On Monday night in Haifa, Dorothy and I awoke to find a large part of ourselves taken away. Learning that a plane carrying Angie and Stuart Kensinger had crashed with no survivors left us stunned. The axis of the earth had suddenly shifted, stealing our dearest friends and robbing the world of two exceptional people.
The lives of the Porters and the Kensingers have long been intertwined. We shared high school and bright college years together; we stood beside each other in marriage and in parenting; we traveled the world as family; and we followed a star first seen long ago over Bethlehem believing the One whom it proclaims invites us to serve the poor, the sick and the dispossessed.
By the light of this star, Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) was born in 2011. Dorothy and I were JPB's first mid-wives in Jerusalem and Vermont, but Angie and Stuart quickly joined us. In the summers they would travel north and stay in a giant camper van in order to work with the teenagers! But they were no second fiddles; the two of them quickly introduced JPB's interfaith peace and leadership programs to Houston and launched vital summer programs at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas.
|The Porters and Kensingers together in France last autumn
Angie and Stuart seemed to see with the Eyes of God - they recognized the best in everyone and the positive potential in every situation. Their love of teenagers led them to mentor dozens and dozens of Jewish, Christian and Muslim JPB teens as well as many others at St. John's School in Houston and elsewhere. And their kindness and generosity were contagious to friends, family and volunteers alike.
When Stuart and I last met during mid-April for a JPB presentation in the Washington area, he spoke about a deeper personal commitment to mentoring and philanthropy. It seemed as if the One proclaimed by the star had graced him with a unlimited reservoir of compassion and love for those less fortunate.
Many friends and JPB supporters have written, expressing their grief and asking how they might give back to honor Stuart and Angie. First, please join me and my family at the memorial service for Stuart and Angie to be held on Wednesday, May 1 at 11:00 am at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston. Second, please pray for their son Philip that he might always be guided by his parents' love. Third, please support JPB's newly established Angela and Stuart Kensinger Scholarship Fund for Girls to participate in our summer leadership and peacebuilding programs.
For those of us who follow a star to Christ Jesus, Easter's promise is ever more dear. Our hearts are broken, and yet we trust that Angie and Stuart now rest in the loving arms of their Savior, awaiting that Great Day when we shall all meet again. Oh, what a great day that will be - to embrace Stuart and Angie again. Until that happy day, dearest brother and sister, à Dieu.
With Love and Respect,