Phill Grosser, a George Washington University (GW) student active in InterVarsity, was killed in a motorcycle accident the evening of May 27 in Colorado. He was attending an orientation for a summer missions trip to Liberia with Engineering Ministries International, an organization he connected with at Urbana 06.
As Phill put it, “God got a hold of my life, turned everything right-side up, and finally got me headed in His direction.” As a freshman Phill had decided to check out a few of the InterVarsity New Student Outreach events and he soon got plugged into an InterVarsity small group. Andrew, one of the small group leaders, began to spend time with Phill, to get to know him more, and they developed a friendship.
Then one evening at a small group meeting in September, Andrew invited Phill to take the step of faith and allow Jesus to be the leader of his life. Phill responded to that call and committed his life to the Lord that evening. Over the next four years, Phill lived out his faith on campus with great excitement. He loved sharing with his friends about the Gospel and how it had changed his life. In fact, everyone on campus knew Phill by sight. He was an eccentric, loveable guy who wore a long cloak and a hat with a feather, and was known campus-wide as “Feather Phill.”
At our campus-wide memorial service, led by InterVarsity staff and students, over a hundred students gathered from various segments of the campus to celebrate Phill’s life. Many of them came forward to share about how deeply Phill’s friendship had touched them. The service also provided a great opportunity for InterVarsity staff and students to share about the power of the Gospel that was at work in Phill’s life and that offers abundant life beyond death.
Phill was 22 years old. The family funeral service was held at the Londonderry Presbyterian Church, in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Please pray for Phill’s friends and family as they mourn. It’s been a rough time for many students who have lost a good friend. Please pray for healthy grieving and for God to use Phill’s death for His purposes on campus – we know that is what Phill would have wanted. He always had a strong desire to see God’s message spread.
I saw Phill almost every day in the InterVarsity student office or the cafeteria. I’m wondering how to grieve and model healthy grief, while also trying to care for students. Yet, in the midst, I can’t articulate enough how much God has shown me His grace and mercy this year, and how much easier it is to believe that He can redeem this situation, how he did not intend a world with suffering or the pain of death, and yet how much He stands with us in our pain – as we see with His own Son dying on the cross.
My pastor spoke recently about the first time he realized that the Gospel had to be big enough to cover more than the suffering we see here on earth, and how being a pastor had to be more than saying nice things Sunday morning. Talking with students and praying for them, I see clearly how little I have to offer, and how much God really does. And having seen God redeem so much I never thought possible this year – I know He can bring amazing redemption – and for that I am grateful.
Read articles on Phill Grosser in the Daily Colonial and the GW Hatchet.
Memorial donations can be made to Engineering Ministries International, 130 East Kiowa, Suite 200, Colorado Springs CO or InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana Missions Conference Scholarship in care of Londonderry Presbyterian Church, 126 Pillsbury Rd., Londonderry NH 03053.