The Rev. David Harris connected with Lima.
For 15 years, he has been the spiritual leader of Trinity United Methodist Church in the city’s downtown, an era that closes at the end of the month with his retirement.
No, that’s not the right word.
What Harris has done for this city will never be closed. In so many ways, he worked to open our eyes.
He once told The Lima News a church “needs to figure out how to get out of its walls and out into the community.”
It was a mission he lived every day.
Harris was a voice of reason who helped walk Lima through some of its most troubling times. He was a man of understanding, a minister who didn’t preach or lecture when racial strife and immigration questions threatened to separate us, but one who discussed issues and listened.
“Let’s look at real information, and not just conjecture,” he was fond of saying.
He came to Lima looking for a city that was large enough to have diversity, but was small enough where he would be able to work with community leaders. He wanted a congregation that valued traditional worship, but one that wouldn’t mind checking out some alternatives, too.
With that, Trinity United Methodist opened its doors.
Harris saw the good in people, regardless of whether they lived in a quarter of a million dollar home or a homeless shelter. Often, he would bring them together, such as holding a free community breakfast every Sunday morning.
He became a member of Downtown Lima and urged it to not just focus on businesses, but on other problems like homelessness and crime. He also formed the 3rd Floor Band, which played Christian music at anywhere from a local coffee house to a state prison.
Harris will be leaving our city shortly, moving to Lexington, Ohio, to be closer to family.
Today, we thank him for being part of Lima’s family.
ROSES AND THORNS: The rose garden makes room for a special lady with golden memories.
Rose: To Catherine Rusmisel Early, who at age 98, was the oldest member to attend the Beaverdam High School reunion, held the first Saturday in May for anyone who graduated from the school. Catherine was one of 17 students to do so in 1938. Fred Andrews is the only other member of that class still living. He was unable to attend the reunion.
Catherine noted, “I’m too old to make new memories, so I just live my old ones.”
Among her favorites:
“We had a teacher who came to our school after working at the Ohio Reformatory. Whenever she had to leave the room, she would lock us in. “
“Then, it wasn’t until after my freshman year that we had indoor plumbing,” she said. “Prior to that they passed around a water bucket if you were thirsty, and we used an outhouse if you had to go to the bathroom.”
Rose: To Emily Sreenan, of Lima Central Catholic High School, and Brendan Siefker, of Ottoville High School. They were named the region’s female and male Scholar Athletes of the Year by The Lima News and OSU-Lima.
Rose: To the Kewpee, which was honored by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted as a featured business for May as part of the Ohio Business Profile program.
Rose: To Patricia Kubik, who received the Catherine McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award in Volunteerism from Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
Thorn: To Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer, who is facing domestic violence charges and a charge of possessing a firearm while intoxicated.
PARTING SHOT: The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.