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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Rev. Bev Cosby, his Legacy Continues in Lynchburg


I first met Rev. Bev Cosby years ago. A friend of mine and I were working on some brick work for a gazebo at the Church of the Covenant. Everyday, he would come to see the progress and he would quietly show his excitement for this project and the building of a four story tree house for Camp Kum-Ba-Yah, which was not far from our project.

He really had a very casual air about him. I remember him much like the picture portrays him, relaxed, unassuming, and someone who had a hands on approach. And like the brick work we were doing for his Church, he was methodical accomplishing a foundation of services that affected many lives through the Lynchburg area, and beyond.

Recently, I had a conversation with a very dedicated religious person in Lynchburg who is very active in his Church. He is a life time resident of Lynchburg, and had no idea who Rev. Bev Cosby was. And he said, "If he was an important minister in Lynchburg he would of heard of him."

Oddly, this did not strike me as unusual. Rev. Bev Cosby made his footprint on Lynchburg stepping lightly, but each step was a step forward to making Lynchburg a better place for all residents.

In the early 60's, when the city was filling it pool at Riverside Park with dirt to avoid the issue of integration, Bev opened his Church pool to all residents regardless of race. This was a period of time when some other ministers were supporting the value of segregation. Bev took another path. In 1962, Rev Martin Luther King came to see Bev to recognize his efforts.

Besides this, Bev had as hand in starting many projects in Lynchburg:

The wood ministry, to help those in need of heat.
Projects for adequate housing for the poor.
Camp Kum-Ba-Yah that serves all regardless of the ability to pay.
New Land Jobs, that helps those who have trouble getting a job.
An AID's Hospice.
Homeless and battered women's shelters.

Did I leave out something, I most likely did. Bev had his hand in many things, and he was not one to look for credit. He just did things, motivated by his heart, his inner beliefs, and his spiritual direction.

This direction led him to the jails were he was instrumental in helping inmates. Do you remember the Haysom murders? Where Soering was convicted of the double murder. Bev went to the jail and provided spiritual guidance to Soering. While most, including our local ministers, would not take on this task, Rev Bev Cosby was there.

In 2002, Rev Bev Cosby received the Lynchburg's Mayor award for excellence. And now, there is a Bev Cosby memorial fund to continue his work. If you haven't heard of Rev. Bev Cosby, I'm not surprised, he was a quiet man, laying one brick of help at a time. I am in awe of the foundation he laid.

photo credit: New Land Jobs

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