Ontario Conference President, Mansfield Edwards, Offers Solace at Iran Plane Crash Funeral

News April 6, 2020

On Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, Ontario Conference president, Dr. Mansfield Edwards, offered words of comfort during a memorial service held at York Region. The service, attended by 400+, was for employee Bahareh Karami, a York Region environmental sciences technologist.

Karami, 33, was one of 176 killed on January 8 when a plane, heading from Iran to Ukraine, was shot by the Iranian military. On the 13th, colleagues and friends, as well as loved ones streaming in from Tehran, offered emotional tributes to Karami, described by her boss as a “shining light.”

Edwards’s message, titled “When Life Isn’t Fair,” was relatable and uplifting to the multifaith crowd. Quoting Vance Havner’s book on grieving, Though I Walk Through the Valley, he spoke on the “dark days” we all face, “days of despair and discouragement, when there are more questions than answers.”

Speaking on the “senseless atrocity” killing Bahareh and 62 other Canadians and causing “dark days in our country,” Edwards noted, “Human beings—intelligently designed—are wired to respond negatively to … death.” He then offered a few faith-based approaches to grief:

  1. Affirm your new reality by beginning your healing.
  2. Pursue your nagging need for answers, as David did with God in Psalm 13.
  3. Cherish and reinvest in the people God has placed in your life.
  4. Trust God even when you don’t understand the happenings around you.

Edwards, a volunteer chaplain with York Regional Police, was requested by ceremony organizers to speak after having handled all religious aspects of the Dec. 6, 2018, swearing-in ceremony for York Region mayors and regional councillors.

Later, Edwards reflect on our mandate as Adventists. “Jesus after His resurrection instructed us to go into all the world, not just huddle in each other’s company at the expense of our mission. We must be sensitive to the needs of the community [as Christ was].”
—-Christelle Agboka, Ontario Conference