TRIBUTES for Rev. Michele Edwards

Jun 15, 2013 by

our dearly beloved associate pastor, Rev. Michele Edwards

our dearly beloved associate pastor, Rev. Michele Edwards

As pastor of University Church, I am sad to inform everyone that Rev. Michele Edwards, our associate pastor, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 15, 2013, inside of Weiss Memorial Hospital. Michele had recently discovered and shared with the church her cancer diagnosis, and as she continued to serve the church and God’s people, she became a model for us all.


Michele lived, and died, as a champion. After her recent surgery and even through the rough beginnings of chemotherapy, she insisted that “Today is a good day.” This was EVERY DAY for Michele, even as she was readmitted to the hospital twice through several complications. When Michele went into Weiss’ ICU late last night, her sister came to be with her. Earlier today, I had the honor of being by Michele’s bedside for her final moments.


There is to be a memorial service along with many opportunities to pay tribute, and I will communicate those details as soon as I can. Her family is thankful and in mourning, as we all are. This has been sudden, but in dealing us such a great loss, God has been merciful to spare our sister much pain.


Thanks be to God for the life of Rev. Michele Edwards. In Love.


-Pastor Julian


****Let’s begin here, by allowing space if anyone would like to share stories of Michele or any other kind words in her memory****

You may use the comments below.

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  1. I’ll start by posting Rev. Michele’s final sermon, appropriately titled, “Standing with the Lamb.” —

    • Sharon Ellis Davis

      I will miss her so much. Thankful for the moments we spent together last Saturday. Michele always had a smile, was always willing to help out, she said, “all I want to do is to serve God”. I am thankful for her service and her love. I am in tears but I cry filled with hope for tomorrow.

      • Reggie Williams

        I am still shocked. We shared laughs last Sunday in her hospital room, and we discussed the testimony she’d have when she left that hospital. She was having a good day. I will miss her. Now, we tell the stories (and there is so very much to say about our beautiful Michelle). The testimony is ours to tell about the way she impacted our lives, as we celebrate our dear sister.

  2. Veronica M. Johnson

    Michele will be sorely missed. As a former classmate and current coworker at McCormick Michele was a blessing to me. Helpful and caring, encouraging and smiling… brave and full of faith in the midst of this health challenge… that’s how I will remember Michele.

  3. Nannette

    What a blessing and encouragement Michele was and continues to be in spirit!

  4. Vanessa

    Pastor Julian, thank you for posting Michele’s sermon. May we all be blessed by her memory and her words and keep standing with the lamb, as she did. Grateful to have known Michele.

  5. Laetitia Wells

    While in seminary, I had the pleasure of being one of Michele’s roommates and most mornings we would have our early morning chats about our dreams, goals and future ministry plans. During that time, we became devoted sisters and cherished friends. My heart is heavy now and I am sad; however, I know that “earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal.” Michele will be greatly missed and I am so grateful to God that God allowed our paths to cross.

  6. Heather Loring-Albright

    Wow, this is a sudden and very sorrowful surprise. I got to spend time with Michele on the church retreat a few months ago, and had the opportunity to laugh with her and share stories. I could always count on her to be real, and she was faithful to check in with me on Sunday mornings. She was a tremendous hugger!…Michele, I will miss you. Thanks for being a bright star in my life!

  7. Jody Noble

    Michelle and I had the opportunity to work together at McCormick and I treasured her sense of humor, ability to find the bright side of any situation and her commitment to God. I am grateful for your posting, Pastor Julian, and am praying for Michelle’s family/friends and your congregation.

    • Jean Newcomer

      Michele was such a steady and positive presence, with a strong and clear faith. She was so looking forward to ministry and she seemed to find her niche at University Church. Through her sermons, the study group she led on prayer, and her overall calm and peaceful demeanor, Michele was an inspiration to me. I will miss her.

  8. Lakesha Peete

    Michelle had such a warm & genuine spirit. She greeted everyone with a smile. I was blessed to encounter Michelle, and I know she was a gift to the McCormick family. She will be missed & my prayers are with the family

  9. Cheryl Flory

    Michelle tutored and helped out with the kids I worked with at Roseland Christian School. I truly enjoyed getting to know her during those years and am so sad to hear of her passing. I know she will be greatly missed.

  10. Jenn and Nate Soule-Hill

    We are so sad to learn this news (Thanks for sharing Pastor Julian, and thanks to U Church that we are still on your mailing list). My husband Nate and I shared a few years of seminary with Michele at McCormick. As Nate and I reminisced about Michele tonight, we both said, “she was such a good woman.” So good…faithful to her God and God’s people, a gifted minister, and a pleasure to be around.
    Michele and I are both from Detroit, and I always appreciated being around someone who felt like home. Welcome Home to the love of God, Michele. We mourn, and while we mourn, we give thanks for your life and for your many gifts. Jenn & Nate Soule-Hill (University Church friends 2005-2009)

  11. Shawna Bowman

    I am deeply shocked and saddened at this news, my prayers are with all who have loved and been touched by Michele and I am so glad to have experienced her grace-filled presence in my own time at McCormick. Thank you for her sermon.

  12. Melva Lowry

    Michele kept me sane a lot of times while trying to discern how best to be a student leader and stay healthy myself! She is my confidant and Thai food eating friend :) She stayed calm even when she had many things flowing through her head. She will be missed but can never be forgotten. Thank you Michele for all you did for me!

  13. InaHouck

    When Michele was an Intern at University Church I had the joy of being part of her Support Committee. I remember her special gifts for leading the church in Joys and
    Concerns. She is a sister in ministry and I will miss her.

  14. Ken Sawyer

    A woman led by the Spirit, ever eager to offer encouragement, and to speak a gracious word.



  16. Jene Colvin

    I remember Michele deciding she was going to look out for me. She made sure I had her number. She checked on me almost every single day. It really all started because, Detroit woman to Detroit woman, I needed to know where I could buy shea butter and black soap. Well, that’s how it started for me. Michele was always humbly pouring into the people she met. She was always reminding me to be patient and to be calm. She was always encouraging me when I came up short on that advice. Even in the middle of everything she had going on, she made sure I was holding up ok. She’d stop in the middle of her day if I needed something. She opened up to me and let me learn from her life. She assured my mother I was being taking care of. I find myself trying to remember everything she told me. I have never met anyone that intentionally and proactively loved and cared for people like Michele did.

  17. montez Miller (Detroit)

    I am at a loss for words #stunned

  18. Priscilla Rodriquez

    I will miss the Rev. Michele Y. Edwards, my colleague and friend. A woman with such a beautiful caring Spirit. My sister has received divine healing, and is no longer in pain. I will forever cherrish the holding of your hand, and the smile on your face. The plant you left me to take care of, will always be a reminder of you.

  19. Addie Miles

    I was just surfing through my Facebook page, when I learned that a dear Saint of the Lord, Reverend Michelle Edwards, has gone to be with her Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. From the time that I met Rev. Edwards, as a student at McCormick Theological Seminary, I found her to be a lovely person. I believe that Reverend Edwards had a way of making anyone (everyone,) those she knew well, and those she knew not so well, feel like they were somebody. It was because of the warm, positive regard she gave to them; to me, simply by the greeting she gave to us in Christ. The love He had for her shone through her, and was shared with those whom she met along the way. Thank you for being a light of the Lord in the world, Reverend Edwards. You will be truly missed.

  20. Mary Stainton

    One More Chance
    I wanted one more chance. Maybe we all did. One more chance to say “Thank you”, “I love you”, and “You’ve made an incredible difference in my life.”
    I never expected to feel this way about Michele. She and I had radically different faith experiences. I was—I am—a Doubting Thomas. Part of me believes, and part of me doubts, that every comforting thought recorded in the Bible is true. Michele was so sure. Usually people who are that sure about God stuff are. . . well. . . annoying. Really annoying. Obnoxious even. I do everything I can to avoid them. But Michele? Michele was Michele. More traditional than I am. . . I suppose more conservative. But she had a heart. She lived compassion. Go figure.
    “I need you to remind me that God is with me,” I told her during a recent bout with depression, and she did. She called me every other day. Sometimes I answered; sometimes I didn’t, but her phone call was God’s way of saying, “I’m here. It’ll be ok. You can face whatever you need to face today.” And when my depression was alleviated, she celebrated with me. I know she knew I appreciated her, but I wanted to give her back some of the love she’d given as she walked through her own dark time. God knows she deserved it if anybody did. Not that she cared about deserving. She knew that God—Grace—had nothing to do with what anyone deserved. Still, I wanted one more chance to tell her. . .
    Somewhere in the Bible is the comforting thought that in some mysterious way, she’s still around. So if you don’t mind, the part of me that believes needs to do something right now. . .

    I know you’re busy welcoming Michele into heaven, but if it’s ok with you, can I borrow her for a second?. . .

