I will officiate at a funeral on Saturday 13th August 2011. This will be my third funeral in four weeks. I have not been in this particular ministerial role since 2006.
Of course it’s all connected with my Rector’s retirement, and the vacation of my beloved Andrea Taylor, the assistant Rector at St. B’s on Siesta Key, SRQ, FL. I am stepping up to the plate in the absence of the “regular” St. B’s staff.
The first funeral was for a woman who was a faithful and prayerful member of the parish. I knew her and respected her.
Next was a funeral for a lovely woman who wasn’t exactly connected with the parish. But I had known her for so many years, dating back to my Pittsfield MA days. Back then I had visited her dying husband at the Berkshire Medical Centre in Pittsfield. When he passed I participated in his funeral at the Reformed Church in Chatham, N.Y. alongside that Church’s Pastor and a Roman Catholic Priest.
The woman’s name was Diane, and I reconnected with her when she moved to Englewood FL and I moved to Sarasota FL.
On Saturday I will officiate at a funeral for a woman I’d never met. She died of heart failure at the young age of 68 years. She was loosely connected with St. B’s. Since her death I have spent some time with one of her two sons. I will do my best to honour his Mum at the service tomorrow. Mostly I will try to speak of the good news (gospel) which Christians know in Jesus Christ.
1. I have officiated at countless funerals for women and men who’d had no Church affiliation.
2. I have officiated at countless funerals for men and women whom I’d never met.
It never gets to be easy. But I am glad to wear the banner of an “inclusive priest” who will offer prayers for any and all who have died.
I rejoice that G-d has called me to be an Anglican Minister and not a Roman Catholic "Priest", or Fundamentalist Pastor.