By Laura Ginyard
Beulah Grant Ministries Coordinator, Patterson Federated Church
Laurence Kolding (at left), one of the eldest members of our church – and our gifted church Poet Laureate – turned 100 years old on April 7. Laurence began attending Patterson Federated Church at the age of 17, when his high school principal instructed him sternly to “come to church and sing in the choir.”
That was in 1936. Ever since, Laurence has contributed greatly to our church in so many ways, from his participation in the church choir, to the contributions of his powerful poetry throughout the years, to his current attendance in our weekly Bible study group every Sunday, and much more.
During the month of April, there were several big celebrations for Laurence’s 100th birthday. The Patterson Lion’s Club hosted a dinner in his honor; his large family reserved space on the WWII ship, The Queen Mary, in Long Beach, to lovingly celebrate his centennial birthday; and Patterson Federated Church held a big “bash” for him.
At the church celebration,nearly 100 people were in attendance to honor Laurence. Several folks spoke to the group about Laurence’s influence in their lives, while others read some of his poetry. Everyone enjoyed a delicious catered meal and celebrated with two delicious birthday cakes. Laurence’s family contributed greatly in many ways to this celebration, and we thank his family very much! In honor of Laurence, it seems fitting to include one of his insightful poems. As Laurence would say, “Enjoy”:
“Some Will Say I’m Lucky”
By Laurence Kolding
God has been so good to me, through all my many years
He’s given me the love I need, he’s even quelled my fears.
He’s been the wisdom that I need with problems that I face:
Some will say I’m lucky, but I call it Grace.
Death has been so close to me, so many, many times
I know that God was there with me, the power wasn’t mine.
I never knew why I was saved, I still don’t know today:
Some have said you’re lucky, but I call it Grace.
Grace is never understood when ego’s in the way –
We Christians should be listening to the stories Jesus gave.
Jesus is my way of life, he’ll never let me fall,
If I should stumble he’ll be there, I only have to call.
He is my strength, my company at any time or place:
Some will say I’m lucky, I call it Grace.