Services held for Brandon Brown

September 25, 2012

Categories: General News

Members of the Tabor College community – students, faculty, staff and residents of Hillsboro – gathered today at the Hillsboro MB Church to celebrate the life of Brandon Brown and mourn his passing. Brown, a junior at Tabor College and a member of the football team who is originally from Sacramento, transferred to the school this past year.

Dr. Jules Glanzer, president of Tabor College, opened the memorial service and recognized the grief, sadness and the sense of loss and frustration that the community is experiencing as they pass through this difficult time. He referenced I Corinthians 15:55-56, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Glanzer noted that even though we are hurting and the pain is real, we should know that we follow a caring and compassionate God. “God understands. He too had a son and lost him to death,” Glanzer said.

Dr. Aleen Ratzlaff, professor of communication and Brown’s academic adviser shared some of what she knew and loved about the recent transfer. “Brandon loved family – they meant a great deal to him,” Ratzlaff said. “He clearly understood that the reason he was at Tabor College was to earn a degree, and he was making academics a priority.”

During the service, students laughed, cried and sang as they worshiped and reflected on the life of their fellow student. Tabor College student, Josh Murphy composed and performed a song in tribute to Brown that was played during a slide show that was prepared by three fellow football teammates.

Rusty Allen, vice president for athletics and enrollment management gave the message for the service. He spoke about the impact of Brandon on the campus community – including the fact that Coach Gardner was pleased with his contribution to the team. Allen also shared that Brown did not play organized football until junior college, so he was a relative newcomer to the game, but had great defensive skills none-the-less.

He recognized the difficult time, but through the process, God has a plan, referencing Isaiah 61:1-3.

“I believe God is ready to trade beauty for our ashes. Oh, I am not saying that the grief and mourning will be forgotten or that they do not remain a healthy part of the process we are going through. But what I am saying is God can, in a flash, replace beauty for our ashes, joy for our mourning and praise for our despair,” Allen said.

He questioned if that out of this sorrow and sadness of this event, some good could arise.

“What if Brandon’s tragedy moves us to following Christ more intentionally so that our world becomes more like God intended it?” Allen asked. He also posed the question of salvation, and asked those who have not yet committed their lives to Christ to consider.

“Is Jesus knocking on the door of your heart right now? Have you ever accepted the offer of the good news for salvation? It is this simple – believe that according to the scriptures Jesus died for your sins, that he was buried and that after 3 days in the grave he rose to new and eternal life. If you believe that then right now in the quiet of your own mind confess it to God,” Allen said. “All it takes is this prayer. ‘Lord Jesus I have sinned and fall short. You say you are the only way to Heaven. I believe that you died for me, that you were buried and that you are now alive. I accept your gift of salvation and ask you to be the Lord of my life.’”

Classes on campus were cancelled following the service to allow the community a chance to fellowship together.