Elder Calvin Burrell is among the rarest of men. He entered service in God’s Kingdom as a young man and spent his whole professional life ministering at every level of the same denomination. Though he served at one point as the national Conference President, he served the local church in Marion with patient humility in a variety of ways.
Calvin came to Marion, Oregon to retire. Nonetheless, he consented to serve as an Elder and as a Sabbath School teacher in the Marion church, while still filling the pulpit in nearby churches lacking pastors, teaching classes at Artios Christian College, and serving on various General Conference Committees. He helped with the local food bank as well as the church’s community outreach programs.
In short, he served faithfully. But more than that, he served with care.
He visited the shut-ins, mentored the pastors, and encouraged the congregation. He taught and preached with passion, but spoke gently and wisely in counsel. As a lifetime student of God’s Word, he was imminently knowledgeable, and with decades of experience in church leadership, he was wise and practical.
The kind of experience, knowledge, and wisdom a man like Calvin brought to the Marion church is irreplaceable. His faithfulness in service, dedication to the gospel, and commitment to a church (any church) is remarkable. His gentle, humble, servant leadership was truly Christ-like.
Cancer took Calvin’s strength and ultimately his life, but it did not take his faith, hope, or character. When everything else was stripped away, the essence of the man was clearly visible. Even when in pain and under the mental fog of medication, he remained peaceable, gentle, and loving.
All of which is to say Elder Calvin was all too rare, and his passing is a true loss. He entered his rest on June 29, 2022. We will miss him more than words can say.
May God yet raise up among His Church rare men like Calvin!