Losing your loved one by the power of death is always characterized by weeping, but the children of Mother Mary E. Thorpe, including Episcopal Bishop and Archbishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Jonathan B.B. Hart, have described her death as “sweet rest.”
In his sermon during funeral service of his mother at Trinity Cathedral last Saturday, Archbishop Hart said, “Today, the family of the late Mary E. Thorpe and the Episcopal Church of Liberia have gathered in this place, the official seat of our Bishop, a son of the deceased, to celebrate the life of a faithful church member, a loving mother, family member, a devoted educator, a fraternal sister and friend.”
According to him, Mrs. Mary E. Thorpe, popularly called ME, spent the greater part of her early life serving as a classroom teacher and school administrator, besides her care for many children.
By her work as a teacher and school administrator, she was embraced as mother by many students.
Furthermore, ME is described as a devout Christian and an active Episcopalian, which she became after marrying Judge Napoleon Thorpe of Crozierville. She hailed from Arthington, the daughter of Senator Smallwood.
“At our home congregation of Christ Episcopal Church in Crozierville she served on the Bishop’s committee for many years, and also in the choir, the Altar Guild, the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) and as Jr. Warden and Parish Treasurer,” Arcbishop Hart added.
Madam Thorpe later served on the Diocesan Standing Committee and for many years, a delegate to the Diocesan Convention and also a deputy at the church’s General Convention. She is recalled to have also served as a member of the Episcopal Church of Liberia (ECL) Companion
Diocese Relations Committee with the Diocese of Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
“Her life was one of worship and service in the church, her family and her nation,” Dr. Hart said.
Mary E. Thorpe was born November 30, 1924 and ended her life’s journey on April 12, 2016 after she had given a full life of service to her God and family.
In a scriptural rhetoric, the Bishop said, “The Prophet Isaiah welcomes the faithful of our Lord to a banquet that will have the best wine and the choicest food. It is a banquet reserved for the end of the lives of God’s chosen; and at that banquet, there will be songs of praise.”
In continuation of the imaginative banquet, he said, the Bible tells believers to be exceedingly happy. Salvation is deliverance from constraints; constraints from sin, death and pain.
Also referencing the prophetic book of Revelation, Arch Bishop Hart said, “Those who have come to the banquet are dressed in white robes; the garments worn by overcoming believers, who wave palm branches as sign of a victory celebration.”
He added that the Lord is the Shepherd who leads the faithful to living fountains of water; and the multitude will dwell in the house of the Lord forever where there will be no thirst, hunger, crying, sorrow and pain in the presence of the Lord.
The archbishop reminded his family members, sympathizers and others that after Jesus announced Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, He told His disciples not to be troubled, but to trust Him.
Christ promised a mansion with many rooms to accommodate His people, assuring that this home is a permanent and secured place.
“Such places have already been set aside for all of God’s children; the eternal dwelling place of God is Heaven,” the archbishop averred.
Though Christians are like Peter who failed Jesus in some things, yet Christ will not fail to return for Peter and for everyone else who believes in Him.
“Our mother was a woman of great faith in God. She always prayed for her children and for those who came close to her.”
The archbishop concluded his sermon by recalling the encouraging words his mother always shared with them: “Pray always. Send your prayers up to the Old Man and He will send down His blessings upon you.”
Hundreds turned out to pay their last respects to the fallen Mother Thorpe. The sympathizers included colorfully robed members of the Order of Eastern Star, of which Mother Thorpe was a lifelong member. The Eastern Star sisters and brothers and many others followed the cortege to the Thorpe Cemetery in Crozierville, where she was laid to rest beside her beloved husband, Traffic Judge Napoleon Thorpe.
Mrs. Thorpe’s children, most of whom live in the United States, flew in for the funeral.
On the day following the funeral, the whole family returned to Crozierville to join other worshippers at the mother church, Christ Episcopal, where all the Thorpe children were baptized when they were very young. Their brother, Archbishop Jonathan B.B. Hart, also preached Sunday’s sermon.
The service was followed by a sumptuous lunch in the Crozierville Town Hall, where Thorpe family members and others were welcomed by a brother of the Thorpes, Jones Thorpe, Crozierville’s current Township Commissioner.