1/2/2017

Dear Friend,

Greetings from the Association for Christian Development

It is with deepest sorrow that I write to you about the death of the ACD’s Founder and Director, Kenneth Westby.  Ken Westby was my best friend and husband for over 53 years and I know he was also a very dear friend to many of you.  Before his death, I asked him to help me write this letter of farewell because I felt I was just not up to the task but unfortunately neither was he and so consequently it did not get done before he was gone.  He had touched so many with his kindness, profound knowledge of Scripture, and powerful teaching style that the mountain seemed too high for me to climb.

I procrastinated on getting this message out to you much longer than I should have.  I had so dreaded this day and  joined many of you in faithful prayer that it could be delayed and he be given a  few more years on this earth.  However, both Ken and I knew that the end was inevitable and would probably occur before the year was over given the state of his health.   In spite of my inability to write this earlier, people from across the world have learned of his passing and sent their love and support.  These messages included wonderful stories from people I did not even know describing how he had helped them and touched their lives in his own unique way. I feel absolutely lost without him so together we all mourn his death.

Ken died at 3:50 AM on December 8, 2016 with his family at his side. He was buried a few days later in a private family service.  We will be sending invitations to all of you for a public “celebration of life” event that will take place here in Seattle the first Sunday in April.  We hope all of you can join us at that time in an official goodbye and recognition of his ministry.  Bring your memories let us know ahead of time if you want to share publically.

For the last year, Ken valiantly fought the complications of diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure that in the end brought his body down. He made the decision to enter Hospice care here in his home about one week before he died.  At his death, he exhibited the same grace, dignity, devotion and love of God he had demonstrated throughout his life, particularly after, as he put it, he was “captured by God” in his early teens.   He knew he had been blessed by God and by the grace of God had lived a full and fruitful life and he fought hard to continue his ministry because he loved it so much, but he also knew that it was time to go.

He wrote a letter to many of you after the death of his friend and partner, Charles V. Dorothy, who left us June 16, 1996 after a fierce battle with cancer.  “When Sons and Daughters of God die the event is charged with a special importance.  As Charles slowly slipped away over months of pain and suffering, I believe those of us present witnessed an event of beauty, high and majestic. We beheld a truly righteous man finish his race, having faithfully endured to his mortal end, and taking that final glorious step to meet his Maker.  Before our very eyes he did what we all aspire to do, but have not yet done: overcome victoriously to the end”.

Despite my tears, I am encouraged by Both Charles and Ken’s courageous examples.  As I mentioned earlier, Ken loved life and letting go was not easy—not because he feared the future—he believed absolutely that the glorious future he knew was ahead, and that he had helped others grasp and embrace, was at hand for him — the next time he opened his eyes.

Ken had the assurance that after his death his heavenly Father would honor his prayers for the care and protection of his family and the friends he was leaving behind.  He knew that, one day, our end too will surely come and if we’ve continued in the Faith, God will also provide the strength for us to endure and die victorious.

Many of you who have known him over the years also know that he never wavered from his core message and that he was completely and totally devoted to the belief and guiding principle that

To know God is to love Him, and to love Him is to want to be like Him”

Helping others come to know the one and only true God was the principle that ruled Ken’s action throughout his life-long ministry.  He loved sharing the message of the coming Kingdom of God and God’s transformative love for all of us.

While he was alive, he helped many people in their own quest to find God and to build a strong relationship with their creator.  He cannot be replaced on the weekly virtual church, but I  believe we can honor his life’s work by continuing to make his messages available “virtually” to  many others through a “living website” that continues to be available as a resource and source of knowledge.

Ken would be honored and pleased by our efforts to preserve his legacy along with the messages of others who held similar beliefs and shared his efforts to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  I hope you will join us in these plans to continue the Association for Christian Development and keep the ACD website alive and available and  that you will also join us in  a “celebration of a life well lived”  on Friday March, 31st.  Tentative schedule is from 1-4 with food, fellowship and fond memories to comfort one another as we continue our own journey to a victorious end.

Sincerely,

JoAn Westby