    Yo Michele!
    Thank you, I love you, and you’ve made an incredible difference in my life.

    –Mary Stainton

  21. Brooks Darrah

    I will remember the warm smiles and friendly hellos that Michele would share, even if it was a brief passing in the hallway as we each headed off in opposite directions. I truly believe that God’s Spirit was working in her, and she will be greatly missed at McCormick. My sincerest condolences to all who loved and cared for Michele.

  22. Jackie Cannon

    I was overjoyed when it was announced that Michele was coming back to our church to serve. Just seeing her always made me feel better even when I was already feeling fine. She had that effect on me whether it was in church talking about something serious or a chance meeting in the neighbohood or a store, her smile and hug just reached deep inside. She had such joy and faith and it was in her eyes. I loved that and will always miss her smile and hugs and remember the uplifting joy she spread. R.I.P dear Michele.

  23. Nicole Allen

    I am at a loss of words. I used to work with Michele at Don Coleman Advertising in Southfield, MI. She was such a nice person and always so pleasant. I wasn’t aware that she was a pastor. God is good! Pastor Michele is now with the Lord, shouting and praising! She is in a much better place! Praying for her family, friends and her church family.

  24. Darci McConnell

    Beautiful lady, always kind and definitely an inspiration.
    Aside from the shared profession, we also shared in a renewal of our baptism of sorts. Every summer, Pastor Nicholas Hood at Plymouth United Church allows anyone to be baptized by him (again, if needed) in the Detroit River, and we both were a part of that ceremony as well as the new member classes. She’s faired a lot better in church attendance than me, but it certainly was always good to see her and hear of her latest advancements.
    Sad that she left us so early, but grateful for the time.

  25. Sandra Xenakis

    I knew Michele many years ago, when she was president of the Detroit chapter of Women in Communications the year after I was (back in the mid-eighties). I worked with her only that one year but found her to be a very spiritual person–something you don’t often find in the PR field. I was saddened to hear of her death but I know she’s going to do great things, wherever she is now.

  26. Caroline Underwood

    I first met Michele in my Pilgrimage in Faithfulness Class. She was always some warm and friendly, and also willing to speak her mind. I remember one night after an Iron Chef McCormick, Michele had her R&B music blaring. We danced and laughed together. I will miss her laugh and her warm smile.

  27. Tracy Turner

    Michele had a calm wisdom about her, anytime I would express frustration about caring for elder family members, she wouldn’t scold me, just remind me that we never know how long we had together, she encouraged me to make time, and cherish it… this was the pastor in her. Now, I will follow her advice and cherish the short time we had together.

  28. Nicole Sebree

    Michele was a friend, a mentor and a former colleague at Don Coleman Advertising. We had a special bond. She definitely cared and looked out for me at the beginning of my career. She ALWAYS greeted everyone with a smile and words of encouragement. She early on adopted me as her POO II. She was a great person and I’m truly saddened by her loss.

  29. Shelley Donaldson

    Michelle will truly be missed. Her life was an example to all of us on how to treat others, and to show God’s love. I am still at a loss for words knowing that she is gone. But she will always be a bright spot in my heart and mind. I will never forget that laugh.

  30. Frank Yamada

    I was with Pastor Julian as we said final prayers with Michele when she made the transition from this life. She died peacefully, quietly, surrounded with prayers and love. Michele and I shared the same birthday. She was not just a wonderful colleague at McCormick and in the work of the gospel, she was a friend. I will miss her dearly.

  31. Peter Shin

    She was my supporter with her brightly shiny smile. I never forget her enxouragement. I already miss her. Peace be with you pastor!

  32. Mark Timothy. O'Bryant

    My heart is saddened by the sudden loss of my friend, and sister. I know her soul is with God the Father, and I also know as a Believer in Christ I will see her again, whole not ill! But my last conversation with her ,was my last on this side of Heaven! I have known Michele for the past 12 yrs, and have seen her Spiritual journey from her Baptism, to her ordination. And she honored me by having me speak at her ordination. I grew to love and appreciate her, and my wife and I were planning to drive to Illinois to see her. We just talked about it over the weekend. Lastly, I called Michele on Saturday, to Pray with her, not knowing she was making her transition! I will miss my dear friend, she put her stamp on my life! Amen!

