Pastor Rosalind Thompkins Lynch, a legendary choir director who trained generations of singers across denominations (Courtesy photo)
Pastor Rosalind Thompkins Lynch, a legendary choir director who trained generations of singers across denominations (Courtesy photo)

More than a thousand people filled the National Church of God on Feb. 3 to celebrate the life of , a choir director who trained generations of gospel vocalists across denominations.

Lynch, who died on Jan. 24 at the age of 75, was born Aug. 1, 1948, and raised in the Amityville area of Long Island, New York.聽

A child prodigy who was accepted to the Julliard School of Music at the age of 9, Lynch鈥檚 music ministry crossed denominational lines. During her years at Washington, D.C.鈥檚 Howard University, Lynch earned a聽 Bachelor of Music Education degree. She was one of the founders of the Howard University Gospel Choir with music icon Richard Smallwood.

In a more than 50-year career, Lynch trained voices with a strong attitude of excellence. She was the minister of music at , and .

The service was as eclectic as the music she performed. facilitated the beginning praise and worship part of the service, followed by the Howard University Gospel Choir, which sang, 鈥淪ing the Wondrous Love of Jesus鈥 and  鈥淟et the Church Say Amen.鈥

鈥淩osalind Lynch was a trailblazer; not everybody is a trailblazer,鈥 said recording artist Phillip Carter, who served as assistant director of the Howard University Gospel Choir. 鈥淭railblazers make paths for others long after the lives they live.鈥

, pastor of the National Church of God, struggled to limit pastors鈥 reflections to two minutes, as they shared tales of Lynch鈥檚 contributions. 

The Rev. Stan Holder, administrative bishop for the Delmarva region of the Church of God, read a letter on behalf of the church鈥檚 national leader. Holder called Lynch a 鈥渟ongbird of this church for many years.鈥 

鈥淭here is a big difference between a singer and a worship leader. Her songs always exalted God,鈥 Holder said.

Richard Smallwood spoke in a video before the Howard choir sang the hymn prior to the eulogy. He talked about how he and Lynch had so much fun singing at Howard.

鈥淭his is one of the saddest days of my life. I miss her so much,鈥 Smallwood said.

In addition to luminaries like Smallwood, the service highlighted Lynch鈥檚 family. Her husband of 41 years Elder Willie J. Lynch Jr.; two daughters, Victoria Lynch-Draper (Marcus) and Angelique Lynch-Jiles (Elliott);聽 two brothers, Emmet Jr., and Samuel Thompkins; and three grandchildren, Luke Draper, Caleb Jiles, and Logan Draper, are some of the family members who will continue to cherish her memory.

During the eulogy, focused on  Lynch鈥檚 children and considered how hard it was to bury his own mother. 

鈥漈his is what I consider a defining moment in your salvation,鈥 Peebles said. 鈥淚t is easy to worship God when things are easy, but how do you worship God when you are hurting?鈥

Peebles questioned: 鈥淟ord, how do I trust you when my heart is broken? How do I handle  this box going into the ground?鈥

The bishop had a clear answer: 鈥淵our mother is alive in the presence of the Lord.鈥

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *