Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing alright so far this week. I have some upcoming things to highlight:
Upcoming Memorial Services/Calling Hours
Saturday 9/25 @11am on the Green: Memorial Service for Bill Crutcher. Please bring a chair. Reception to follow in the church Social Hall
Sunday 9/26 from 2-4: Calling hours for Lori Giannini at Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home in Southbury. Obituary is here: https://www.munsonloveterefuneralhome.com/obituary/Lori-Giannini
Saturday 10/2 @ 12pm in the Sanctuary: Memorial Service for Annamae Hardwick
Sunday 10/17 @2pm in the Sanctuary: Memorial Service for Lori Giannini
For those who weren’t able to attend the service for Skip Northrop this past Saturday, the service can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/UPEA8gRizM4
Services in the Sanctuary will be live-streamed. Service on the Green will be recorded and posted later.
Book and Bake Sale 10/16
On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book
The link to the Facebook event is here: https://fb.me/e/WkKPuJYH
Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm. We’re already getting a good number of donations!
This week, as we come to grips with the unexpected death of Lori in the middle of a season where we’re finally able to gather together to have services for our members who died at the height of the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favorite funeral prayers:
“O lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and a peace at the last. Amen.”
I say the prayer at the graveside, which is where the United Church of Christ Book of Worship puts it, but some denominations, like the Church of England, have it as one of the last prayers said in the church before heading to the cemetery. I find it really beautiful and appreciate the images of safe lodging and peace.
I was doing some research, and I found out the prayer is a relatively recent addition to English speaking worship. It’s actually the prayer from the end of a sermon by John Henry Newman, who led a 19th century movement in the Church of England called the Oxford Movement that broadly tried to make the Church of England more resemble the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, he converted to Catholicism and was made a cardinal. His writings both when he was Anglican and when he was Catholic were very influential, and the prayer by Newman was put in the 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer for the Episcopal Church.
Interestingly, the prayer was placed in family prayers section of the prayer book, and it was originally used as a nighttime/before bed prayer. I find it rather touching that a prayer families would say together before bed now serves as the prayer we use when we gather at someone’s final resting place; as the family of God, we gather together at the grave and say one last good night.