As I stood at the Black Lives Matter rally on Monday evening, with my friend Chloe, I couldn’t help but think about Rev. Vernice Warfield, and what she might say if she was to address the group gathered.
Rev. Warfield passed away Monday morning.
I had the privilege of meeting Mother Warfield in either late 2008, or early 2009. I had started working as a guest worship-leader at Christ Church Unity (now known as Unity Church of Greater Rochester). I had the joy of having several Sunday afternoon lunches with her, Thomas, his brother Michael, and Michael’s husband, Angel.
She was one of the first women of faith to embrace me, shortly after I started to come out. She knew we are all the children of God, and that was enough for her.
As time moved on, I saw her less and less, as she drove less and it became more difficult for her to leave the house, though Thomas brought her out as often as he could. She attended the very last annual World AIDS Day Concert in December 2016, at the age of 101. Her last words to me, as I embraced her, “God bless you.”
Mother Warfield brought love and peace wherever she was, radiating pure joy.
But for those of us who knew her, her life speaks volumes to us. She rose to meet the challenges that faced the community around her- she changed the world around us all. With the peace of God in her heart, and a message that quietly changed hearts, she was unstoppable.
May we all embody that same peace, presence, spirit, and love.
May God bless you.