News and Views

Sandy Ferguson remembered

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Sandra Ferguson, who served for decades as a leader in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, died Aug. 20. Her legacy lives on in those who walked with her in ministry and all those whose lives she touched. As a conference communicator, I had the privilege of witnessing her faith as it unfolded in meaningful ways in The United Methodist Church. 

By Melissa Lauber

Sandy Ferguson will be remembered for many things, but one of her most profound legacies will be in the work she did, and the love she shared, for 41 years as a leader in The United Methodist Church.

The church is many things to many people. As a fierce advocate for justice and mission, and the keeper of the vision of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, Sandy transformed the church into a voice – a voice that echoed the power and the glory, and the gentle kindness of God.

As her friend and co-worker, I watched as she righteously marched into the governor’s office proclaiming truths that transcended politics.  She lifted up the stories of the marginalized and addicted at Saving Stations in Baltimore and demanded that all people be able to share in the gift of hope. When we created the Russia Partnership, I saw her embrace the withered-face grandmothers who swept the floors of Orthodox churches as she listened to their memories and prayers; and I witnessed her dancing with joy with children at an orphanage in Zimbabwe 

At one point in her career, she was overseeing 32 distinct areas of ministry and she approached each with personalized grace. She spoke of empowerment, transformation, wholeness, diversity, inclusion -- and people listened. They listened and they became vessels of renewed faith, change-makers and children of God.

Sandy taught me and the church many things. She helped us to see what is truly beautiful, how necessary it is to have courage, and what is possible when one opens their heart to be genuine and vulnerable.

I loved Sandy Ferguson. So many people did. Her extravagant generosity still lives inside me, so does her brave spirit and her tenacious belief that goodness will triumph.  These things shape me, as they shaped the church. And, they help us all find our own voices – to speak a word for joy, and justice, and love. 



Carol Travis Aug 29, 2022 9:51am

Thank you Melissa, so well said, I loved her quiet, gentle spirit

Ophelia Brown Carter Aug 29, 2022 6:24pm

Thanks Melissa for your truthful words in remembrance of Sandy. I owe so much to her. She made for me every learning opportunity to equipment and serve. I am grateful and sadden to hear of her passing. Thanks Dr. Hiro for sharing on FB. Shalom

Elizabeth M. Stemley Aug 30, 2022 12:13am

Thank you Melissa,
I remember Sandy as a phenomenal/faithful woman, very gifted and knowledgeable as a leader in mission. I am grateful for her support in getting me involved in the conference youth ministry and opening up various opportunities for my Christian development/leadership. Her memories of love and kindness will forever be in my heart. I am honored to call Sandy my friend.

Anonymous Aug 30, 2022 6:16pm

Pease join us tomorrow, Wednesday, April 31, 2022, 11:00AM, Epworth Chapel UMC in a Service Celebrating and Remembering Sandy

Anonymous Aug 30, 2022 6:16pm

Pease join us tomorrow, Wednesday, April 31, 2022, 11:00AM, Epworth Chapel UMC in a Service Celebrating and Remembering Sandy

Anonymous Aug 31, 2022 3:07pm

Thank you, Melissa, your words are those that flow from the hearts of many. As for me she guided me through many learning opportunities.

Joyce D. Harris Sep 1, 2022 9:31pm

So grateful for having the opportunity to work alongside of Sandra, a true servant of God serving with passion and humility. She was very concerned about the impact drugs and violence was having in the communities of the churches in our Conference and worked very hard on resources, programs and policies within our Conference addressing this problem. Rest on servant of God.

Doug Schmidt Sep 7, 2022 12:46pm

I remember Sandy from years of work trying to keep gambling out of Maryland. She was such a fighter for justice and what is right. A marvelous example to all. It was only a small part of her extensive job description to help those of us in the Conference fighting this losing cause. You would never know that we would not win as she threw her considerable influence and idea-packed mind into the battle. God blesses us with Christian champions like Sandy who teach us how to carry on the work of the church from generation to generation.

Sonia L King Sep 23, 2022 10:14am

Thank you Melissa for sharing the essence of Sandy Ferguson. Her ministry shaped so many of us and stretched us in areas of justice that needed to be addressed. We will truly miss her!