memorial services

A Celebration of His Life and of His Love of Life

Chorale Prelude Nun komm der Heiden Heiland by J.S. Bach

Welcome: Rev. Lissa Anne Gundlach

Good morning and welcome to All Souls Church. My name is Reverend Lissa Anne Gundlach. I am glad to welcome you to this time to honor the life of your friend and loved one Eric. We are gathered in this sanctuary of memory and hope to mourn the great loss which has come to pass. We gather with one another in our grief  as well as our gratitude for the gift of Eric’s life. We are gathered to celebrate his life in spirit in which he lived, with words, candles, music and silence.

Eric loved life. 

He loved to laugh, to joke and to make people smile. His joy at being alive was absolutely contagious, touching every person in this room. And so, today, we come to hold all of our grief and all of our joy together, leaning into one another for comfort and communion. We know that our memories keep Eric’s spirit alive; and his love lives on through our words and deeds. So let us begin our journey together of turning grief into gratitude, mourning into celebration, tears into laughter. We will stretch our hearts open wide to make space together for the great mystery of being alive and having to die. 

We begin with a moment of silence and a lighting of the chalice flame, symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. We ask love to hold us and comfort us in this hour. May we honor Eric’s life with integrity and joy, beauty and truth. May this time be dedicated to the source of love and life we call God. Amen 

And now will the children come forward to the chancel to light our chalice candle. 

Chalice Lighting: children

We light this chalice for laughter

We light this chalice for memories

We light this chalice for friendship

We light this chalice for love

Daybreak in Alabama, composed by John Stone

Amy Bartram, soprano and John Stone, piano

A Reading from Love and Death by the Rev. Forrest Church

Few of us are unafraid of death. Death is the ultimate mystery. But there is a way to counter this fear. It lies in our courage to love. Our courage to risk. Our courage to lose. Many people have said it in many different ways. The opposite of love is not hate. It is fear.

There are so many instances in our daily lives when our fears stand in the way of our potential to love. How many ways we find to armor and protect ourselves. We sense the risk, of course. That is the main reason we act in the ways we do. Every time we open ourselves up, every time we share ourselves with another, every time we commit ourselves to a cause or to a task that awaits our doing, we risk so very much. We risk disappointment. We risk failure. And beyond these things, we risk the enormous pain of loss. We pay for love with pain, but love is worth the cost. If we try to protect ourselves with suffering, we shall manage only to subdue the very thing that makes our lives worth living. 

Prayer 

Will you join me in the spirit of meditation and prayer

Spirit of life and love, 

God of many names 

And beyond all naming

We pause this morning

In humble gratitude for the gift of life

Honoring the great life of our beloved

The unique gifts he brought into the world

And his deeply loving spirit 

That touched each of us so deeply. 

We are so grateful for life, and for Eric’s life. 

In our moments of deepest sadness, dear spirit,

We ask that we would be comforted

As we journey the way of grief, alone and with others

We ask for your gentle hands to guide us

Towards the way of healing and wholeness.

Warm our wintering hearts, oh God, 

As spring begins to dawn with its sweet promise of buds and new life,

Dear spirit, may we also find ways to open to life’s eternal promise of rebirth-- from joy to joy, wing to wing, blossom to blossom.

May infinite love live on within us and through us always. 

These things and many more into the silence we now pray. 

Amen and blessed be

Musical Interlude:

April Rain Song, composed by John Stone

Amy Bartram, soprano and John Stone, piano

I now invite Bob Skippon to the chancel to offer his remembrance. 

Remembrances:

Bob Skippon

Kirby Williams 

Erica Oatman Duffy

Candle Lighting

We acknowledge that a great light has gone out in our midst. As you feel so moved will you come and light a candle of remembrance and hope in memory of Eric’s life. By so doing, you honor the light he brought into this world which will live on in our hearts forever. 

Remembrances: 

Hymn #18: What Wondrous Love

Benediction

We have come to the end of our memorial service. We have done our best in this moment to hold our memories of Eric’s vibrant and joyful life. With gratitude for all who have contributed to this celebration of life—through music and candlelight, story and song—I acknowledge that no one memorial can honor the complexity of a life lived to the fullest. The complex tapestry of a Eric’s life can only be fully honored through the legacy we, the living carry on through our words and deeds.  So as we move from this place—I remind you of our shared charge—to continue telling the stories of Eric’s life, to joke, to laugh and play music, to share his gifts with generations as they grow. And most of all, to keep loving life as he did. Through this legacy of love, will Eric’s spirit truly live on.   

And now in our going may God bless us and keep us. 

May the light of God shine upon us, and out from within us 

And be gracious unto us and grant us peace

For this is the day we are given 

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Postlude  

 

        Memorial for Helen 

Welcome: Good morning and welcome to All Souls Church. My name is Reverend Lissa Anne Gundlach, and it is my honor to welcome you to this celebration of the life of your friend and loved one Helen. In our grief and our gratitude, we are gathered in this sanctuary of memory and hope to mourn the great loss which has come to pass and to offer our thanks the gift of Helen’s life. We celebrate her life in the spirit of which she lived, with joyful reverence for each day. While I didn’t have the pleasure or the honor of knowing your beloved, I know that she loved life. She loved to laugh, to dance and to be amongst friends. Her joy at being alive was absolutely contagious, touching every person in this room. She was inspirational to you, her friends and family, and drew inspiration from you. We know that our memories keep her spirit alive; and her love lives on through our words and deeds. 

So let us begin our journey together of turning grief into gratitude, mourning into celebration, tears into laughter. We will stretch our hearts open wide to make space together for the great mystery of being alive and having to die. 

