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June 24, 2019
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Barry Lowe

Dec 24 2018

I first met Barry Lowe at an event in the Augusta, Maine area called the Salt of the Earth Fair. In the 1980s, Christian music festivals were all the rage, and Maine was trying to create its very own. My wife, Sue, and I were there juggling, of course, and Barry was singing with a band called the Resistance. I remember watching his set, but I don't know what if anything, we talked about beyond "nice to meet you."

Being young and new to performing arts ministries in Maine (hardly Nashville), our paths crossed a lot for a while. Other festivals, a cruise ship, concerts. He formed a new band fairly early on named the Blacksmiths, and that has been the groups name ever since. I remember one Saturday morning when the chaplain at the local Youth Corrections facility had accidentally double booked the Blacksmiths and us. We agreed to share the hour long service and it was a lot of fun.

Somewhere along the way, Barry gave me a copy of the Blacksmiths' first cassette tape. They did a contemporary version of the hymn "Near the Cross". Listening to it in the car one day, Sue pointed out that it had the perfect beat for devil stick juggling. I soon created a routine for it that I still perform today. I have done this routine to Barry's vocals from New England to Montana to Mexico, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uganda and the DR. Barry's voice has been heard far beyond any places he had the chance to visit himself.

In recent years, Barry has been the director of the Rock House Teen Center in Oxford, Maine. Our paths continued to intersect, but in a new context: a couple times a year he would have us up to do our show for the young people who frequent this outreach.

Friday night, December 21, my daughter, Rose, and I once again head up route 117 toward Oxford to perform at the Rock House Christmas party. It was slow going due to the fog created by a sudden warm rain that was quickly melting our snow pack. We arrived at the Rock House right on time, but we knew something was different. A car or two were already leaving the parking lot, and a young woman was out in the rain talking to people as they arrived. She came to our car and told us Barry had been in an accident on his way to the center and was on his way to the hospital, unconscious in an ambulance. I was so proud of Rose, who insisted she and I pray for Barry before ever leaving the parking lot.

The next morning, we got this message on Facebook: "For those who have not heard, it is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Barry Lowe. Although it was sad to see him go, we know he is rejoicing with his Savior..."

I'm not going to say Barry and I were close friends, but we were colaborers in ministry around the state of Maine for three decades. Well done, good and faithful servant. You are now, for all eternity, near the cross.

"Near the Cross" by Fanny Crosby

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain—
Free to all, a healing stream—
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and Mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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