Saturday, June 9, 2012


Today, Saturday June 9, 2012 in the sanctuary of the Chestnut Ridge Progressive Primitive Baptist Church in Westfield North Carolina an overflow crowd, that filled the sanctuary and spilled out to the foyer, gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Mother Bernice Cox Lowe. Mother Lowe made her transition from earth to glory on Friday June 1, 2012.

Many eulogistic remarks were given by friends and family. The most remarkable eulogistic remarks were delivered by the Elder Doctor Thomas W. Samuels. Samuels is a legendary figure in the Primitive Baptist Church. His life and membership in this denomination spans from birth where he was raised in a Primitive Baptist parsonage in Miami Florida. His pastoral career spanned almost five decades when he retired from the Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist in Charlotte North Carolina after leading the church to construct a multimillion house of worship and center for ministry. Doctor Samuel is currently in his last year of serving as President of the North Carolina/Virginia State Convention after being president for thirty five years.   

Doctor Samuel shared with the congregation his relationship with the members of the Cox family for seventy years. Doctor Samuels shared his familiarity with many members of this family throughout his years. He described Mother Lowe as a faithful member of the church. He enumerated her many sacrifices to attend the meetings of the National Convention, in February and August for many years.

Doctor Samuel talked about Mother Lowe commitment to the North Carolina/Virginia State Convention as an officer in the Women's Congress and a stalwart supporter for the expansion of the state headquarters building in East Spencer North Carolina. Doctor Samuel shared Mother's Lowe partnership in prayer with him that God would show favor to the State Convention and cause the building that was completed in 2006 to come to fruition. And as God heard Jabez so He also heard Thomas Samuel and Bernice Lowe.

Doctor Samuel shared with the congregation that Mother Lowe was a consistent and fiery advocate for the rights of women to have a voice in the Primitive Baptist Church a position that was passed on to her from her mother, the venerable Mother Minerva Cox, another giant in the Primitive Baptist Church.    

Doctor Samuels was eloquent in both his remarks and the reading of poetic verses. He received an ovation at his conclusion.

Other highlights at this four hour long celebration was the eulogistic remarks given by Elder James Strickland. Elder Strickland is currently serving as the pastor of the Kings Mountain View Progressive Primitive Baptist Church in his 55th year, one of the longest serving pastors in one church in the Primitive Baptist Church. Elder Strickland, a member of Chestnut Ridge shared his long time relationship with Mother Lowe and her active participation in the Sandy Ridge Progressive Primitive Baptist Association for many decades.

Two eulogistic messages were delivered by Elder Kenneth Smith, the son in law to Mother Lowe and the pastor of the Holly Grove Primitive Baptist Church in Concord North Carolina and Reverend Nelson Staples III, the pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Beckley West Virginia.

Other persons of note in attendance were Elder Henry Wright, the moderator of the Sandy Ridge Progressive Primitive Baptist Association. Deacon John Jessup, the president of the Sandy Ridge Church School Convention. Mother Wyvette Dillard, the president of the Sandy Ridge Women's Congress. Mother Grace Byers, the president of the North Carolina/Virginia States Women Congress. Sister Lula Brown, president of the North Carolina/Virginia State Church School Convention. Elder Harry Love, the moderator of the Southwestern Primitive Baptist Convention. Elder Doctor Larry Tatum, the president of the National Primitive Baptist Church School Congress and pastor of the New Sardis Primitive Baptist Church in Cleveland Ohio, my home church.

Mother Lowe was the last member of her generation. Her legacy lives on in her children, Lashene Lowe, First Lady Jill Smith and Julia Bratton and her grandchildren.

I celebrate Mother Bernice Lowe for her leadership and for her life. She served well as a Wife, Mother, Educator and believer of the Lord Jesus Christ. When God created man and woman He said to them to fill the earth. That meant that within every human being is the innate ability to announce to the earth that I am here and after we have departed this earth our presence will speak about us in the minds and hearts of those who we have impacted and influenced. Such can be said about Mother Bernice Lowe, she filled the earth with her presence and she testified in her words and works about the One that she lived for.

Doctor Samuels said as he closed his remarks, "It's not goodbye but only goodnight." I agree and concur with those same sentiments. Goodnight Mother Lowe.  

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