Kyle's Benediction: Hannah Howard

Today marks the seven year anniversary of the loss of our pastor and dear friend Kyle Lake.  Kyle’s legacy lives on in many ways.  One thing that has been especially meaningful for UBC’ers, those who knew him and those who have joined us along the way since his passing, has been Kyle’s benediction that we say as a congregation at the end of the service.  I have asked several people to reflect on the benediction and share thoughts with us.  I will be posting their stories and artwork here for the next few days.


I’ve spent seven years trying to live by words that I never heard spoken by their original author.

 Love God, embrace beauty, live life to the fullest…. Simple words – innocent phrases with so much power. I didn’t know Kyle, but his legacy continues to influence me.

 I came to UBC with my family two weeks after the tragedy struck the community. I was ten, not an age that should have been able to grasp the gravity of the situation. But as a girl who had lost her own father two years earlier in an unexpected tragedy, this pain was real and relatable no matter my age. I’m not sure if I knew it then, but looking back now I know that we were supposed to end up at UBC.

My most formative years were spent in a community that had wrestled together with a grief that I understood. As I grew up, I watched people I look up to search for answers to the same questions I had. And through it all, we were guided by the words that are forever engrained in my mind.

So I guess I ultimately have Kyle to thank – for his life, his powerful words, and his legacy in a community that made me who I am. The chapter of my life spent with UBC has come to a close, but I will go forward with the lessons learned from the benediction – lessons in grief, community and faith.

May I always love, embrace, live… 


Throughout her years growing up at UBC, Hannah Grace Howard exuded the qualities implied by her middle name.  As noted in her piece, she and her family came to us, in a sense, broken, just as we were broken. For those of us who know Hannah, we agree with her: She was meant to be with us.  We helped each other be a little less broken in the wake of our losses.  Hannah recently graduated from Vanguard Preparatory School in Waco and is currently a Freshman at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.