Jay Bakker, pastor of Revolution Church in New York City, announced yesterday evening that his mom, Tammy Faye Messner, has passed away:

After fighting cancer for eleven years, my mother passed away on July 20 at 4AM. She had a very peaceful death and is no longer in pain. To grant her wish she was cremated today and her ashes were buried at a private ceremony. The service was performed by my good friend Randy McCain of Open Door Community Church in Sherwood, AR.

Thank you to everyone for their prayers and support over the years – it has helped me more than you will ever know. Please continue to pray for her husband Roe as well as the rest of my family.

A public ceremony is currently being planned – an update will be sent once the details are finalized along with where to send flowers. I ask that all press would please allow me to grieve privately at this time. Thank you.

Jay Bakker

My sincerest condolences go out to Jay, as he’s dealing with the loss of his mom. In the past several months, he spent days at a time with her, not knowing when she would finally breathe her last.

Tammy Faye’s greatest legacy is that she reached out to people when they were most rejected. During the height of the AIDS crisis, she ministered to those striken with the deadly disease. She loved the GLBT community, and she was loved by us as well.

That her wish was that “her friend Randy McCain” from Open Door Church in Sherwood, Arkansas provide ministry during the private memorial was a testimony to just how much she loved people, no matter what. McCain had become friends with Jay as well. In fact, Jay saw first-hand what gay Christians were really like when he visited McCain’s church last year.

Tammy’s message was always about strength and grace. Life gave her a lot of lemonade, and as she often sang in her PTL days, she made lemonade. She suffered with cancer for eleven years, and her final appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live was a message of love to everyone.

But there is no lemonade when someone loses their mother. My prayers go out to Jay and his wife Amanda, and his sister Tammy Sue (who stayed with their mom as a caretaker) during this time of deep loss.

Every time someone famous dies, the first thing we want to do is memorialize them, and talk about their legacy. In Tammy Faye’s case, her first and greatest legacy was her children and grandchildren, who are in need of prayer and support. Let’s remember them, and keep them in all of our thoughts.

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