School Shows Support During Cancer Battle
Even though it’s Catherine Carr’s second year teaching fifth and sixth grade at Zion Lutheran School, she’s been impacted for a lifetime.
That’s because Zion Lutheran Church and School have provided incredible support while her husband, Reverend Timothy Carr, battled stage four cancer. He passed away on December 21, 2015 with his wife at his side.
Even though the Carrs were new to Zion, the family has deep roots in the Lutheran community. Reverend Carr was a retired pastor who served in churches in Texas, Ohio, Arizona, California, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, while Catherine taught in Lutheran schools in California, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio.
After he was diagnosed in 2013, the Carrs decided to move back to Northeast Indiana to live closer to family. They moved in with their daughter and son-in-law, who was studying at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, while Catherine was hired to teach at Zion Lutheran School in Decatur. Timothy’s cancer forced him to retire from full-time ministry.
“I always said that Tim did the work of three people. Even sick, he still worked more than most people I know,” Catherine explains. “He resigned his call at his last church so that he could continue the fight against the cancer.”
But after moving to Indiana, a new opportunity opened up for him. Zion experienced a pastoral vacancy and the retired pastor felt good enough to volunteer at the church until the position could be filled.
“Leaving the full-time ministry was very difficult for Timothy,” Catherine says. “This was a wonderful way to serve the Lord and help a congregation. We were still able to work together. It is amazing how God helped us though all of this.
As Catherine and Timothy served the Zion community, they had no idea how the same community would provide the help they needed through their hardest year yet.
First, the Zion community pulled together a secret fundraiser that would help the family offset some of their medical expenses. By raising funds without the Carr’s knowledge, the school and church were able to give the family a big surprise.
“We were handed a check from the fundraiser. We didn’t know anything about it,” Catherine says. “They are an amazing congregation. Everyone has rallied around and pulled for our support.”
In October, the school secretary thought of another ideaâ€”let students at Zion make cards for the Carrs, a project impleented by the art teacher. Even their needs at home were met, with the Zion community providing three meals a week. For the families at Zion Lutheran, this was a way to reach out and show how a caring community can rally together through difficult circumstances.
Because he had to
uched so many lives, the funeral was filled with people from Zion and the community, including 30 Lutheran pastors and three dogs from the Comfort Dog Ministry, an organization that Reverend Carr supported. Mrs. Carr described it as a wonderful outpouring.
As she talked with people at the funeral, she was reminded of her husband’s instructions for the visitation.
“My husband was a hugger. He told me before he died, â€˜You have to hug everybody.’ He made everyone feel important.”
Not only will Zion Lutheran miss Reverend Carr’s hugs, but his impact on the community will not be forgotten either.
“We loved all of our churches, but Zion has touched our lives in a very special way,” Catherine says. “It’s been a tremendous blessing.”