Levi Parish spent the better part of his ministry supporting and encouraging others to support the Cooperative Program.
So when he passed away on Feb. 26, it was only natural that the family wanted to do something related to Southern Baptist's giving channel for missions and ministry in his memory.
"He loved missions," Sherry Parish said of her husband of 53 years. "In every church we served, he encouraged the church to increase its giving through the Cooperative Program," she recalled. "He was a strong believer and supporter of the Cooperative Program his entire ministry.
Parish, a native of Huntingdon, Tenn., served as pastor of churches in Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska and Michigan in addition to his home state where he was pastor of seven churches—Eagle Creek Baptist Church, Camden; Enon Baptist Church, McKenzie; Eastside Baptist Church, Camden; Providence Baptist Church, Crockett Mills; Ararat Baptist Church, Jackson; Allen Baptist Church, Brownsville; and Northside Baptist Church, Milan.
His longest pastorate was Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton, Mich., where he served for 23 years. While in Michigan he was active in both state convention and Southern Baptist Convention life. He was a former president of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.
After retirement the couple moved to Newport, Tenn., and joined Swannsylvania Baptist Church, Dandridge. Both have been active in Tennessee Baptist life since. Sherry serves on the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board while Levi Parish was elected to serve in November on the Committee on Committees.
Sherry Parish said the family met together after his death to determine what to do. "Like everything else in Baptist life, it was a committee decision," she laughed.
"We wanted to give people an opportunity to do something in his memory for something he loved and cared about," she noted.
The family unanimously agreed that the best way to honor their dad and husband was to give people an opportunity to give through the Cooperative Program. They set up a "Go Fund Me" account online in which people could contribute with all the funds going to the Cooperative Program. The funds would be sent to the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board for distribution.
The family set a goal of $10,000, and as of March 13 the amount had reached $4,320.
"We may not reach the goal and if we don't that's Ok," his wife said. "If we do, praise the Lord!"
Parish's son, Kenneth, agreed that enabling people to support what his dad loved so dearly was their goal. "The work of spreading the Gospel is much more important to us than seeing flowers in the room," he said.
For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/zwgqp-memorial-fund.