  33. Naya Cannon

    I am deeply saddened by our loss. Michele was a mentor and friend, she gave me words of encouragement in dealing with my moms illness, even though she had just experienced the loss of her mom. I worked with Michele at NTouch, where she helped shape my career. When I was out of work, she brought me with her to Avance Communications where she continued to mentor me. I will never forget her smile or her positive outlook on life! Until we meet again my friend….Rest in Peace! Rev. 21:3,4.

  34. Michele…
    I remember you said my first name’s pronounce was good and liked it in OT introduction class, when I was the 2nd semester in McCormick…
    It was the moment, but long time to me.

  35. Sheila Allen

    Her warmth, her grace, her laugh, her smile. I am grateful that the soul we knew as Michele graced my life.

  36. Nathan Schulz

    I give thanks for Michele who was always walking with eyes open, seeing those who needed a comforting word and a hope inspiring smile. She was truly aware of every person who lived and worked around her. Michele, we will miss you.

  37. Christine Vogel

    Having served at McCormick as Dean of Students, I first knew Michele as a student, then as co-moderator of Student Session, and then as intern and associate pastor at University Church. She was a person of grace, generosity, strong opinions and deep spirit. I loved to see her smile hear her laugh — both of which she did often. Her presence touched many lives and it is hard to believe she is gone. I give thanksgiving to God for her life and ministry .

  38. TJ Williams-Hauger

    While in seminary, she was always an ecouragement as I struggle to face Church history. she offered words of love and encouragement. My heart is heavy…

  39. James A. McClung

    James A. McClung
    I enjoyed my brief relationship with Michelle, and her devotion to God and McCormick. It was my pleasure to converse with her at the recently McCormick graduation and share our lives that we have been so blessed to experience in the service of others. She will always be with us in spirit, and I am glad.

  40. Fern Brown

    Michele was the second person who made me feel at home at McCormick. She made me feel everything was going to be alright. I loved her smile. When ever things were not going well, I would look for Michele just to see her smile and suddenly things were better. I remember last Christmas, I walked past her office and noticed all of the Angels in the corner and how beautiful office was decorated. We spoke for a few minutes, and I began to cry. She came from around her desk, and with that big smile on her face, gave me a big hug. I WILL TRULY MISS HER. I will pray for her family in this very difficult time.


  41. Luis R. Rivera

    Michele was a good colleague at McCormick. She was committed and joyful… ready to collaborate and lead. Her smile and positive spirit were a gift to all around her. I saw her a few hours before she passed away. As I was about to exit the room, I touched her hand and whispered in words and spirit, “God’s peace be with you; be at peace.” Thanks be to God for the good and beauty she brought to the world in ways that you and I remember. She now belongs to the great “cloud of witnesses.”

  42. Sheila Reed

    Michelle had a beautiful calming spirit and provided encouragement and calm in the midst of my own “storms”. She was a great listener. Whenever, we connected there was an instant sisterhood. I am thankful I went to University Church to worship with her a few days before her surgery. She seemed strong and indicated she was not afraid. She told me after it was all over, she wanted to minister to women about listening to internal signs we sometimes ignore. I could see a new ministry being birthed. Although, I am in shock and my heart is tender, I am thankful I have good memories I can cherish. She will truly be missed.

  43. Malene Minor Johnson

    I am grateful for the honor to meet one of God’s gifts in the person of Rev. Michelle Y. Edwards. Always full of joy, a pleasant word and a smile for the darkest day, I’ll miss Michelle dearly. Well done good and faithful servant.

  44. Armond Jackson (Detroit)

    One of the kindness, wonderful and supportive person was Michele, she helped my family through a very difficult time. New Years eve in 1997 a stray bullet took my sisters life while sitting at her dinning room table with her family. Michele headed the PR team in Detroit, Ring In The New Year With A Bell Not A Bang! campaign, asking citizens to ring bells and not shot guns. I will miss her wonderful smile and strong comment towards mankind. And telling me what I should do and where I should be and “Please Armond be on time”

  45. Rev. Michele Edwards was an inspiring, wonderful, kind-hearted, devoted Sister-In-Christ. She was a mentor to our college student committee, The Plymouth College Connection Committee, where she spoke as a presenter at our 1st college student event, “Everything I Need for College Survival”, held last year. Her topic was “God’s Trying To Tell You Something!” Her message touched the students as they begin their journey to college or continue their challenges while in college. Rev. Michele was always there with a smile on her face and a scripture in her heart. Your Plymouth Family will miss you!
    “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end”. Psalm 48:14

  46. KC Mosley

    Michele embraced me with a sisterly love almost immediately when I arrived at McCormick. We quickly became friends. We would wish shop together just having fun looking. We would get together for dinner which was always more about enjoying each other’s company talking, laughing, connecting and sharing than the meal. She was alive with a love filled and encouraging spirit that overflowed in her smile. Michele had many gifts that she shared that made her special and in particular her kindness, authenticity, faith-filled persona and grace stood out. Whenever we talked about concerns she also had good intuition and used it wisely to focus on what was important and sharing God’s love. I am sad but also grateful for having known her, for the time we spent and for her friendship. Michele was a remarkably beautiful soul and I will miss her.

