|0 love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in rhine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
These beautiful and inspiring words were chosen by Lawrence to express his faith at the celebration of his entry into the Church Universal. The service, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, expressed the love and appreciation of the congregation of Milwood United Methodist Church where be last taught and on occasion, preached.
Lawrence, known to many as Buddy, was born in Shreveport to loving Methodist parents, Lawrence and Josie Gilbert. He was nurtured in the Cedar Grove Church and was a leader of youth activities. Following his earning a B.A. at Centenary College and a B.D. from Perkins School of Theology, Lawrence came into full connection in the Louisiana Conference in 1957. He served as Associate Minister at Noel UMC, as Conference Youth Director, Methodist Chaplain at USL, and as pastor at Blanchard, Raymond, and Lake Arthur.
Although he retired from the full-time ministry in Louisiana at an early age, he continued to love and serve the church in various locations, leaving dear friends and colleagues in each place. His final service was rendered in the Milwood Church whose senior minister, Dr. James Morgan, remembered Lawrence with these words:
“Lawrence gave our congregation the full measure of his devotion and a good portion of his time. He taught classes, led work areas, participated in fellowship groups, and on occasion would assist in worship. He was particularly fond of assisting with Holy Communion. We introduced him to the liturgy and made a “High Church Methodist” out of a Louisiana Preacher. He loved the alb and vestments we provided for him. It was in those sacred moments that he felt himself at peace with his calling, at home with a congregation, and in fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord. When illness curtailed his activity, our congregation deeply lamented the loss of his fellowship and friendship. He was a beloved friend in Christ, a hard worker, and a gentle man of warm faith. We still miss him greatly.”
As Lawrence now dwells in wholeness and true community, he is deeply missed by two sons; Mark, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, and Daniel, daughter-in-law, Mary, and grandson, Dominic of South Bend, Indiana.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1996, p. 266|