A youth pastor died after succumbing to complications with the flu. Allison Williams, 36, of Reddington Christian Church in Seymour, Indiana passed away on January 20th after contracting the flu about a week earlier. A memorial service was held last night at the church where Williams served.
“She was the best youth minister that I have ever had the privilege of working with. She was my colleague and my sister in Christ, but more than that she was my friend,” senior pastor Scott Brown said at her memorial service. Moreover, Brown said she acted more like an associate pastor than a youth minister and was “willing to do whatever was necessary for the body of Christ.”
According to a local news outlet, Williams’ mother believes the youth pastor contracted the flu while attending Tennessee Christian Teen Convention with her youth group. After the group returned home from the trip, Williams’ condition continued to decline. Brown and his wife checked on Williams over the weekend a couple times, but on Monday, Brown said he noticed she was worse. Eventually, Brown convinced Williams to let him drive her to the hospital. “I got her to the car, took her directly to the Seymour hospital and we weren’t there three minutes and she went into cardiac arrest,” Brown told reporters. “With going septic, that can happen so quickly, and the damage is done. The doctor said even if we had brought her in earlier, it wouldn’t have mattered.”
“Her passing has left me as numb as it has you,” Brown said at Williams’ memorial. Brown spoke about Williams’ deep faith in God, which didn’t waver despite the many health problems she experienced over the years. Four years ago, Williams had two strokes. Brown said she was greatly affected by the strokes and told him, “You need to find a new youth minister who isn’t broken.” Yet, Brown said she didn’t waver in her faith. She also experienced a series of eye problems and consequent surgeries, and still didn’t waver in her faith.
Williams had a reputation for being loyal to the kids she served. “When I tell you she loved the kids, you guys know that is an understatement,” Brown said. She referred to the kids as “my kids.” Brown also commended those present from the youth group Williams oversaw, saying they respected her. Brown told the group they are “surrounded by adults who love and care about you deeply.”
Brown said “It’s all right,” to grieve and ask why something like this happened, “as long as we don’t lose faith. Because our hope is never in people, it’s found in Jesus Christ.” Brown said he would miss her friendship and “the laughter we often shared in the office together.”
Williams’ brother, Nathan, shared stories about Allison’s relationship with her family. Nathan recalled Allison talking to her mother nearly every day. “She could talk to you, and you could talk to her,” he said, addressing his mother in the sanctuary. He also said that during college Allison’s father was her best friend.
Nathan said that it is true that we suffer together, but in that suffering, we have each other. We are not alone.
Williams served at the church for 11 years. She held a Bachelor’s Degree from Johnson Bible College. She leaves behind numerous friends and family and a youth group that will certainly miss her.