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Joyce Kramer Memorial Booklet

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Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong><br />

September 22, 1930 – February 22, 2022


Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong><br />

Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong>, 91, of Virginia Beach, passed away peacefully at<br />

home, Tuesday, February 22, 2022.<br />

Born <strong>Joyce</strong> Jeanette Thomas in Mount Fair, Virginia, in the foothills<br />

of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on September 22, 1930, she grew up<br />

on the family farm. Her love of animals and the outdoors continued<br />

throughout her life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business education<br />

from Madison College (now James Madison University) and a master’s<br />

degree in business administration from Miami University of Ohio.<br />

In October 1963 she and her two daughters visited a Unity Church in<br />

Hamilton, Ohio. Three years later, after ministerial training from Unity<br />

School of Christianity, she moved to Virginia Beach. There she taught<br />

high school for one year and in October 1966 began teaching Unity<br />

classes at the YMCA on Freemason Street in Norfolk. She held the<br />

first worship service in January 1967. Lowell Fillmore, son of Unity’s<br />

cofounders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, ordained her in 1968.<br />

As Rev. <strong>Kramer</strong> became known for her inspirational teaching and<br />

community service, attendance at Unity of Norfolk steadily increased.<br />

In 1970 the church purchased 11.2 acres of property in Virginia Beach<br />

and became Unity Church of Tidewater. By 1974 the debt on the<br />

property was paid in full and construction began. Meanwhile services<br />

were held at the Sheraton Inn at Military Circle Shopping Center. Rev.<br />

<strong>Kramer</strong> led the first service in the new facility on December 23, 1979,<br />

as the congregation participated in the Annual Christmas Candlelight<br />

Service. The church continued to grow, with a new 1000-seat sanctuary<br />

opening in May 1991.<br />

Over the course of 50 years, Rev. <strong>Kramer</strong> delivered thousands of<br />

sermons, conducted weekly classes, taught continuing education courses<br />

at five area schools, and spoke for many local organizations. Her teachings<br />

reached far beyond her community. For 27 years, she recorded more<br />

than 1,400 weekly radio broadcasts for Radio Africa, reaching listeners<br />

in Ghana and Nigeria. Volunteers distributed 40,000 audio recordings of<br />

her messages. Her Sunday morning radio programs in the United States<br />

were broadcast for 25 years. In addition, for nearly 50 years she recorded<br />

daily inspirational messages for her 24-hour telephone ministry known<br />

as Dial-A-Blessing. These were later the basis for her devotional book,<br />

A Year of Blessings. She spread her teachings through others, as well; at<br />

least nine Unity ministers got their start at Unity Church of Tidewater.<br />

2


In addition to developing her own ministry, Rev. <strong>Kramer</strong> served as<br />

president of the Association of Unity Churches for the 1976–77 term<br />

of office and was a visiting instructor for the Unity School of Religious<br />

Studies. Her writings have appeared in Daily Word, Unity Magazine, and<br />

many other publications.<br />

Her work has been recognized by local, national, and international<br />

organizations. She was named Hampton Roads Outstanding Professional<br />

Woman and received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the<br />

Elimination of Racism from the YWCA of South Hampton Roads.<br />

Her international radio programs won her the Voice of Unity Award<br />

for Excellence in Broadcast Outreach. She received the Myrtle Fillmore<br />

Award in 2002 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 from<br />

Unity Worldwide Ministries. In 2017, Unity World Headquarters<br />

recognized Rev. <strong>Kramer</strong>’s half-century of service in a special presentation<br />

made by Unity CEO Jim Blake.<br />

Following her retirement from Unity Church of Tidewater, she<br />

launched <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong> Ministries through which she published an<br />

Advent guide, Celebrate Christmas, and two books, The Bible Speaks to You<br />

and God’s Twelve Gifts to You, a practical application of Charles Fillmore’s<br />

teaching on the Twelve Powers. Rev. <strong>Kramer</strong>’s voice is still heard online<br />

at joycekramerministries.com where her writings are also available.<br />

She is survived by her daughter Carolyn Tancock ( Jim); two grandchildren,<br />

James Tancock (Brittany Leigh) and Alexander Tancock; and<br />

four nieces, a nephew, and their families. She was predeceased by her<br />

daughter, Sandra Batchelor, in 2019.<br />

3


Top left: <strong>Joyce</strong> at Madison College (now James Madison University) in Harrisonburg, Virginia,<br />

