The memorial service for Leanne Payne will be April 11 at 6:00 PM at Edman Chapel on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. This will be a time to celebrate the life of a woman who brought the possibility of healing the whole person to many around the world through her personal ministry, her conferences and her books. But primarily, it will be an opportunity for us collectively to offer thanks to God for Leanne’s life and her ministry. The service will be live-streamed onwww.ministriesofpastoralcare.com
We will be eternally grateful that God spoke to Leanne Payne in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1971, and told her to pack all her belongings in her small car and travel (with an angel!) to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to study for her Masters Degree in English Literature. We were living in Fayetteville at that time and met Leanne as she taught an adult Sunday School class on C.S. Lewis at our church.
Leanne’s demeanor was like none other we had ever encountered. With few worldly belongings, she exuded a confidence, joy, and secure sense of being that belied her modest means and uncertain future. As we grew to know her we realized it was because of her total reliance on God and His provisions for her life.
Her faith in Him to “just show up” when she prayed, “Come Holy Spirit!” resulted in a Theophany of His Presence that changed our lives forever.
There are many wonderful tributes to Leanne on social media and personal websites and, as you read them, you will be amazed to discover the far-reaching scope of her world-wide influence to bring men and women to wholeness through her conferences, books, and willingness to speak God’s words into peoples’ lives. This JOURNEY ministry is one of many that was birthed from encounters with her.
We had just completed a wonderful Pastoral Care Ministries conference in Nyborg, Denmark, when I took the above picture of Leanne. It is my favorite picture of her and so I am sharing it with you with fond memories. She was always extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke and when the ferry lounge became smoke-filled, she insisted on going outside on the deck of the ferry. I said, “Leanne, you can’t go out there. There’s a blizzard and you have no coat with you!” But, she insisted. So, having just purchased a full-length Russian wolf coat at a real bargain in a consignment shop in Sweden before the conference, I wrapped it around her and out she went into the howling wind. I stood in the doorway and snapped this picture. Her expression says it all as she exclaimed with child-like joy, “I love this life!”
As Leanne requested before her death, a very small gathering of her intimate prayer group for the last two years gathered informally in her home to celebrate her life with Holy Communion and the sharing of our favorite Leanne stories. Also, honoring her request, Conlee officiated at a small private burial with only her immediate family in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she was laid to rest beside her mother and father. Her three grandchildren, Sara Clark, Joy Bostrom and Joseph Bostrom were in attendance (see picture below).
A public memorial service will be held in Wheaton, Illinois, within the next month. The time and place is to be announced. This will be an opportunity for a great celebration of the life of Leanne Payne, the fruitful ways in which God moved through her life, and thanksgiving to Him for the many ways He can use an obedient servant.