Last night, during heart surgery, Margaret Loehlin Shafer passed into God’s eternal care.
Margaret was a member of this church since 1988. She was a member of the staff from 1991 to 2004, serving first in Christian education and ultimately as the Associate for Outreach. During that time Margaret was a tireless advocate for God’s most needy children. She was a creative, vital and joyful director of our homeless ministries. She was a central figure in advocating against New York City policies that prohibited homeless people from sleeping on our steps. She was a good friend and wise counselor to many.
We will miss Margaret dearly.
If you did know Margaret, no doubt this somber moment is bringing some stories to mind. I am inviting anyone who would like to share a Margaret story to post it here. Let us comfort each other with memories of her life-giving presence. In case you didn’t know Margaret, here is a link to a story from the 2001 New York Times that describes her force-of-nature character and sketches an aspect of her ministry at FAPC.
This morning I spoke with Margaret’s beloved husband, Dr. Byron Shafer. Byron is deeply, deeply saddened by Margaret’s loss. He takes comfort in God’s promise of eternal life, and trusts that our Lord holds Margaret even now. Byron had this to say about his bride of 51 years:
Quite simply put, Margaret’s was the purest soul I have ever known. She experienced her most profound joy in helping others to become the best persons they could be, including most especially me. Margaret had a deep sense of God’s calling her to do this, and she lived that purpose out to the fullest. In my eyes, and in many others’ as well, she was truly a saint.
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church will hold a Memorial Service for Margaret Shafer on Sunday, September 16 at 2:00 PM. Please join me in praying God’s comfort on Byron and the Shafer’s three children and four grandchildren this day, and in thanking God for the gift of her amazing life.