Remembering a Saint

Carrena AuckermanOn December 21st, 2007, Carrena Aukerman, a charter member of Calvin Presbyterian Church, went to be with the Lord. Carrena served the Lord faithfully as a Sunday school teacher for 50 years, and the fruit of her life and ministry will continue to grow even after she has left this earth. I was personally struck by her simple joy and peaceful spirit when I visited with her over the last couple of years. We remember Carrena as the saint that she was, not in the Roman Catholic sense, but in the true biblical sense, as one loved by God and called to be a saint (Romans 1:7).

The following remarks were written by one of our long time members who knew Carrena well, Lewis Stout:

News agencies have the obituaries of notable people written long before the person passes. That is how certain they are that everyone is going to die sometime. And when it happens – presto – all the facts are there, all the research is done and the news is available instantly.

 

Obituaries are not so easily come by in growing churches. When Carrena Aukerman’s time expired on December 21st there were newer church members scratching their heads and wondering who Carrena Aukerman was.

 

Carrena was one of our church’s original elect. She is one of Calvin’s diminishing breed, a charter member. She would speak glowingly of our church’s early years with its excitement and joy. Mainline churches across America were going soft. Liberalism was creeping in. Factions were second-guessing the Bible. In the Irwin congregation the tension between spiritual conservatives and liberals grew until a group wanting to preserve their heritage broke with the mainline.

 

At first this group met in private homes. And, as we can see, the Object of their faith blessed their fellowship. Carrena was one of those who did not kneel down to drink and was chosen to see victory.

 

Who would have thought that a member of Gideon’s band could be so quiet, so “easy to get along with”, so single, so without a driver’s license, and a secretary for Westinghouse in East Pittsburgh?

 

Perhaps it was just because she was all of the above that she was able to so successfully “keep in touch” with people who had moved away, missionaries, college students and invalids and still teach Sunday School, work in the nursery, coordinate women’s outings and baby-sit so many children.

 

In 1995 Carrena took a long-anticipated vacation. She traveled to Alaska and stood on the Artic Circle. Because Earth is tilted 23 and a half degrees in its orbit the Artic Circle marks the northernmost place on earth where the direct rays of the sun strike earth’s surface at 90 degrees. When this happens astronomers call this phenomenon the Summer Solstice because the sun (Sol) appears to stop advancing northward and just stand (stice) still until these direct rays begin to creep south again. When Sol stands still in the north we in the northern half of our globe experience the longest day of our year.

 

And now, twelve years after Carrena stood on the Arctic Circle, she has taken another long-anticipated vacation. She began it on December 21st, the time of our Winter Solstice, which for us at Calvin means that Carrena went to sleep during the longest night of our year.

 

When a person is so defined by their faith it is hard to separate such a person from their God.

 

Carrena’s God, the God of the Bible, the God of Creation, which the first chapter in the Gospel of John and the first chapter of Hebrews tells us specifically is the pre-incarnate Jesus caused our tilted planet to orbit the sun at a distance of about 93 million miles. Astronomers tell us if Earth crept much closer to the sun we would all fry and if Earth were flung much further from the sun we would all freeze. Carrena’s Bible tells us Jesus “upholds the universe.” (Hebrews 1:3) If these nuggets of information are all true then it is not too big a boast to say that we are kept in this delicate equilibrium by His power.

 

Whatever can be said about Carrena and her God it cannot be said that her God is too small.

Carrena's Obituary:

Carrena "T.C." Aukerman, 83, of North Huntingdon, died Friday, Dec. 21, 2007, in Mercy Jeannette Hospital. She was born July 7, 1924, in Stewartsville, a daughter of the late Harry and Margaret Peters Aukerman. She was a retired secretary for Westinghouse Electric of East Pittsburgh. Carrena was a member of Calvin Presbyterian Church, of North Huntingdon, a former Sunday school teacher, and a member of the Women's Christian Fellowship of Turtle Creek. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister, Lois Aukerman. Surviving are nieces and nephews, Kim and Dave Rae of North Huntingdon, Jeffrey and Lisa Tickerhoof of Harrison City and Chuck Tickerhoof of Minot, N.D.; several great-nieces and great-nephews; and several great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.