-In Homily at Veteran Teacher Theresa Sherman-Pennoh’s Funeral
The Rector of the St. Stephen Episcopal Church in Sinkor, the Rev. Canon A-Too Williams, has admonished people of faith, especially Christians, to use their active time on earth to prepare to face eternity when death inevitably comes.
Delivering his homily at the funeral service of Theresa Sherman Pennoh, veteran teacher and mother Cllr. Varney G. Sherman, of one of Liberia’s legal luminaries and Senator of Grand Cape Mount County, Fr. Williams described her as a strong woman of faith, who regularly attended services as long as she was able.
He told the crowded funeral service that “death is inevitable and, as Christians, we must prepare for it at all times in the lives of all of us, in preparation to face eternity.
She was a strong woman of faith, Fr. Williams said. She lived a life of dedication and commitment, not only to her community and country but to her Creator.
Theresa Sherman Pennoh was born April 17, 1928. A veteran teacher of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), the B.W. Harris Episcopal and other schools, she died on February 24, 2018 in her 90th year, following a brief illness.
The preacher indicated that there will be many surprises in hell because many of those who are expected to make it to heaven will be found in hell. He made reference to Matthew 7:21, in which states Jesus states, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
“Not everyone we expect to see in heaven will be there because of their failure to prepare themselves spiritually,” Fr. Williams warned.
It is most unfortunate that the world is drifting away from religious commitment, as more and more parishioners now tend to be more intellectual now than spiritual. “People tend to be more philosophical and are rationalizing religious references now. When you read a scripture and tell people what to do they try to rationalize everything.”
The funeral was a very brief ceremony as only the sermonette, Eucharist and the Commendation were performed. No tributes paid, but Senator Sherman however said a Memorial Service will be held later, when the patriarch of the Sherman family, Mr. T. Siafa Sherman, is able to make it to Liberia.
The deceased was a career teacher for many Liberian educational institutions, among them being the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), Bravid W. Harris Episcopal and J. J. Roberts United Methodist schools. “My mother taught at these schools, especially the MCSS, for many, many years. Many of her students are here with us, including Clemenceau B. Urey,” Cllr. Sherman said. Mr. Urey is an insurance entrepreneur.
The funeral should have been a private ceremony where few family members and a small number of close friends should have gathered to pay their last respects to a fallen veteran teacher in a very ordinary way, Senator Sherman said in his acknowledgements. But to his surprise, it turned out to be a well attended occasion where many of the high-profile personalities in the country were in attendance.
Several of the eminent political figures present were political allies of Cllr. Sherman. These included the standard bearer of the Unity Party and former Vice President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai; UP Chairman, Wilmot Paye; UP vice chairman, Neto Zarzar Lighe and other top party officials. Others included Senator Prince Y. Johnson, former Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara, and former Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh.
One of the sons of Senator and Mrs. Joyce Sherman, Zoeluma Kiahon Sherman, flew in from the United States for the funeral.
“As a family, we really thought to make this funeral a private one but the turnout has shown us how important a woman our mother, grandmother, sister, aunty was to so many people. We want to be grateful to you all for standing with us today.”
He indicated that the family is planning to have a memorial service where everyone will be given the opportunity to pay tributes.
Following the St. Stephen service, the cortege, accompanied by the family and many sympathizers, proceeded to the village of her birth, Gondelor, in Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County, where interment took place.