Kevin Kelley finally went home this past Wednesday.
Kevin had been raised in the Catholic faith and he lived out the values imparted by the Jesuit education he received at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, followed by college at the College of the Holy Cross.
Kevin and his wife (Lyn) found their way to our church after adopting their sons from Eastern Europe. They had been very involved in their local parish prior to the adoptions, but their church didn’t have the supports in place to enable them to attend Mass as a couple. Thanks to our church’s special needs ministry, they were able to continue their practice of worshiping together.
Kevin joined our ministry Board shortly after our inception. While serving on our Board, Kevin was actively involved in establishing a dialogue between Key and our local Catholic diocese so that other families wouldn’t be faced with the difficult choice that he and his wife experienced.
I associate two things with Kevin that were foundational to our ministry. One is the appreciation he brought us for the challenges adoptive parents face in staying involved with the church when their children experience emotional, behavioral or developmental challenges that make church attendance difficult. The other is the idea that every church should be prepared to welcome families of kids with “hidden disabilities.” While our church was fortunate to have Kevin for two decades, he and his wife shouldn’t have had to leave the church they were part of for many years to find a place where they could worship together as a family.
Kevin had retired after serving nearly 25 years as an insurance executive. He faithfully served as the greeter at the main entrance to our church’s 9:00 AM contemporary worship, and his family is a regular fixture near the front of the church on the right hand side. Late this summer, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and was conspicuously absent from his post at church throughout the fall as he experienced an especially rapid progression of his illness. He had an opportunity to meet Jesus face to face this past Wednesday.
The faithfulness that Kevin and his wife demonstrated in seeking to maintain the family’s practice of worshiping together following the adoption of their sons resulted in a significant spiritual legacy. Kevin was an important influence in the early days of our ministry. His wife has served in leadership positions in our church during important times of transition. Their boys grew up in a home where God was honored surrounded by a summertime church family.
On behalf of our entire Key Ministry team, we would like to extend our prayers and condolences to Lyn and their sons, Jordan and Adam, along with our appreciation for Kevin’s service to our ministry.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:21 (ESV)