In Memory of Rev. Gene Copenhaver
In August of this year, the Reverend W. Eugene Copenhaver died after decades of service and love. This past Sunday, during an All Saints liturgy at University Lutheran Church in Clemson, SC, we remembered Gene along with other saints who have joined the church triumphant in the last year. And we’ll continue to pray for Marty and the rest of the family in the days ahead.
We asked one local alumnus, Dan Shonka, to write a few words about Gene's legacy:
In Reverend Gene Copenhaver’s life of nearly 82 years, the majority serving the ministry, he had a profound effect on God-only-knows how many people. He invested a lifetime of energy feeding and nurturing our souls.
Rev arrived at University Lutheran in Clemson, SC January, 1969 to find about 10 students attending on a regular basis. Rev and Marty did what they felt called to do. They opened up their hearts and home (at that time, a parsonage) to the students. Nourished by their faith and Christian love the group grew. Students knew that with Rev and Marty they had a home away from home. Rev lived his Christian faith in a time of social unrest. (Go take a look at the current events of the time!) During his time with LSM he guided the students through retreats that served as an escape from our dorm rooms and challenged our developing faith. The Wednesday night meetings and Sunday school classes led to discussions that grew our belief systems. Oh, and he was gracious enough to allow us to have our share of fun, too. He led us through service projects like a weekend at Lowman Home. And the sum of all this is that it changed many of our lives. At least 18 of LSM alums from Rev’s tenure answered a call into the ministry. Many took other career paths of servants. Most became dedicated and active church members. And for all of us Rev was our lifelong friend, our brother in Christ. We can all be grateful for having Rev being such an important part of our lives.
- Dan Shonka
Thank you, Gene, for all that you have done to love the people of this community, and for your service in the church and in the world. God bless you, Marty, and your family. And blessings to the alumni and current students of this LSM/LCM ministry who are grateful to know that they are surrounded by the grace of God and one another.