Glorious homegoing for Grace L. Jones

Linda Armstrong | 10/25/2018, 12:29 p.m.
When a person passes away and a memorial service is held, it is a chance for us to celebrate that ...

When a person passes away and a memorial service is held, it is a chance for us to celebrate that person’s life. It is a chance for us to acknowledge the contributions that the person made to us personally, to the family, to friends and to whichever groups the person’s life was devoted to.

This acknowledgement was beautifully accomplished Saturday morning, Oct. 13, as family, friends, fellow church members and a large part of the Black theater community gathered in Abyssinian Baptist Church for the memorial homegoing services for Grace L. Jones, who died at the age of 90 Aug. 26. Ms. Grace was someone who touched the lives of so many people in so many different ways. “If I can help someone along the way, then my living will not be in vain.” Those words from the gospel song are what would so beautifully describe the life of this sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and constant supporter of so many people’s lives.

As people gathered at Abyssinian in the main sanctuary, there was a positive, loving energy in the air. In front, a gorgeous enlarged photo of Ms. Grace was positioned in the center, next to an enormous bouquet of red roses. The photo of Ms. Grace dressed completely in white, including a white hat and suit, showcased her well-known and beloved smiled. Before the service videos were played of Ms. Grace having a good time at various functions.

As people took their seats, the McDonald’s Gospel Super Choir, conducted by A. Curtis Farrow, blessed the audience with some of the loveliest selections. “Soon and Very Soon” was followed by “To God Be the Glory.” A soloist performed and my eyes flooded with tears. Then he was accompanied by the choir. The song “Stand” made our spirits soar. “The Source of My Strength” lifted the church to Heaven with Ms. Grace. What power! I had chills. Then the choir performed “Every Praise Is to Our God.”

Family and the church pastors walked in while “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” played. The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III welcomed everyone, and the choir blessed us with “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Ms. Grace’s sister, Joyce McPherson, and her nephew, Robert Jordan, both read scriptures and spoke of their love for Ms. Grace. McPherson thanked God for the time she had with her sister. A Prayer of Comfort was delivered by an Abyssinian pastor. Virginia A. Woodruff sang from her heart for this lady, who had obviously touched her life, as she movingly performed “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

Ms. Grace had been a member of Abyssinian Baptist Church for 75 years, attending from the age of 9, and during her decades there, she had been part of many groups. And all those groups offered up resolutions recognizing the importance of this lady’s role. She was acknowledged by the True Spirit Usher Board, Abyssinian Baptist Church Missionary Ministry, Sunday Church School, Mattie Fletcher Powell Satellite/Laura B. Thomas Ministry, New York Club of the National Association of Negro Women Clubs Incorporated and the Deacon Board.