Friends from 49 Nations Attend Doug Coe Life Celebration Service
Global Spiritual Ambassador Remembered for Sharing His Friends and Pointing Others to Jesus
VIENNA, Va., March 3, 2017 – More than 1,500 friends from 49 countries across all five continents gathered at McLean Bible Church today to celebrate the life and legacy of Douglas Evans “Doug” Coe, a faithful global ambassador for Jesus, who for more than six decades worked tirelessly to care for the world’s poor and inner-city youth while simultaneously challenging and encouraging national and international leadership to be “led by God and empowered by his Spirit.”
Rev. Chris Halverson, son of former Senate Chaplain Dick Halverson, gave a message of encouragement to the family, noting that the longtime friendship and ministry partnership of his late father and Doug Coe embodied the essence of “fellow-ship,” to which the work of this international network of friends is often referred.
“These two fellows got in the boat together and couldn’t get out, but made an amazing discovery,” Halverson said. “The closer they got to each other and the deeper they loved each other the more capacity they had to indiscriminately love the many, from every nation.”
Coe, a lay minister known primarily for his unassuming personal relational and spiritual mentorship around the world, died February 21, 2017 after a brief hospitalization following a heart attack and stroke. He was 88.
The Honorable Al Quie, former Minnesota Governor, who was the first congressman with whom Coe ever prayed when he visited his Capitol office more than 50 years ago, eulogized Coe. “I use three statements to describe Doug Coe: radical integrity, aggressive collaboration and no excuses,” he said, noting the spirit of God worked through Coe to provide ideas that resulted in forgiveness among individuals and reconciliation between nations throughout his political career.
Others gave reflections about their longtime friend, including The Honorable Sam Nunn, former Senator from Georgia; Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, President of Skinner Leadership Institute; and colleagues from the Fellowship Foundation, including Fred Heyn and Rickey Bolden.
“In his role as the silent, but always inspirational and perennial guest of the Senate prayer group, Doug Coe was a powerful representative of the Lord,” Nunn said. “With his low-key, quiet guidance, our group briefly forgot about politics and elections and focused on the life of Jesus, our families and each other. He inspired our group and others around the world and injected a spirit of Jesus, which was a blessing to us individually and for the nation.”
“Doug often worked with puzzles, but the pieces were people, who didn’t fit together, except for the spirit of God,” Heyn said. “He would encourage us to meet with someone we didn’t like, a piece of the puzzle that didn’t seem to fit together,” to get to know them and see what Jesus does in that relationship.
Former NFL lineman Rickey Bolden, who has worked with Coe for more than 25 years among inner-city youth, said he was a spiritual mentor who showed him how to live and love like Jesus. “Doug taught me the importance of loving people unconditionally,” he said. “Doug is not dead; he is alive in me and everyone who has taken the challenge that “God so loved the whole world.”
Several members of Coe’s large family that includes five living children and their spouses; 21 grandchildren; and 56 great-grandchildren also brought remembrances of their beloved father and grandfather.
Grandson Douglas Coe II said Coe taught him and his cousins that their purpose was to “love God with their heart, soul and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.” He added his grandfather once told him, “The biggest problem of the world is alienation, the only cure is forgiveness and the author of forgiveness is Jesus.”
Melissa Coe Parker Voyles, daughter of son, Jonathan, who preceded Coe in death in 1985, explained that the headstone her father and grandfather now share after his interment yesterday reads, “He loves Jesus.” She then challenged the audience, “Let’s leave here talking about Jesus, because my grandpa would be disappointed if we left talking about him.”
An archived live-stream of Coe’s Life Celebration service is available at https://vimeo.com/206638702. Memorial gifts in Coe’s honor may be donated to: Doug Coe Memorial Fund, The International Foundation, P.O. Box 23813, Washington D.C., 20026.
Media resources and additional information:
A. Larry Ross, 972-267-1111