Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Family Continues Mother’s Dream

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

For years, Joyce Steele’s family made it a point to worship with her at Allegheny East Conference's Mizpah church in Philadelphia on the Sabbath closest to her birthday. Even after she passed away in 2023, her children wanted to keep the tradition going and, as usual, attended this year on the Sabbath following their mother’s birthday.

The family, who travels from New York, New Jersey, Florida and Pennsylvania, are committed to keeping the tradition alive as long as they are able to. “We want to honor her memory, as well as thank the Lord for giving her to us,” says Janet Steele, her daughter. “It also provides us with our own sense of comfort.”

Joyce’s eight children recognize how much her church family meant to her, so that’s another reason why they want to continue this practice. “She would just light up when she saw us all in church, and we could tell it meant the world to her,” remembers Janet.

Joyce was a deaconess and community service volunteer who enjoyed showering the seniors in her neighborhood with gifts. At 93 years old, she was still very active and self-sufficient. “She was the nicest, kindest, most generous person,” says Janet. “She was God-fearing and always prayed that her children would make the right decisions in life and make it to heaven.”

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