Just over 100 people gathered at St. Paul’s Church in Darien, Connecticut, April 5 for a memorial service honoring the Rev. Everett “Terry” Fullam. Fullam served as rector of St. Paul’s from 1972 to 1990, and the church became best known through the book Miracle in Darien by Bob Slosser.
The service, celebrated by the Rt. Rev. Bruce MacPherson, included seven priests who were tied in various ways to the parish’s history.
“We’re here to appreciate the life of Terry Fullam. We’re here to celebrate fruit, fruitfulness,” said the Rev. Christopher Leighton, current rector of St. Paul’s, who tied his message to the appointed reading of John 15:1-17. “It has been 25 years since Terry was here, but the parish still receives calls each week asking about his teaching tapes and the book,” Leighton said.
Leighton remembered visiting his grandfather’s sprawling apple orchard as he was growing up in Massachusetts. “What is the most important part of an apple?” he asked. His answer: the stem, because through it an apple receives the nutrients it needs from the tree.
“How does the fruit last?” Leighton said. “By remaining connected.”
He said the fruit of Fullam’s ministry at St. Paul’s can help lead to more and better disciples, a longer and deeper of God, a deeper consecration of God’s people, and a renewal and revival that lead to reformation.
The service included an audio excerpt from a sermon Fullam preached in a return trip to Darien.
Fullam spoke of dreaming that he was on the deck of a ship looking out on a vast river like the Mississippi. The ship proceeded slowly through a series of locks. Each time the ship was in a lock, Fullam said, he was “worried, frustrated, and filled with anxiety.”
Each time he had a chance to activate the locks, he did so with “resentment and reluctance.”
And each time, as the ship rose higher in a new lock, he could see everything he saw before, but more than that.
Fullam said he felt God said to him through the dream: “I want to take you where you’ve never been. I want to take you where your experience is not sufficient.”
Fullam said to his former congregation: “Before you is a ministry that you have not imagined yet. God will lead you to a lock, into a lock, and into a lock.”
He added: “A church whose past is its greatest day is a church that is dying. “Don’t you ever say, ‘I remember the good old days, when Father Fullam was here.’”
Funeral services for Fr. Fullam are scheduled at Tomoka Christian Church in Ormond Beach, Florida, April 13.