October 31, 2021
Sunday Worship, All Saint’s Remembrance
Welcome & Call to Worship— Welcome here this morning. May we find peace as we come together before God and one another – whether our hearts and minds are gathered here at Long’s Park or if we’re worshipping from home or elsewhere.
All Saints’ Day has been observed for most of the Church’s history. Traditionally, it’s been a time to remember saints whose name everyone knows: St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Francis. Then, on All Souls’ Day, people have remembered ‘the faithful departed’: the ordinary people who may not have made such a public mark on the world, but who made their mark on their loved ones.
That’s who we’ll be honoring today – our own “saints”. As we do, may we remember that those who have lived were made for God and were meant for heaven. Today we remember them, remember that they are still part of us, and that beyond our horizons, beyond our boundaries, beyond our understanding, they are held in God’s embrace.
Come now and be with us.
Let us stay in You, since if we be all in You,
we cannot be far from one another,
though some may be in heaven and some upon the earth.
Adapted from a passage in David Elginbrod by George MacDonald,
Celtic Daily Prayer Book
Congregational Song— O Blessed Spring, VT #522
Children’s Time— Jane Weigel
Offering—Thank you for your continued support of your congregation. Our budget supports our staff, our building, our congregational care, and our outreach commitments. We are grateful that this community can be a place to seek and give mutual aid and to reach out beyond our community, too. Thanks so much for being the church and giving to the work of the church.
In faith and hope, we turn to you once again.
Please use our gifts for your work of love in the world.
Scripture—Romans 8:31-35, 37-39
Remembering Together—Four CMCLers will respond to the these questions:
- How do you honor/connect with your “saints” on the other side?
- How do they live on?
- How have you learned to live on?
Pam Brubaker—read by Susan Gascho-Cooke
The people that I consider “my saints on the other side” are my parents: my dad who died 4 years ago and my mom who died 2 years ago. They married young and were told that they could never have kids. What actually happened is that they had 9 kids in less than 13 years; I am the 7th of those 9 children. They both had tough childhoods: poverty and alcoholic fathers. My mom suffered from a terrible mental illness and my parents did not have language to understand that or resources to help. Our growing up years were complicated! But my parents kept going and kept trying, they kept getting back up. Family meant everything to them.
How do I honor/connect with my saints on the other side? One of the most beautiful things I have learned since my parents’ passing is that our relationship is far from over. I continue to talk to them often (I yelled at both of them at length a few days ago, and I have done quite a bit of apologizing too!) I sense their responses in unique and sweet ways. My relationship with both my mom and dad continues to become healthier and more authentic and honest, and the connection is growing and healing. This is a beautiful mystery!
One of the most important things for me during this season is to give myself permission to be honestly angry about the ways that my parents failed me and tell them. I trust that this will be good for our continued relationship and healing.
How do they live on?In my family! My 8 brothers and sisters and I communicate constantly remembering our parents, just yesterday my sister texted our sibling group-text about how she was making soup and Thanksgiving memories flooded back. I see my parents’ wisdom, creativity, love, dedication to family, fun loving spirit and perseverance live on in my siblings, children, nieces and nephews and their kids. Truly, my parents live on in beautiful ways.
How have I learned to live on?I have learned so much from them since their deaths! Two big things I have learned are around hope and healing. When my dad died after a brief illness, I felt like there were some big things that needed to be talked about and worked through, and I felt this deep sorrow that these things would never get healed between us. But I have found that the conversation continues, and this gives me such hope, there is a deep and profound ongoing healing happening in my relationships with my parents.
Daryl Snider —All of my grandparents and both my parents have now left us in body, but they do live on in remnants that remain.
I have a small set of carving tools that my grandpa John Harman gave me from his tools—he had turned unique handles for each one, so he could identify them quickly at a glance, or by feel. We have furniture that he made in our house, including a partially-finished table, which I still hope to finish.
