Dorsey, Henry Whalen


When we come to honor the memory of Henry Dorsey, our thoughts turn first to the church. Some of us joined a church; others of us became members of the church; Henry Dorsey belonged to Rayne Memorial from the day he professed his faith on April 16,1933. He was part of us. He belonged to us and we belonged to him. The connection was more binding and more reassuring than ordinary expression can convey.
For many persons Henry has represented Rayne Church as long as their memories allow them to reach. He was the Sunday School; he was the leader--and no one who ever came under his influence forgot what it was like to know the honor and dignity that he attached to being a lay person for the church, to the place where he belonged. He became, in his later years, a lay minister in the United Methodist Church, but that only made official what he had always been--a called person in witness to God.
It is also appropriate to mention that in his last years he was on the staff of Rayne Memorial Church as a liaison to the community. His service in the interest of the indigent community gave direction and purpose to Rayne’s mission that is still functioning on the foundation he laid. When he was no longer physically able to come to the office, he found a new role for himself in a telephone ministry to the home bound and inactive constituents of Rayne. He belonged to Rayne--and whenever we gather to worship and work, the memory of his high purpose and deep commitment will remind us of what we can be and do.
His service to community agencies is well known--his love for all God’s living creatures extended to the animal world, certainly. We can say honestly that if a dog is man’s best friend, there can be no doubt whatsoever that Henry was the dog’s best friend. And we like to think that his dogs gave him a special joy in his declining years.
Henry’s patient endurance of life’s adversities overwhelms us when we remember his problems. Sometimes we laughed at what he did and didn’t hear. Sometimes we cried for what he did and didn’t see. At times we remembered his loneliness and his pain that he lost in working with others and we thought long and deep thoughts about our own complaints. Because of what Henry was--human and flawed--and loving and honorable—patient and abrupt--tender and irascible--and because all these traits were ordered in his life by his love for Jesus Christ, we can best honor him today by ordering our lives by his criteria. Do you remember what Hamlet said of his father’s life in its entirety?

Take him for all and all, there was a man
We shall not see his like again. .

Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1992, p. 218 By Clyde C. Frazier, Jr.

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