THE RT. HON PERRY G. CHRISTIE
AT STATE-RECOGNIZED FUNERAL SERVICE FOR
DR. MYLES E. MUNROE OBE
PASTOR RUTH MUNROE
4th DECEMBER, 2014
It is my painful duty to once again express the collective sense of grief and loss that we, who comprise the Bahamian nation, all feel over the sudden passing of Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife and partner, Pastor Ruth Ann Munroe, and indeed the other persons – Pastor Dr. Richard Pinder, Pastors Lavard and Rudel Parks and their two children, one of them unborn; Captain Stanley Thurston; Frankhan Cooper; and Diego De Santiago – who were all called home on November 9th, a day that none of us will soon forget.
Permit me, therefore, to once again extend the condolences of the nation, my own condolences and the condolences of my wife, Bernadette, to the spouses, children and wider families of those who so tragically lost their lives.
But even as we offer these condolences, we remain mindful that our sadness is rendered bearable by the realization – yes, the happy realization – that the persons whose deaths we mourn lived lives of great purpose for which we, who are left behind, offer today our grateful hearts. It is for me to say, they made this country of ours and this world of ours a better and brighter place. And the realization that they did so gives us all cause not for sadness but for joy.
I spoke at some length in tribute to Pastor Myles and his wife, Ruth Ann, at last night’s Memorial Service at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, so I will keep my remarks shorter today.
My last discussion with Dr. Munroe took place at my office – the Office of the Prime Minister – where, at my invitation, a number of religious leaders had gathered to discuss the constitutional reform bills. The Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Minnis, was there as well, along with a number of his parliamentary colleagues, and the Government was similarly represented as well.
Dr. Munroe took a lively part in the discussions at the meeting but what I most vividly remember about him that Saturday evening was how he was one of the very last to leave the meeting and to leave my office after the meeting.
Looking at it in retrospect, it seems that there was a lot on his mind, much more than normal; and that a sense of urgency now attended him; a sense that there was no time to waste; a sense that the challenges of our times summoned us all to leadership in one form or another so that the problems of contemporary Bahamian society that so troubled him could be more aggressively addressed and remediated.
We spoke directly with each other on these matters in the hallway outside the boardroom, with just a few others around us, and by the time we were done, by the time we made our way to the exit, Dr. Myles was, if I recall correctly, the last of the religious leaders to leave.
I think about that now; I wonder about it now because it does suggests to me in retrospect that Dr. Munroe was perhaps sensing at some instinctive level, perhaps even at some prophetic level, that his days were numbered, and that the end of his numbered days was drawing nigh.
We can only guess; we can only surmise; we can only speculate about such things for in the final analysis only God knows.
But what I have come to speak to you about; what is not in doubt as we look back on his final weeks and months on earth is that Dr. Myles was definitely ratcheting up the level of his engagement with civil society in a way, and to an extent, that I do not recall him ever having done before.
I don’t have to tell you that Dr. Munroe really loved his country, this beloved Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Yes, he would go forth into the world, criss-crossing continents, flying across the great oceans of the planet but he would always come back home to play his part, a leading part, in helping to build up his country.
This kind of outreach was central to his sense of purpose and central to his work as an evangelist for Christ because it was clear to me that religion for Myles Munroe was not about locking oneself up in some remote ivory tower of private contemplation. Rather, it was about rolling up your sleeves and getting down into the trenches to deal with the real problems of real people living in the real world.
So let us make no mistake about it therefore : while Dr. Myles Munroe was unquestionably a globalist, an internationalist, in the scope of his Christian ministry and in the reach of his teachings and travels, he was, at the same time, a profoundly committed nationalist; a Bain Town-bred Bahamian through and through; a man who never forgot his roots; a man who was passionately involved in Bahamian nation-building and who played an important part in that process over the course of more than three decades.
And so my brothers and sisters, as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, I therefore stand at attention today and salute Dr. Myles Egbert Munroe as a Bahamian patriot of the first order. And on behalf of all my compatriots, I offer the thanks of a grateful nation for the life and work, and for the shining example, of this great son of our soil.
And I say these words to you:
If you seek his monument, do not look for it in marbled statues or in streets or buildings that may in future bear his name. Do not look for it even in the books he wrote that may line the shelves of libraries or book stores.
Instead, if you seek his monument and the monument of his wife, Pastor Ruth, you have all of the evidence before you and you will find it in the two wonderful children they produced. Mark the manner of their bearing, even with the full weight of their grief pressing hard upon them! Chairo and Charissa do their parents proud, and they are an inspiration to us all, aren’t they?
But you will find the monument to Dr. Myles and Pastor Ruth in other ways as well. You will find it in many of the leading men and women of our society who were shaped by the teachings and personal example of Pastor Myles and his wife.
Look at the leadership of BFM. Look at Pastor Dave and his dear wife and look at their children who are blazing great trails of their own. That’s a monument to Myles Munroe too.
Look at all the others whose careers and whose lives of purpose were fueled by Dr. Munroe’s teachings; persons like Keith Glinton, formerly of Esso now of Sol; lawyers like Merritt Storr, Nadia Wright, Wence Martin and Leif Farquharson; statesmen like my friend and colleague, the Speaker of the Honourable House of Assembly, Dr. Kendal Major; look at others like Larry Carroll of Grand Bahama……the list goes on and on……so many bright young men and women who have blossomed into role models in their own right and who together, with hundreds of others, represent what Aaron Burr, in another time and context, referred to as “the best blood of the country”.
So by brothers and sisters, we hear too much of what is bad about our country and too little of what is good about it. We read too much about those who are doing bad things in The Bahamas and too little about those who are doing good things, even great things, day in day out, working by the sweat of their brow; raising good families; helping out and doing good works in the community; leading lives of high purpose that ennoble themselves and ennoble us as all as a society, as a people, and as a nation under God. That’s the kind of people Dr. Myles leaves behind as his monument.
And they, and others like them, will continue his work. In turn, when the time comes, their own children, the children of those whose names I called and so many others like them, will take the baton and carry on the cause. And that is how great nations are built, brick by brick, one family at a time; one person at a time; one generation at a time, but all moving in the same direction, guided by the same sense of purpose, guided by the same values. Yes, that is how great nations are built, and how great nations endure.
Such then is the form that the true and lasting monument to Dr. Myles Munroe will take. And such then is how the legacy of Dr. Myles Egbert Munroe and the legacy of Pastor Ruth Ann Munroe will endure through the ages.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in peace, now and forever more.