When I gather tax documents together, I remember how my Dad, Sandy Snider, actually enjoyed doing taxes! I often wish I could ask his advice on financial or legal matters. I also have tools Dad gave me, as well as tools, furniture and cookware from his parents. I moved into his mother—my grandma’s—house after she had a stroke, in the late 90s. Jean and I still live in that house, so there are regular memories there. I even wear my Dad’s clothes (this sweater, shoes, jacket).
My mom, Gloria Harman Snider, died this past May. I wear hats that she knitted for me. I make her recipes. I eat homegrown tomato sandwiches and remember how much she loved them. I wish I could still ask her advice on food, garden, sewing, etc. We sound techs used one of her purple handbags to carry the wireless mics to outdoor church—until this week—when the backordered case arrived. I’m still trying to grasp that she is truly gone.
I sometimes write songs as a way to memorialize people. When Grandpa, Dad and Glen Lapp each died, a new song emerged. Every time I sing them, the memories come flooding back.
My Mom died of a massive stroke this past May. Just a year earlier she had remarried, and I tried to write a song for their wedding. It was mostly finished, but somehow it did not feel right for the moment. In a minor key, it acknowledged the loss of both Mom and Dave’s first spouses, as well as the new joy they found with each other. It was only after Mom died that the song finally came together. I wish she could have heard it. Maybe she has.
Here is the song: “Comes Another (For Mom & Dave)”
Deb Napolitan— I wish you had known my father. Charming, funny, mischievous, a lover of all things family and all things furry. The solid rock of our immense family; larger than life, beloved. And then, 3 ½ years ago, gone. Gone. In some ways and at some times this still astounds me.
Grief is a heavy traveling companion and a teacher beyond measure. It continued to visit long after I had expected, bringing it’s gravity, it’s incredible sadness, it’s poignancy. When I sat with it (mine putting out a chair and handing me a tissue), I felt immersed in a sacred albeit heart-
wrenching space. I was shown how a loss so deep shows a love that was beyond measure. How a void that feels never-ending (because it is) is the result of blessing after blessing bestowed. How there were parts of my father that were still with me, alive and well, in spite of his physical absence.
I see him as I watch my burly teenage great-nephews lovingly tend to the younger ones in our family. I see him in the faces and humor of my brothers. I see him in how we show up for each other and care for those among us who are hurting. I see him in my own openness to others, in
my hospitality and (sometimes) in my impatience. I see him in the scratches given behind the ears of family pets, in the holding of babies and the in tousling of the hair of anyone who happens to walk by. This is how he lives on. I have learned through my teacher, grief, that this is a beautiful legacy.
One of the questions Susan posed was “How do I honor/connect with my saint on the other side?” Is the veil that separates me from my father thinner at times than others?” This is a conundrum for me because I am not sure of where the other side is or what it holds. I know I can stop at times and feel his presence. I can be at his tombstone and feel that is a good place to have a talk. I can listen to his records and picture him listening next to me, his eyes closed, relishing what he hears. Yet I can’t do this often yet because of the piercing sadness it still brings. So I suppose I am more of this world because this is what I know; I am on this side of the veil for the most part.
In the words of Iris DeMent:
Everybody is wondering what and where
They all came from
Everybody is worrying about where they’re going to go
When the whole thing’s done
But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
I think I’ll just let the mystery be
Annie Vogt— read by Laura Boll and Nancy Baum
There is so much about my mother that I want to share. So much about her that is worth telling. I have often found myself in conversation with a friend and suddenly I am telling them a fond memory of my mom. How she would always leave half a cookie in the box for someone else or more accurately to come back and nimble on later. Or how she loved the musical My Fair Lady and would sing the same three lines of one of its tunes around our kitchen. Or maybe that she loved periwinkle blue.
And my need to share her has only grown. I want to spread her memory everywhere across all the tiny fragments of my life. Into all the spaces that now seem empty without her. Into all the spaces that she will never touch.
