Friday, June 13, 2008

Thoughts on the Passing of Rev. Dr. Alfred C. Acer

Rev. Dr. Alfred C. Acer has died of a massive heart attack. He was the Senior Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, the largest Lutheran congregation in Monmouth County.

Long a key figure in the public life of Long Branch and the surrounding area, Rev. Acer was active in many key community groups and was a strong proponent of cross-denominationational ecumenism.

Our condolences to his family, friends and his congregation.


Anonymous said...

I just spoke to Rev. Al on the phone yesterday. He was a good man and will be sorely missed by anyone who knew him. May he rest in peace.

Robert Goodman said...

When giants fall...

...the great land rumbles beneath the souls of our feet.

As beautiful a day as yesterday happened to be, it was a sad one; this June 13th.

The news arrived in two swift passes. First, while helping a friend with a minor computer problem and chatting about local issues, I learned that the Reverend Al Acer passed away in the morning from a massive heart attack.

I had worked with Al in several civic initiatives. Specifically, I recall a long conversation we shared behind the Brookdale Community Learning Center one evening regarding faith and spirituality. While my faith community, St. James, was in the search of a new Rector, he graciously offered his assistance at every turn.

Al's great gift to all of us was that he lived the Gospel. Not only lived it, but gave witness to it as well. I enjoyed the sermons he shared by e-mail.

I ran into him about a month ago in the Home Depot and we chatted briefly. I had asked how he was doing and he wiggled his hand in a sign of "not so ok" in regards to his health. I encouraged him to take care of himself...his work meant so much to so many people.

Later as I was picking Bryan up to go to the doctor, I heard the news that Tim Russert had passed away from a heart attack as well. I was surprised to find myself overwhelmed by emotion. Mr. Russert was journalist, father, husband and one of the devoutly faithful.

What always came across to me over the years of watching him in his role as journalist, and especially as author of two books on fatherhood, was his sense of easy graciousness for all that he had been blessed with in this life.

The words that came in reaction from Senator Edward Kennedy (in the midst of his own health struggle) were lovingly crisp and accurate in stating that Tim Russert possessed a "reasoned voice, a sharp mind and a fair hand".

If all of us aspired to be even half of what these men were in our lives and community, the world would undoubtedly be a much better place.

There have always been great men and I am faithfully assured that more will be among us in the future. But I'd be lying to you all if I said that today was the same as yesterday. Two giants have fallen and the great land rumbles beneath the souls of our feet...

Long Branch Advocate said...

The Long Branch Advocate SO WANTS to do a posting on Tim Russert as well, but keeping true to our pledge to focus on the life and times of Long Branch, it just didn't seem to fit.

We agree with robert goodman though, Russert was one of the greats and our civilization will be worse off without him.

Prayers go to his friends and family for a happier tomorrow.

Ava Benscoter said...

I, too was saddened and shocked to receive word that Pastor Acer had died suddenly on June 13, 2008. I had the honor and privilege of serving as his office administrator at Reformation Lutheran Church for several years. His legacy will forever be an inspiration to me and all those he ministered to in his life. My prayers go out to all who need comfort at this time of loss.

Bill Smith said...

Judy called at 1 PM on Friday with the devastating news. Elaine and I were reduced to tears and a brief hug. We collectively had lost a friend of thirty-five years and in my case a fellow Sunday school student, Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Luther Leaguer, high school and college friend. Al and I both graduated from college the same year and were proud owners of new 1968 automobiles; Al had a Mustang and I a Charger. The cars lasted well into the 70’s and were the basis of spirited debates as to which was superior.

Memories of the past fifty-five years have been in our thoughts and I would like to share the two most recent.

In March Elaine and I headed to Atlantic City for our anniversary. 10 miles from Long Branch our car broke down. Al came instantly to mind. Several phone calls and two tows led us to Al’s mechanic “Anthony”. Al drove us to Enterprise Car Rental and we were back on our way within 2 hours. Subsequently, the car was fixed thanks to Al and Anthony. During our short emergency visits to Long Branch we were treated like family by Al, the staff at Reformation and Anthony all of whom spoke highly of Al.

Last week I had occasion to speak to Al about his visit to a hospitalized friend who served as a mentor to both of us. I last spoke to Al on Thursday to further plan our visit to Ridgewood, Queens. Characteristically, I reached him in a hospital parking lot on his way to visit a patient.

Al will be sorely missed. He lived his faith in a quiet, consistent manner. Our condolences to Judy, Jen, Rob, Grace, the staff and members of Reformation and the members of the Long Branch community.

Rest in Peace Faithful Servant.

Elaine, Bill and Jesse Smith

Anonymous said...

From all who knew and loved Pastor Acer, thanks for the kind words -- and the photograph, which was taken by one of the parishioners he served so well. It captures his spirit in a special way.