Paul Raby passed away June 5th. He and his wife Katherine had no children, but he was there at the birth of ABCCM and adopted us as his own. Paul was a faithful member at Abernethy United Methodist Church and supported our founding leader, Reverend John Christy in making this new concept of equipping church members to be missionaries in their own community by serving one another in the name of Christ.
Paul was unique as one of ABCCM’s founders because he spent his entire retirement years as a volunteer working four hours, once a week on Wednesday afternoon in our Crisis Ministry. He sometimes served with his church on cook teams at both shelters and was a member on the ABCCM Board of Directors several times over the years. Paul had a quiet, soft-spoken way that endeared him to everyone. He also had a dry wit that was disarming. This combination made him very effective in helping people look at a crisis and not only have a greater sense of calm about it, but then to listen to his wisdom, straight out of the Scriptures and the hard knocks of life, to teach others how to better cope and overcome their situation. He invested his life in many people each day and hundreds each year which meant he impacted thousands beyond what we can count. Paul invested in people’s lives and always took on special cases in which he would go the extra mile. He would use ABCCM’s resources to fill the gaps and then quietly be involved in ways to help them build bridges out of poverty and into more stable lives.
At his funeral, Paul was eulogized by Reverend Karen Christy Kurtz, pastor of Montmorenci United Methodist Church and the daughter of ABCCM's founding President, Reverend John Christy. Pastor Karen echoed how he loved ABCCM. She highlighted how he was Cub Scout master for 22 years and held every position in the Methodist Church in support of that congregation. Her fond memories were of him helping their family move into the parsonage, and of giving them coke and chips. This was characteristic of how Paul and his wife, Katherine were invested in the lives of others – especially all the youth. It reminded me of the ten days I spent with Paul when we went to Israel and walked in the footsteps of Jesus and learned about our rich heritage through the Scriptures.
We have already missed Paul being in the Crisis Ministry the last couple of years due to his failing health. He always asked about ABCCM and kept up his faithful support. He also kept current about the progress of Transformation Village because of his love and concern for children at the Steadfast House. His legacy will live on because of his commitment to helping ABCCM grow. He believed in our mission and he supported it through the sacrifice of his time and talents. We honor one of our founding heroes, J. Paul Raby.