We ask love to hold us and comfort us in this hour. May we honor Helen’s life with integrity and joy, beauty and truth. May our time be dedicated to the source of love and life we call God and for the benefit of all beings. I recall to mind words from the book Love and Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow by the Rev. Forrest Church, the beloved former minister of this congregation. 

    Few of us are unafraid of death. Death is the ultimate mystery. But there is a way to counter this fear. It lies in our courage to love. Our courage to risk. Our courage to lose. We pay for love with pain, but love is worth the cost.  If we try to protect ourselves with suffering, we shall manage only to subdue the very thing that makes our lives worth living.

Helen knew this wisdom well. She loved courageously. Her life was not without suffering, and yet she brought to life a great sense of optimism as well as deep compassion and an interest in easing suffering of others. And so as we move into a time of prayer and silence we begin with a loving kindness prayer from the Buddhist tradition.

May I be filled with loving kindness.

May I be well.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

May I be whole.

 

May you be filled with loving kindness.

May you be well.

May you be peaceful and at ease.

May you be whole.

 

May all beings filled with loving kindness.

May all well.

May all be peaceful and at ease.

May all be whole

silence

Spirit of life and love, 

God of many names 

And beyond all naming

We pause this morning

In humble gratitude for the gift of life

Honoring the great life of our beloved

The unique gifts she brought into the world

And her deeply loving spirit which touched each of us. 

We are so grateful for life, and for this precious life we celebrate. 

In our moments of deepest sadness, dear spirit,

We ask that we would be comforted

As we journey the way of grief, alone and with others

We ask for your gentle hands to guide us

Towards the way of healing and wholeness.

As the leaves begin to fall, the winds blow strong and the seasons change, may we also find ways to open to life’s eternal promise of rebirth, in all the seasons of life. 

May infinite love live on within us and through us always. 

And will you join if you feel comfortable in offering the Lord’s Prayer as you know it. 

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy will be done

 on earth, As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
But deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

Our first hymn is “For the Beauty of the Earth.” You will find the words printed in your order of service. Please rise as you are able. 

HYMN For the Beauty of the Earth

Please be seated. 

Now we will hear some of Gordy’s treasured words of spiritual wisdom offered by loved ones. I invite Robert Pennoyer to join me on the chancel, followed by Jamie Drayton. 

READINGS

Psalm 23  

Serenity Prayer  

REFLECTIONS  

MUSICAL MEDITATION  

READINGS

Prayer of St. Francis  

Gone from My Sight 

Our second hymn, Simple Gifts, is found in the hymnal in the pew in front of you. Please turn to hymn #16 and rise as you are able to join in singing. 

HYMN #16 Simple Gifts

REFLECTIONS Katie Woodhouse Meigs

BENEDICTION

And so we have come to the end of our memorial service. We have done our best in this moment to hold our memories of the vibrant and joyful life of Helen. With gratitude for all who have contributed to this celebration of life—through music, readings, story and song—I acknowledge that no one memorial can honor the complexity of a life lived to the fullest. The complex tapestry of a life can only be fully honored through the legacy we, the living carry on through our words and deeds.  So as we move from this place—I remind you of our shared charge—to continue telling the stories of her life, to share her gifts with generations as they grow. And most of all, to keep loving life as she did. Through this legacy of love, will her spirit truly live on.  

And now in our going may God bless us and keep us. 

May the light of God shine upon us, and out from within us 

And be gracious unto us and grant us peace

For this is the day we are given 

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

And now will you please rise to join in singing our final hymn, Amazing Grace. 

HYMN: Amazing Grace

POSTLUDE

 

 

25th Anniversary of AIDS Task FORCE 

   AIDS Memorial Service, Dec. 2010

    Rev. Lissa Gundlach and Rev. Dick Leonard

Prelude

Welcome Lissa Gundlach

Opening words Rev. Leonard

Chalice Lighting

In our time of grief, we light a  flame of sharing, the flame of ongoing life. In this time when we search for understanding and serenity in the face of loss, we light this sign of our quest for truth, meaning, and community. Christine Robinson 

Reading “I Think Continually Of Those Who Were Truly Great”     Rev. Leonard

Musical Interlude

Candle Lighting- Rev. Leonard introduces the Sharing of Names with stories about members. 

Musical Interlude

Litany

A LITANY FOR ALL SOULS AIDS MEMORIAL SERVICE

Adapted by Lissa Gundlach from Worship Resources for HIV & AIDS Ministries by Patricia D. Brown and Adele K. Wilcox

ONE: We gather here today for a moment. A moment to remember, to name those we have lost and to honor our commitment to ending AIDS and healing our world. 

MANY: A moment when we honor their gifts and the worth and dignity of all. 

ONE: A moment of compassion for those directly affected by HIV/AIDS.

MANY: A moment where we can offer comfort and witness to those who suffer illness or grieve loss. 

ONE: A moment of courage, to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy by getting tested and knowing our status. 

MANY: A moment to affirm all for who they are and who they love.

ONE: A moment in which we acknowledge the fear, stigma, shame and confusion which still surrounds the HIV/ AIDS epidemic.  

MANY: A moment when we stand in solidarity with the care partners, educators, health care workers, and researchers as they continue their diligent labor.

ONE: A moment where we re-commit to educating young people to keep themselves healthy and end AIDS in the next generations.

MANY: A moment when we remember children infected, impacted, or made orphans by the HIV/ AIDS virus.  

ONE: In this moment, we remember we are all living with HIV/ AIDS.

We are all in need of healing.

MANY: In this moment, we remember we are all living with HIV/ AIDS. We are all holy and whole.

AMEN.

Closing Rev. Lissa Gundlach