Rickie Brunner had a deep love for her congregation, First Christian Church of Montgomery, AL, as well as for the ministries of the Christian Church in Alabama and Northwest Florida.
While she had been contemplating her plans for some time, she used an upcoming surgery as motivation to put gifts she’d been considering for many months in place. Unfortunately, complications after surgery led to her death
Yet Rickie’s memory — and legacy — will live on: Her witness continues through her estate planning with the Christian Church Foundation. A permanent fund created at the Foundation will provide dollars to enhance the ministries of First Christian and the region.
“Rickie had an appreciation for the whole church and understood covenant as well as anyone I have known,” recalls the Rev. John Mobley, regional minister. “She was informed about the many expressions of the church and she fully grasped the interrelatedness of the many ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She was willing to serve wherever needed, realizing that she was an important part of the body — in her congregation, in the Region, and in the whole church. Her legacy will serve to remind all Disciples of their connection to God and to one another. ‘Through this connection,’ Rickie would say, ‘we can be agents of transformation, bringing wholeness to a fragmented world.’ ”
Foundation Vice President Randy Johnson worked with Rickie on her plan. “Most of us will not have the opportunity to put our plans in place ‘just in time’ as Rickie did. I thank God that she called her attorney to meet with her before her surgery to complete her plans. Rickie’s death at such a young age was sad. It would have been even more tragic if she had not completed her plans and her hopes and dreams for her gifts would not have become a reality.”
Her pastor, the Rev. Susan Diamond, said Rickie’s life was a collection of pictures. “One picture is our library. Rickie took care not only of FCC’s library, but was a state archivist. She was an encyclopedia of knowledge about history and was always reading and learning about cutting edge endeavors in the life of the church.
“Another picture is of Rickie with her camera. Rickie loved to take pictures of everything, and over the years she has helped to document our ministry in written word and picture. A third picture is our worship space. Rickie served as a leader in our worship ministry and loved planning and implementing creative worship services.
“The final picture in my mind, which says more than all of this, was the crowd of witnesses gathered at Rickie’s funeral. People were standing because all of the seats were filled. Rickie’s impact was deep and wide because her faith was deep and wide and overflowing.”