  47. Brenda Hooser (Horth)

    Michele was my first roommate when I came to McCormick. She was my first mentor and we had many talks about life, love and God. I remember fondly the times she would get mad at me for not going to visit my family during my first Christmas here. Her heart was so big. I had not spoken to her since graduation and finding out about her passing has been such a shock.

    Rest in God. I will miss your scolding the next time I am tempted to pick up a free book! I love you.

  48. Albert Jones

    I will miss you “Madam Butterfly”. You got your promotion :-)

    Your Son

  49. Karen Purnell

    Michele was not only a good, resourceful colleague, but a genuine friend. I loved her wisdom, wonderful sense of humor and free spirit, she would really tell it like it is. She was the Chaplain for our employee meetings and I keep recalling her last message at a meeting where she taught on Hebrews 12:1 about the great cloud of witnesses. Welcome to the cloud Michele. You are loved so dearly and will be truly missed.

  50. Ingrid Travis James

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Michele’s family and friends. This is such sad and shocking news, but what a blessing to know that Michele pursued the Miinistry of Christ and achieved incredible goals before she left this earth to be with The Lord. We worked together in Detroit at Don Coleman Advertising and Ntouch Communications Group. I loved Michele’s smile and laugh and my favorite memory (-ies) is attending Plymouth UCC Lunchtime services on Wednesdays. So wonderful and so uplifting! She was also a dear friend to my sister, Camille. Rest in peace Michele.

  51. Melvina Stemley

    Michele was always smiling and encouraging me. I will never forget when she stopped me as I was getting off the elevator to talk, and congratulate me on my graduation. I remember it like yesterday “congratulations on your graduation, but it’s not over and you have just graduated to a new level” “God has much work for you to do” “don’t think it’s going to be easy” “get ready”. Those faith spoken words of encouragement will always resonate in my spirit. I will truly miss her kindness and her peaceful character.
    R.I.P. Rev. Michele Edwards Your labor has not been in vain, and your love lives on!

  52. Ryan Wallace

    I am grateful to have known Michele and I’ll miss her along with all of you. Blessings on all her family and friends.

  53. Rick Steele

    Michele Edwards, friend, colleague, mentor, Christian, and a loving child of God, you will continue live in my heart until we meet again. During your brief time here with us I only noticed one thing that you could not accomplish, and that was to enter a room without being noticed. For wherever you went, your love, charm, and charisma preceded you illuminating your way. Thank you for being a part of my life.

  54. Carol Biesadecki

    Michele was a dear student and colleague. It is so hard to grasp that just as she was getting settled in Chicago for a second time that she was snatched away from us. She had accomplished so much and gave so much. We were on vacation when Michele passed and everywhere I turned I saw butterflies…..I felt her presence around me. May she rest in peace in the arms of our Savior.

  55. Linda Larson

    I have Michelle to thank for her wisdom and kindness. One time I was wanting to talk with the pastor-several years ago. I approached him when he had just come out of a meeting insisting on sharing my idea. He was in a hurry and did not stay to talk. Michelle kindly directed me to talk with him when he was not so preoccupied with other issues. She was right and had such a loving manner that the redirection did not hurt but helped.

    She also listened and seemed to understand my recent decisions about my life when she called in May.

    Thank you Michelle, for being who you are.

  56. Martha Stocker

    I was so sad to hear of such a great loss, my prayers go out to her family and many friends. She was a wonderful friend to me when I was at McCormick. She was a light that will shine on forever, thank you Michelle!

  57. Pat Morrissey/Havlin

    Michele has been a friend long before her calling to the ministry, back in Miami, FL when we were members of Women in Communications, Inc. (now the Association for Women in Communications). She was always upbeat and cheerful and totally supportive of her friends and colleagues. She had her doubts and demons – as do we all – but looked to a higher power for guidance and solace. I was not surprised when she enrolled at McCormick and knew she would touch many souls through her love. I will miss her, but am sure she will continue with her ministry from her elevated vantage point.

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