Thursday, April 1, 2010

RIP Pastor Lester Stone Dies at 58

Pastor Stone has worked with the clinics at Cooley Law School for a couple of years. I have met with him many times including last Thursday when he appeared very well. Last Thursday he was his usual self a strong advocate for his people and parishioners and a man with a great sense of humor. As an Episcopalian I have a lot of sympathy for the struggles he had gone through in his parish. He seemed to me to be an very honorable man who will be missed by many.

Rev. Lester Stone, 2002.

LANSING - The Rev. Lester Stone, a fierce advocate for civil rights and pastor of Lansing's Friendship Baptist Church, died Wednesday.

Stone, 58, was pastor of Friendship Baptist since 1982.

His death was a shock, said Michael McFadden, a member of the church's trustee board.

"It's not real," he said. He recalled Stone as intelligent, dedicated and a gifted speaker.

"He had a good sense of humor," McFadden said. "He was a very kind, loving man. Not that he wasn't stubborn. What strong-willed individual isn't stubborn?"

Stone was a founding member of the Black Pastor's Conference and active in the movement to rename Logan Street as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

"His legacy is his belief in fairness, his civil rights advocacy," said Barbara Roberts Mason, founder of the Black Child and Family Institute. "When there was an issue that he thought negatively impacted African Americans - or any other group of people for that matter - he was outspoken on that issue."

She recalled Stone as an outstanding orator.

"He was also an excellent, excellent preacher of the word, and sometimes I would listen to his sermons on the radio before going to my church," said Mason, who attends Trinity AME Church.

Funeral arrangements are pending, said Clyde Carnegie, associate pastor. Scheduled Holy Week services will proceed, including a communion service at 7 p.m. today, a noon Good Friday service and services at 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday.

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