Margaret Hannay (and David)

Margaret Hannay started coming back to church for several Sundays.

david and margaret hannayThis is a story about this picture of Margaret Hannay and her husband David. They’ve been members of my church for a number of years.

They met in college, fell in love, and got married very young, at 19 or 20, despite their parents’ understandable reservations. They celebrated 50 years married last August.

They’ve both been active in church, serving on committees, teaching, and are professionally accomplished. (Here are some of Margaret’s books.)

But that doesn’t really explain the picture.

In my capacity of the head of the Black History Month committee, I solicited the opinion from others about who should be awarded kente cloths. The kente is a community honorific developed in Ghana. We discussed a few names.

But once someone had suggested the Hannays, the conversation was over. It was the obvious choice. Why?

Because virtually everyone who has entered our church, at least as long as I’ve been attending, has been warmly welcomed by Margaret and David. And not just saying hello, but in the active listening that allows for new visitors to be able to connect with others to create community. Every church member, whether long-timers or newbies, would agree,

At the time of the decision to award them, Margaret was in remission from cancer. But by the time we were going to award the kente cloth, she was receiving treatments again, and was not able to attend church.

In the end, we decided to give a kente cloth to David, and another for him to give to Margaret. And a week or so later, I received this lovely photo of the Hannays in their kente cloths.

And then, an unexpected treat: Margaret Hannay started coming back to church for several Sundays, weak, but with her usual positive spirit. Everyone wanted to be with her, talk with her, hold her hand, without taxing her energy.

It was sad, but not surprising, that Margaret Hannay died early the morning of August 11. There will be a memorial service on Sunday, August 28 at 1:00 p.m.

My favorite Hannay story: a few years back, about ten of us went out to lunch at a Thai fusion restaurant near the church. Margaret helped The Daughter negotiate the menu to avoid peanuts since both were allergic. At the end, they picked up the bill, explaining that they always wanted to have a dinner party, but it was a lot of work, and they live far enough away that people get lost finding their house, and some other excuses. But we knew what they really meant.

The Hannays have been stellar examples of Christian hospitality. My condolences to David, their daughters, granddaughters, their friends, family, and the church community. Read Margaret Hannay’s obituary, which I purloined from the NYT.

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