Home > About Love Akron > A Tribute to Love Akron

One of the most satisfying feelings for a parent comes from hearing their children quote them.  We parents impart generational wisdom, handed down by our own mothers or fathers, by repeating phrases and reminders to our children as they roll their eyes and look at us like we’ve grown a second head.  Sound bytes like this gem: “Your friends can laugh you into hell, but they can’t laugh you out.” That was one of my Mother’s lines when she sought to put the fear of God in me lest I go and do something foolish.  Many of us have words of wisdom our parents spoke that play back like a cassette tape on rewind with advice or warnings which shaped our lives.  I’m sure my parents wondered if I was really hearing their admonitions but more importantly, heeding them.

Pastors serve as spiritual parents to God’s family, and they too often wonder if their words are sinking in and really being heard. This past week I had one of those satisfying feelings when I read the words of a dear friend named Shirley, who I had the privilege of spiritually parenting while serving as her pastor in Cuyahoga Falls.  Shirley is someone who could be your next door neighbor and yet you wouldn’t know of her passion for poetry.  She’s an author whose books are filled with poems that flow out of her relationship with Jesus Christ and inspire those who read and ponder the messages. Her latest book is Whispers in the Wind, the Poetry Whisperer.

One section of her book is dedicated to tributes. Last week Shirley sent me an autographed copy of her book and lo and behold, Love Akron was the subject of one of her compositions.  The title of the poem is “Love Akron,” a tribute she composed about our beloved Network.  Her words let me know, “she has been listening.”  Here is her tribute.

Love Akron was founded by Pastor Ford

A man by many who is so adored

He prayed, he struggled for all to see

Just trying to bring about unity

To, Akron, Ohio with its ups and downs

He prayed to turn wrong things around

With God behind him all the way

He can teach you how to pray

This pastor is a praying man

With you he will always stand

For what is right, for what is true

He honors the red, white, and blue

His love for Akron is evident

Trying to birth love is prevalent

His main job and goal to achieve

We need to trust him and believe

For what he stands for and is trying to do

About the betterment for me and for you

It’s been in his mind for decades now

To turn Akron, Ohio around some how

So please stand with him in solidarity

It will be a grand thing and not just for clergy!

Thank you, Shirley, for sharing your kind tribute.  It’s true God used Pastor Knute Larson, Rev. Dr. Ronald Fowler, and me as catalysts to birth this city movement. However, God knows and I do as well, that Love Akron exists today because loving people like Shirley and others stepped up to love and serve as a network.  So, I want to add my tribute to the subject called Love Akron.  Love Akron is us, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Love Akron is a network with a message, that’s true

A collection of caring people like me and you

People like you, who love, give, and serve

In a county named Summit in the Western Reserve

The first leg of its mission calls us to pray

Because prayer is the key for God’s power to stay

To stay true to the mission with fervent intensity

To prayer, to unity, and collaborative ministry

It’s easier to say than to do

Because Satan opposes both me and you

The Evil One sows division and incivility

But Love Akron’s second leg is bringing unity

We tear down the walls that often divide us

And build bridges of understanding which will unite us

Collaboration is the third leg on which we stand

By serving the city we reach out our hand

Christ’s love is our motive by which we give

Christ’s passion and mission is why we live

Leading servant hearts is our byline and motto

Loving our city to life is the creed that we follow

So when my life’s over and I lie in the grave

My one wish is for my tombstone to say

He loved God, his family, and Love Akron too

His journey is over, and he’s waiting for you

Thank you Love Akron for this opportunity

To work together as One Church in the City.

3 Comments, RSS

  • Pastor Carl P. Wallace

    says on:
    January 24, 2018 at 9:17 am

    WHAT a wonderful and accurate tribute!

  • Shirley Securro

    says on:
    January 24, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Pastor Ford when will your first book be out? I did not know you could write poetry! Wow! Good Job! Hope to see you soon! I am so glad you love us and LOVE AKRON!

  • Liz Ray

    says on:
    January 27, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Mark, I am learning more about you all the time. When did you start writing poetry? Very good. Also great tribute to you–well-deserved!