And that’s what hurts me the most. That there are and will be places and people in my life that will never know her kindness, her pushiness, or her love. And so I bring her with me. I introduce my mother through her name, her favorite color, her love of cats, her silly songs, her loud laugh, her career, and the million ways I am reminded of her beautiful life every day. Because it feels like the more I speak the more she is here. And suddenly she is on my walk, my coffee run, my zoom call. And it helps. My mom was my everything. It was not until she was gone that I realized how much of her life was woven into mine. And without the physical pieces of her I feel a bit broken and a bit lost. So sharing her is what I do and it is how I breathe. Carrying her this way has been a gift and I know it is one that all of us have carried in one way or another. So thank you all for carrying her with you.”
Congregation Song— Abide with Me, VT #502
Reading—chosen and read by Marcy Hostetler
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
-Mary Elizabeth Frye
Tributes— Remembering CMCLers who have passed
Bonnie Gingrich Cleary Roland Dewitt Stock
Ferd W. Doermer, Jr. Lois Leatherman Blough
Samuel F. Reist Premnath S. Dick
Mark Stanley Siemens Carl G. Strub
Glen D. Lapp Marti Landes King
Dieter Ernst Jacobs Mary Eileen Book Bomberger
Gwendolyn Wenger Peachey Laurie Ann Vogt
Rachel Stauffer Anne Sensenig
Philip B. Detweiler Levina Huber
Katherine D. Couturier Mark Halsey
Daryl D. Garber Luke Bomberger
Paul A. Leatherman Rebecca Meyer
Emma Burkholder Hess
Remembering Hal King—Rod Houser
Harold (Hal) King
October 14, 1938- December 24, 2020
Hal was born in Pennsylvania and grew up near Lancaster eventually heading west for 1-W service in Colorado where he married Marti Landes. He always had a place in his heart for the West but never forgot his roots.
He was a good husband, father and grandfather to his family, always upbeat and ready to lend a hand. Hal was also a businessman, builder and contractor. As the son of a contractor, he learned to be helpful with projects when needed by family and friends and his church communities.
He enjoyed volunteering with Mennonite Disaster Service from time to time. An avid golfer and traveler, Hal always had an optimistic spirit and will be greatly missed for his enthusiasm and love of life.
—Submitted by his three children
Remembering Joe Miller—Rhea Miller
Joseph Eugene Miller
July 2,1950–March 14, 2021
Family reunions, wine and cheese night, song leading, Miller history, and pie. Always pie.
Joe was an integral part of the Miller family and an eager participant in family reunions. He inherited the Miller love of collecting things and maintained an impressive stamp collection in addition to treasured family heirlooms.
Joe grew up in a time and place that did not always accept all parts of his identity. He engaged in important and meaningful work in the Brethren and Mennonite churches for LGBTQ people, and future generations will benefit from his impact.
Through his career as a nurse, he touched many lives and was a gentle witness to his patients’ joy and pain. He enjoyed making pottery and gifted loved ones with beautiful pieces that now hold his memory.
Thank you for remembering our beloved Uncle Joe.
—Submitted by Renee Miller, grandniece
Memorial candlelighting—All are welcome to come forward and light a candle for a loved one.In your hands, Loving God,
we humbly entrust our loved ones who have gone before us.
In this life you embraced them with your tender love;
we trust that you hold them now in rest:
where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,
but fullness of peace and joy.
In the name of
the One who created us,
the One who lived, died and rose among us,
and the One who comforts and sustains us always, and in many forms.
Amen.Sharing Time—Please email your prayer requests or reflections this morning to Susan@communitymennonite.org. They will be sent out by email by Monday.
Sharing Time Prayer— My Shepherd Will Supply My Need, VT #640
Closing Song—Shalom Chaverim, VT #842
Go now in peace –
knowing that you walk with beloved saints in this world and the next.
May God bless us
and heal us
and hold us all in love,
and for evermore.
-Words and prayers adapted from Saying Goodbye,
Wild Goose Publications, The Iona Community, 2013
Remembrances: Pam Brubaker, Deb Napolitan, Daryl Snider, Annie Vogt
Song Leader: Marcy Hostetler
Tributes read by: Rod Houser, Rhea Miller
Children’s Time: Jane Weigel
Prelude and Special Music: Alicia Smith
Tech hosts: Michael Eby-Good