Bill Pennington is the father of our controller, Dave Pennington. He (Bill) passed away a couple of weeks ago. Last Saturday I went to his memorial service at one of our key AMF churches. It was fairly typical of a memorial service, with singing, hymns, Scripture, and a message. All were done really well, but what was amazing was what happened with the grandkids.
You see, Bill Pennington had a Bible, and in the Bible he had underlined or circled or highlighted a series of verses, and they all had the common theme of contentment. He preached a sermon at his own memorial service through the reading of Scripture by his grandkids. David asked each of the grandkids, and I think there were fifteen of them, to read all or part of a passage their grandpa had circled in the Bible. There was something very powerful about this group of young people reading Scripture marked by their grandpa about where he is and the contentment that he had in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think the Pennington family is onto something. I think they’ve learned the power of learning from each generation. Last Sunday night we went to church with the Penningtons, and I learned that for two weeks every year the entire extended family gets together in a big house on the New Jersey shore just to be together. They swim together, they eat together, they play games together, and they interact with each other for two weeks, and so the relationships among cousins and nephews and aunts and uncles and grandparents are cemented by spending time together.
Many of us have lost that. Many of us have lost the fact that we can pass on not only our family heritage but the values of our family and the teachings of our family as the generations interact with each other.
Bill Pennington preached probably the greatest sermon of his life as his grandkids spoke and read the Scriptures that were important to him. It was a good service, and Bill Pennington must have been a good man because his grandkids obviously have learned a great deal from him.