January 24, 2019 is a day that will forever be etched in the memory of the chaplaincy department and the Stephen Ministry team at Greensboro Urban Ministry. It was the date that our beloved Fred Werstlelin transitioned from this life to his eternal reward in heaven. For the last 20 years, Fred has been a fixture within our Stephen Ministry family.
It was 20 years ago that Fred Werstlelin, Fred Gray, Mike Sasser, and I started the Monday night men’s support group. Mr. Werstlelin has been a mainstay throughout the group helping to uplift those in need with a kind word and scripture.
Being full of faith, Fred would trust God to provide funds for bus passes that are provided to our clients at Greensboro Urban Ministry. He would approach his church, Jamestown Presbyterian, time and time again to ask for a donation. And every year, by the grace of God, they would assist us during our annual Christmas party. Fred always believed that God would provide a way and He did.
As a trustworthy caregiver Fred always gave of himself to care for the men who attend the Monday night support group meeting at Weaver House. When Fred and his wife Pam would go on vacation, he would make sure that the Monday night group always had a facilitator.
Every Monday and Wednesday morning, he would greet the clients who entered the doors of our Emergency Assistance Program (EAP). With a smile and a kind spirit, Fred would help them with their transportation and food needs. Despite his own waning health, Fred would show up every week to help those who needed it the most.
As I listened to the lyrics of Aaron Neville at the closing of Fred’s memorial, I felt the words of “I Bid You Goodnight” were a fitting reminder of the man we all know.
“Lay down my dear Brother, lay down and take your rest
I want to lay your head upon your Savior’s breast
I love you, but Jesus loves you best.”
Rev. Andrei Spells