Dr. Denyse Turner on the passing of her husband Dr. Gregory Turner, who pastored the Christ Temple Baptist Church in Paterson, NJ.
The first time Dr. Denyse Turner met her husband they were in kindergarten. When she was 21 they met again on the steps on Cornerstone Baptist Church at the Sunday late night service. (Baltimoreans of a certain age will recall Cornerstone’s charismatic pastor, Dr. I Logan Kearse and the try to find a seat Sunday service at 10 p.m.) Pastor Gregory Turner told her that night on the steps that he was going to marry her. They were married a year later. Since the passing of her beloved husband of 36 years, Dr. Denyse Turner has spent time reflecting on the changes in her life. Here, the gracious Dr. Denyse shares revelations gleaned through her tears and triumphs.
What has sustained you since the passing of your beloved husband?
God, nothing but the Grace of God, my relationship with God has become so much deeper. My life went from living with my mother to living with my husband. I always had someone in my life to cover me. Now I am in a spot where I am responsible for myself and it has been difficult. My husband and I did everything together. I never thought that he would be taken from me so soon. I fully expected him to return to the pulpit after he recovered from surgery. I am no longer angry about things that happened when he was preparing for surgery, but it still hurts me to think about how he was treated.
I am grateful for my daughter, if not for her I would be alone. After God, I have to give my daughter credit. I know that God has a major blessing for her. I know that God is moving in my life. It seems as though God is telling me, You have a ministry that you have never brought out and I want you to do that. Many things have been happening in my life. God is directing me and leading me. I have been invited to women’s groups to speak about my experience.
What safeguards would you advise a pastor’s wife have in place should she outlive her husband?
The first thing I would suggest is open communication about these matters. My husband was a very trusting man. I used to say, “If something happens to you what happens to me?” My husband trusted what people told him. Things have to be put in writing. In the early years, I was given three months to remain in my home if my husband predeceased me. This was later amended. Many times the pastor and his family make sacrifices that members do not know about. For instance, people did not know all of the times my husband chose to forego his pay during the lean years. The church belongs to God and I would hope the church would have compassion for the woman who stood by the pastor for all of his years of service. The reality is a pastor’s wife has to know what is in place for her husband and she should have a copy.
Significantlove is grateful for the openness of Dr. Denyse as we lift her and her family in prayer. She is working on a book about her experience, til then read more about her experience on wordpress and facebook