POEM: Owed To Chet Chambers

His exacting
Was seeded only by of
He loved
of ’s
As well
As he kin
He planted seeds
That others would harvest
He worked side by side
Under ’s reign
And the radiance of a singular Son
Today the earth is a little less salty
Yet let our tears renew
Our taste for
And peace unearth

Chester “Chet” Chambers died October 4, 2016, at the age of 87.  Chet was a good man; though, like , Chet may very well have responded to such an assertion with: “Why do you call me good? “No one is good — except alone.” [Mark 10:18]  His good works were cloaked in , yet any person of good will would testify to his deep and abiding in and , ’s precious .

Chet was a friend, neighbor, fellow activist, and -long United Methodist.  His touched so many other lives.  All of our lives are better because of Chet; the fortunate are aware of this.  He will be missed by many.  His , ministry, and example will echo into eternity.

Here is the obituary for Chester Chambers, as published in The Toledo Blade on Oct. 6, 2016:

Chester Chambers, born December 2, 1928, passed October 4, 2016. He grew up in Luckey, Ohio, where the Methodist was the central activity of his . He graduated from Ohio Northern University, where he took a pre-chemical engineering course of study. He was involved with the Ohio Methodist Student Movement, and following his junior year decided on ministry.

He went to Garrett Theological seminary on the campus of Northwestern University in 1949, where he gained a deep understanding of John Wesley’s and of . Following up on ideas and contacts gained through OMSM in undergrad, he became involved in the movement in the Chicago area.

While working as a student charge at Weston in the summer of 1951, he met Donna Fast, then a nurse in the Bowling Green hospital. They married a year later. He served at Mt. Blanchard five years before moving to in 1962 to two inner-city parishes in the old north end.

In 1969 he was appointed Coordinator of Urban Ministries for the District of the United Methodist (“UMC”). In succeeding years he helped develop an “alphabet soup” of over forty local organizations from the local ACLU to Task Force, with Fair Center and Personal Rights Organization among the many in between. The Levite asked, 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' The Good Samaritan asked, 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?' MLK QUOTE BUTTONHe had particular passions for racial , affordable , and of the . As a minister and happily married father of five, he lent great credibility to the cause of same- oriented persons, at a when societal attitudes and practices were far more negative and hostile and few spoke out to that.

Chet made many fact-finding trips in later years. The he witnessed on his first, to Nicaragua in 1989, was -altering. He would return there, as well as go to , Brazil, Mexico (maquiladoras) and Venezuela.

He retired at least twice: after serving six years as Superintendent of the Findlay District (UMC) in 1996, and again in 2003 after serving as Associate of Monroe Street UMC in . He remained active in many groups and causes long after the “retirements,” including many annual protest trips to the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, GA. He was arrested at least three times over the years, in various locales, for over causes he championed.

Chet was a master card player, and avid camper with his . He played piano, sang, and rarely missed a Toledo Symphony concert. He was a mentor and role model for many; inclusive, empowering, grass-roots. His biblical and theological knowledge was immense, and undergirded most everything he did and said. He never stopped believing in God and ’s capacity for good.

He was preceded in by his parents, Fred and Audrey Chambers, and is survived by his wife, Donna; , Mark (Susan), Nathan (Clara), Brian (Debra), Kevin (Susan), Jocelyn (John) Blaufuss, and 12 grandchildren.

A celebration of Chet’s will take place October 15, 11 a.m. at Monroe St. United Methodist Church.

Contributions may be made to Monroe St. Neighborhood Center, Methodist Federation for Social Action, or any organization helping the most vulnerable or working for .

Rest in peace, friend to all and faithful servant.

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