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Pastor: Death of 6 teens is ‘love wake up call’ from God

Published: Tue, March 19, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.

Pastor delivers strong message at funeral for teen car crash victim


A mourner kisses the coffin of Daylan T. Ray, 15, after it was closed Monday as the Rev. Phillip Shealey of Greater Apostolic Faith Church in Warren delivers the eulogy. Daylan was one of six teens killed in a rollover SUV crash. The Rev. Mr. Shealey said parents have to be more vigilant as children grow.

By Ed Runyan



The Rev. Phillip Shealey said he knew he wouldn’t make everyone happy with the eulogy he gave Monday at the funeral of Daylan T. Ray, 15, one of the six teens killed in a March 10 car crash.

“Our children need us like never before. They don’t need you to sit in church. They need you to bring them to church,” he said.

Daylan was a student at the Willard K-8 School and a member of the Rev. Mr. Shealey’s church, Greater Apostolic Faith Church on Tod Avenue Northwest. The teen played football for the Niles Little Red Dragons and played baseball in the Warren Athletic Club.

“A lot of young people think death is the end, and it’s not. Too often at times like these we say, ‘Everybody’s going to heaven,’” Mr. Shealey said of funerals. “I got news for you. Everybody’s not going to heaven. There is a place called hell.”

Mr. Shealey said adults need to stop “petting” children, stop allowing them to misbehave and stop trying to be their friend.

Something has to be done or “we’ll be looking at caskets week after week after week. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s the truth: God allows things to happen for a reason. This is a love wake-up call. If you don’t wake up now, it’s going to get worse and worse.”

“We got to the point where we started giving our children things, trying to appease them and trying to win them,” he said. “Things they did when they were small you thought were cute. When you tried to correct them and told them no, they looked you in the face and told you ‘no’ back. When they were 2 and 4 years old, that was cute.

“When they got 12 and 14 they told you not only ‘no,’ they told you ‘shut up.’ That’s what happens when you don’t train a child,” he said.

The five boys ages 14 and 15, and girl, 19, who died in the crash were traveling south on Niles-Warren River Road, a mile south of downtown, when the car hit a guardrail and flipped into a pond.

Two people made it out of the car and sought help — Brian K. Henry, 18, and Asher C. Lewis, 15. The six others — driver Alexis Cayson, 19; Andrique Bennett, 14; Kirklan Behner, 15; Brandon Murray, 14; Ramone White, 15; and Ray — drowned.

The accident happened at 7 a.m. on a Sunday as the car traveled toward the neighborhood where most of the boys lived — apparently on their way home. Cayson had no license. No seat belts were worn. Police are still investigating where the youths had been overnight.

The last of the six funerals will be at noon today at New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church, 1590 Tod Ave. SW, for Ramone.

“Any time a child lives a life absent the knowledge of the Lord, you’re in trouble because he’ll say anything, he’ll do anything. He’ll be totally out of control. That’s where we are today.

“Until we get back to God, I got news for you: It’s not going to get better because we have not done our job. We sleep in our homes with a deadbolt on our own bedroom door because you’re afraid to live with somebody you brought into this world,” he said.

“A lot of them are suffering because of a lack of discipline in the home,” he said. “I got news for you. It’s not just your problem. It’s our problem. I talk to you who have raised your children. Now it’s time to adopt somebody else. Now is the time to pull someone to the side and say, ‘I love you. I’ll mentor you. I’ll be here for you.’”

He said if adults “don’t fix it now, some of these folks you’re petting on now will be breaking into your house. Some of these people you’re petting on will be stealing your car. Some of these people you’re petting, you will be looking down the barrel of a gun because they’ll be robbing you.

“It’s better to be frustrated working with them to correct the problem than to look at caskets week after week after week.”


1Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

""If you don’t wake up now, it’s going to get worse and worse.”

Give me a "amen" for Rev. Phillip Shealey. Finally someone who gets it and isn't afraid to say it like it is. Need more leaders like him. Great job Rev. Phillip Shealey!

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2peggygurney(408 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

He gets an 'Amen' from me.

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3rushblvd(15 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

"Amen" We definitely need more leaders to step up to the plate like Rev. Phillip..

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4polhack(129 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The real tragedy here is the relationship between parent and child, and it seems to have reached this sorry state over the course of a generation. A few more decades of kids allowed to disrespect parents, to assume they are entitled. to whatever they can get away with, and to cop an insolent attitude when they are pulled up short of harming themselves or others and God help us all.

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5gingerspice(142 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

"PREACH" Rev. Shealey! This is what GOD has annoited you to do!!! People, take heed!!!

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6NilesOhio(998 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

@Spence - That's exactly the point I was making with this grandstanding yesterday.

He is, in effect, blaming God for this which is anything but the case. Everybody wants God to intervene in times like this, yet pushes him out of their lives everywhere else. Truly study the Bible and you'll learn why God allows things to happen at the current time. It won't always be this way.

Most religious leaders, including Mr. Shealey, give inaccurate things meant to comfort people such as "They're in a better place", "God needed another angel", "It's all part of his plan." Those are simply not true, and is leading reasonable people to the same conclusion you reached - that God doesn't care. This couldn't be further from the truth.

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7DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The reverend is right about parental responsibility. These six kids died but how many 14 & 15 year old children will be out of their house this Saturday at midnight? More to the point, how many of their parents will be out of the house and not know where their kids are?

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8redvert(2240 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

You pretty well covered it Dwight!

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9walter_sobchak(2728 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I could cite numerous examples of God's intervention in human events but you would not believe them because you believe that faith is mythology. Yet, you say that our duty is to make this a better place for the poorest souls as taught by Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and MLK. But, these were all holy men who had unwavering faith in God. And, there have been selfish, evil people who use God's name for their personal gain and they will answer for it. We pray to God and our prayers are always answered but we simply can't believe the answer because it is not the one that we seek. Too often we pray for an intercession but are too demanding in our petitions to God. But, here is the good news: God will always love you regardless of your actions, unconditionally. The challenge is for YOU to love Him unconditionally.

May God bless you and allow you to see the folly of your ways!

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10LtMacGowan(714 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Right on Spence. Using this tragedy to fill his pews and to try and scare people with fictional stories of death and damnation its disgusting.

I keep thinking of this appropriate quote, however, I can not recall its author. "The god in the Old Testament is with out a doubt the most unpleasant character in all of fiction"

At times like this we should be turning to each other for support and love. Not reaching out to an imaginary bearded man in the sky.

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11NilesOhio(998 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

@Spence - The Bible is full of events where God intervened. However, since it's all just a "myth" to you, what's the point in trying to say anything?

Let me ask you one question - If there is no God, everything you see and touch, the earth, galaxies, the universe - where did all that come come from?

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12TheMenace(1 comment)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Spence, well, that makes two - God doesn't want to associate with a fool like you, either! We all can see that you and MacGowan don't believe in it. So, why am I not surprised you would spew out what you did? No wonder you cannot name one single event that God was responsible for? You would not realize it if it happened to you, anyway, as you will not have the privilege of seeing God work in your life. The rest of us have seen and experienced it. So, you and MacGowan can live your miserable lives - go to HELL!

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13Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Why even bother with fools that don't believe in God. No one will ever know what happens when we die, but I'll be damned if I'm going to take a chance of not believing in the God Almighty. The rewards are worth it. Feel sorry for you's that miss that.

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14dawn421(265 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

lets get off the bible train here. the whole issue here is that parents did not pay attention to what their kids were doing. and if truth be told they were probably gone the whole weekend. yes it is awful, but also avoidable.

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