After Botham Jean’s shooting death, his Dallas church intent on seeking justice
DALLAS — The preacher stood wearily on stage, wiping tears…
Thursday’s funeral for Botham Shem Jean drew more than 1,500 mourners to the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas.
The memorial service for “Brother Bo” was moved from the 26-year-old police shooting victim’s home congregation — the Dallas West Church of Christ — to accommodate the size of the crowd.
Jean will be buried in his native St. Lucia, the small Caribbean island where he grew up before leaving at age 19 to attend Harding University in Searcy, Ark.
Here are a few quotes from the three-hour service:
“To know Botham was to love Botham. He was the light in a dark room. Bo made us all better. Bo didn’t see color. He saw love.” — Michael Griffin, minister for the Singing Hills Church of Christ in Dallas, who welcomed the crowd
“Even in the violence and senselessness of his death, we are mindful that he was your gift — fearfully and wonderfully made. Not a hashtag. Not a tweet. Not a blurb. But your son and a prince in your kingdom.” — David Wilson, minister for the Kings Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y., making reference to Psalm 139:14 in a prayer
“I believe that when God listened to Botham’s heartbeat that it skipped to the same rhythm as his Son.” — Tommy Bush, member of the Romance Church of Christ in Arkansas, friend and business mentor for Jean
“The great thing about Botham: Anybody who met him, they thought they were his best friend. … May we all live in such a way as to see him again.” — Todd Gentry, college minister for the College Church of Christ in Searcy, Ark., ministry mentor for Jean
“Most of all, he was faithful. … He was always in service of others, even when it wasn’t convenient for him. He was truly a gift from God, and our human words will never do him justice.” — Alexis Stossel, friend of Jean from their Harding days
“He was truly a gift from God, and our human words will never do him justice.”
“Botham was not perfect. No one is perfect. The Bible teaches us that God, who is rich in love, mercy, grace, gave us salvation through the death of his only son Jesus Christ for the whole world … to any who would choose humility to God’s word and a repentant heart. That is what Botham, a child of the most high God, would have wanted you to know.” — Dane Felicien, friend of the family from St. Lucia
“Bo’s positive spirit will not leave PwC with his death. His memory will continue to inspire us to be better people. … Bo has inspired us to be like Bo.” — Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where Jean worked as a risk assurance associate
“He was our hero at PwC.” — Ryan
“He was a young man of character. … He never lost his faith, even though he was having some immigration issues. I heard him say to me many times, ‘Brother Berry, I want to do more work here at church.’” — Sammie L. Berry, minister and elder of the Dallas West Church of Christ, who gave the eulogy
“If a black man — any man — can’t be safe at his own home, where can he be safe? These events should motivate us to take action. … Those protests should be peaceful” like Botham. — Berry
“There are so many in the U.S. who have shown tremendous love to this boy. He was so loved.” — Bertrum Jean, father of Botham Jean, offering thanks for the support the family has received
“I pray that our connection with Harding will not end here. Botham was able to get students to St. Lucia (for mission work), and I hope this will not end. We are looking forward to you coming next year, Lord willing.” — Bertrum Jean
“He touched us deeply and changed our lives” — Bruce McLarty, president of Harding
“Lord, we need your love. We need your comfort. We need your justice. We need your mercy. Lord, we need your hope. We need your strength. Lord, we need your wisdom. We need your grace. And Lord, we need your healing …” — McLarty, in closing prayer
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