Farewell Andre Kevin Walker: 1986 – 2010

We began with a couple of remarks. First that we were gathered as a community to celebrate Andre, to mourn his loss, and to share that part of Andre that we would be carrying away with us today. Some came only to stand in solidarity with the friends of Andres, so I announced for those who didn't know him that he had been murdered. "Andre was no angel, but then who is. You cannot do anything to deserve to be throw-away or to be murdered." I opened us in prayer.

We began with some Detroit hip-hop by a street-popular band called ICP. We listed to "Walk Into Thy Light" by ICP. It's not a song I would pick for my memorial, but it was a song faithful friends has selected for Andre. And it worked. In an odd contrast, as it's forceful music faded, I read from Psalm 150 about how we praise God with all manner of instruments. I continued, "We praise God in our own way. And today we gather here to celebrate the 'light' and even the 'carnival' of Andre's life. I invite you to share happy memories of Andre:"
  • He was always laughing.
  • He could always make me laugh.
  • He never stopped trying to hit on me.
  • His light.
  • He was always there for me. He never let me down.
  • He saved my life more than once.
  • How much his life changed in the 7 years I knew him. 
We then listened to a second song selected by Andre's friends: We Don't Die by Twiztid. When it concluded, I read "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." And then "Jesus wept. Now I invite you to share your grief with one another." I knew they were angry at the murder, so I invited that. I knew they were made to feel vulnerable on the street, so I invited that. And then I invited, "What do you mourn? What will you miss?"
  • His smile.
  • His arguing with me.
  • His shoot first and ask questions later attitude.
  • His soul.
  • That anyone has to die on the streets violently.
  • That Andre will not be able to share his light with so many other people.
I took this moment to share, "The tragedy of Andre's death was even deeper. Two or possibly three young people killed him. Their lives are now ruined too. And I was quite certain that terrible things helped shape their lives and bring them to the point of wrongly believing they should take a life." Several hugged one another as we shared more answers to the question, "What will you miss?"

Then we listened to another ICP song, "I Want My Shit." Not perfect for everyone's memorial, but just right for Andre's. It's in part about someone who can't understand their life, but who makes a final stand and wants some things to complete their life. The familiar lyrics helped lessen the pain and hurt of the previous round of sharing. As the music finished, I read, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us approach the thrown of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-18).

"I invite you now to consider that Andre knew there was a God. And he believed in Jesus. Andre did not understand why he kept making the bad decisions, but he knew they were bad. We talked about how he wanted to quit. We talked about how he knew and loved Jesus. I am not judge and I am not God, but I cannot help but believe that Andre is now at the 'Pearly Gates' yelling 'I want my shit!'" And then I invited, "What do you take with you of Andre?"
  • His memories.
  • His smile will be in my head forever.
  • He chipped my cheekbone in a sucker punch one time, and I'll always have that.
  • That we must stick together as family… no more fighting each other.
We finished the memorial by holding hands in a circle around the red carnations and memorial pictures of Andre. We prayed for grieving, for healing, and for strength to go on. 

Following the service, we shared sandwiches, cookies, snacks and sodas provided by volunteers. We distributed socks, clothing, and other items donated to the ministry.

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up

Become a fan on Facebook!

Follow SYM:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: