will be there to greet us again some day, just inside the Eastern Gate.

In Christ,

The Rev. Troy D. Perry
Founder and Moderator Emeritus
Metropolitan Community Churches
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5 comments:

Jeanie said...

I have the most wonderful memories of Jeri Ann Harvey. Our musical group often accompanied her at many MCC revivals throughout the country years ago. She blessed my puppy on one of these trips to Norfolk, VA. On a trip to Charlotte MCC we had car trouble. We called to tell her we didn't think we could make it. "Get in the car!" she said. "I'm going to pray you down here." We made it in plenty of time to do the service. There are so many more stories like these and I am so grateful that I have them.

God bless you Jeri Ann Harvey. You reached those who professed to be unreachable. And you kicked ass while doing it.

Jeanie Broderick

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much for sharing that memory, Jeanie. From all I've heard of her, she was a deeply spiritual and heroic woman of faith and a first rate human being.

Anonymous said...

Jeri Ann was definitely "one of a kind". Her powerful anointing was undeniable and she was full of God's wisdom. I haven't seen in her in many years but think of her often. I have often used one of her quips [always giving her credit] "get over your cheap selves". I am now reminded of the song "Sheltered in the Arms of God" and know beyond any doubt that she is there right now.

God bless you, Jeri Ann!
Rev. Michael David-Ray
Kansas City

Jerry Maneker said...

Thank you so much, Michael, for this beautiful memory. As we both know, she wouldn't change places with us for all the money in the world! Her many struggles are now over, and she's now finally at peace and, as you remind us, "Sheltered in the Arms of God." And she's left us a most precious legacy!

Unknown said...

It's been a long time since I visited this page but I was asked to write a little history on my experience at MCCDC for their 45th anniversary. For me it can't be done without mentioning The Rev Elder Jeri Ann Harvey.
Jeanie Broderick