1949. Top right: <strong>Joyce</strong> in her teens, around 1947. Bottom left: Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong> speaks to congregants<br />

at the groundbreaking for Unity Church of Tidewater. Bottom right: A delighted <strong>Joyce</strong> feeds her pet<br />

lamb, a gift from her favorite uncle.<br />

4


Top left: Screenshot of an interview by Mark Hicks with Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong>, videotaped in her<br />

church office December 6, 2013. The interview may still be seen at truthunity.net. Top right: Rev.<br />

<strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong> at Unity Church of Tidewater. Bottom: <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong>’s home in Virginia Beach for<br />

more than 50 years. Here she raised her daughters and, in her basement study, wrote thousands of<br />

sermons, radio broadcasts, and Dial-A-Blessing messages.<br />

5


Psalm 23<br />

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.<br />

He makes me to rest in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters.<br />

He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness<br />

for his name’s sake.<br />

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,<br />

I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff<br />

they comfort me.<br />

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;<br />

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.<br />

Surely thy goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;<br />

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.<br />

(Lamsa translation)<br />

Top: <strong>Joyce</strong> enjoying a laugh with her daughters, Carolyn (left) and Sandy (right).<br />

Bottom: Christmastime with Carolyn and Sandy, 2011.<br />

6


Top: <strong>Joyce</strong>’s son-in-law, Jim Tancock, accompanies her after a<br />

1989 wedding she officiated. Bottom: <strong>Joyce</strong> with her grandsons,<br />

Alex (left) and James (right), 2007.<br />

7


Top: Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong>, 1996, in a newspaper interview about her radio ministry to Africa.<br />

Bottom: This newspaper photo of Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong> appeared in The Ledger-Star in 1968,<br />

the year she was ordained by Lowell Fillmore. Durer’s “Praying Hands” dominate the foreground<br />

with Sallman’s painting, “The Head of Christ,” overlooking her. PHOTO BY NEAL<br />

V. CLARK JR.<br />

8


Cultivate the Seed of Greatness in You<br />

By Rev. <strong>Joyce</strong> <strong>Kramer</strong><br />

Are you settling for mediocrity in life? Are you just going along in an<br />

average, ordinary way, sort of lukewarm? Or are you taking the time and<br />

making the effort to cultivate that seed of greatness that God implanted<br />

within you?<br />

Are you inclined to give up or give in, settling for less than the best<br />

in life?<br />

There is no need to do so. You have the God-given ability to experience<br />

the best that life has to give. You are greater than the things that<br />

happen to you. You need not, nor should you, settle for less than you<br />

desire in life.<br />

Keep working toward greater things. You have the seed of greatness<br />

within you. Cultivate it. Great good is in store for you. You are a child of<br />

God, an offspring of the powerful, loving, creative Spirit of the universe.<br />

This means that you have inherited the very nature of God. Let this<br />

nature be expressed through you now.<br />

I praise and give thanks for the Spirit of God that is within me.<br />

I diligently and persistently learn to express it.<br />

9


The Traveler<br />

By James Dillet Freeman<br />

She has put on invisibility.<br />

Dear Lord, I cannot see—<br />

But this I know, although the road ascends<br />

And passes from my sight,<br />

That there will be no night;<br />

That You will take her gently by the hand<br />

And lead her on<br />

Along the road of life that never ends,<br />

And she will find it is not death but dawn.<br />

I do not doubt that You are there as here,<br />

And You will hold her dear.<br />

Our life did not begin with birth,<br />

It is not of the earth;<br />

And this that we call death, it is no more<br />

Than the opening and closing of a door—<br />

And in Your house how many rooms must be<br />

Beyond this one where we rest momently.<br />

Dear Lord, I thank You for the faith that frees,<br />

The love that knows it cannot lose its own;<br />

The love that, looking through the shadows, sees<br />

That You and she and I are ever one!<br />

10


Top: <strong>Joyce</strong>’s childhood home in the foothills of Afton Mountain in Mount Fair, Virginia.<br />

Middle: Unity Church of Tidewater is well integrated into its natural environment. Skylights<br />

and stained glass allow the sanctuary to be filled with filtered light, creating a peaceful<br />

and reverent atmosphere. Photo circa 2011. Bottom: Gardening gave <strong>Joyce</strong> great joy. She<br />

loved flowers of all kinds, including the daffodils in her yard.<br />

11


<strong>Joyce</strong> at her kitchen table, January 7, 2022.<br />

Beauty is a light in the heart.<br />

—Khalil Gibran

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