Spirit of Life Bible Church Pastor Frank Sanders, Jr. passed away on Feb. 17, 2012, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. I bid farewell to him this past weekend. What an amazing homegoing celebration I witnessed for Pastor Frank.
The visitation took place on Friday, Feb. 24, from 4-8 pm at Spirit of Life Bible Church. I went after work at 5 pm and was surprised to find so many people waiting in line. It took me one hour to go through the line. The visitation was extended for more than an hour.
I know all the church members from SOL, but over 90% of the people who came to the visitation were not church members, so I didn’t know the people who stood in line in front of or behind me. But we all had one thing in common. We were there to pay respect to the man whose life had impacted us one way or another.
The homegoing celebration was held on Saturday at 10 am at Apostolic Bible Institute. Over 1000 people attended the service. The auditorium was full. People from all walks of life came to celebrate and remember Pastor Frank. Among them were his childhood friends, his former Sunday school students, his hockey friends, his Olympic hockey team members, his former coworkers at AmeriPride, his church family from SOL and his extended family with three children and 10 grand kids, brothers and sisters and lots of relatives.
Pastor Frank’s children and friends shared memories and tributes that brought tears and laughter to the audience. His children and SOL worship team also shared several songs that were Pastor Frank’s favorites.
I have been to a few funeral/memorial services in the last few years, but I have never seen so many people at once. The fact that so many people came to his visitation and homegoing celebration speaks volumes for what a great man Pastor Frank was.
What impressed me the most was to see a couple of his friends back again after their last visits not long ago. Pastor James Larson from the Anchor Church in San Diego preached at SOL about a month ago. Pastor Al Gossan Jr. from Holland, Michigan visited SOL three weeks ago. Now they came again for the final farewell. What wonderful friends Pastor Frank had! These are only two I knew. I am sure there are some others I don’t know.
Pastor Frank passed away at the young age of 62. But he had lived a great life and had a great impacted on many people. He touched many lives he came in contact with while he was alive, now he continues to touch people in his death.