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Monthly eBulletin- Life Celebrations in Sacred Community

With such an expansive awareness of our universe and our place in it, it is necessary to pause and honor the corners we turn, the milestones, the past and the present. But meaning is lost when the words are irrelevant, when language is outdated, and practices are dogmatic and un-evolving. As progressive Christians, we are called to walk into the mystery of change, while at the same time keeping close to our hearts the timeless teachings of our tradition. Our life celebrations and rituals must then reflect this call, this necessary aspect of our path. Sacred community is a space to explore these traditions and to create new ones.

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Committal Service for the Dead

We come in sorrow, confronting the fact that life ends. Yet we also know that there is a power stronger than death—the transformative power of love. Love has joined us together as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, as parents and children, as brothers and sisters, and as friends and neighbors. To be touched by love is to have experienced the transforming power of God on earth.

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What Is

From A Place Where Secret Shadows Shine

If you can
tell me where
I’m going
after I leave here,
I won’t be
going there.

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Memorial Service

P: We have gathered here today to give thanks for and honor Name’s life. You have come because you are family – close family or extended family; or because you are friends – old, long-trusted friends or newer friends; or because you knew Name through other connections in his life. We have gathered to mourn his death and to grieve for our loss.

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Funeral Service for an Inclusive Community

Written by Rob Stoner, August 2009

I recently conducted the funeral for my father, who died after a long episode of declining health. It was a joy and a privilege to work with my family in preparing this service. But many of our family are not avowedly Christian so I wanted to respect their spiritual traditions as well as be faithful to my own. I also wanted the theology to reflect my own liberal/progressive Christian understanding.

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A Funeral Service (At the Crematorium)

Each birth causes us to wonder
where the spark of life comes from.
Every death makes us wonder
what of that life survives.

What we have done, and who we have been,
remains part of the wider universe long after we are gone.

None of us knows the whole truth about what lies beyond death.
Christians believe that as we journey between life and death,
we are safe in the hands of an infinitely gracious God.

What we do know and believe is that every human life,
with a mind to think and a heart to love,
is an expression of the creative spirit of God.

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The arms of love

I went to the funeral home last night
to see a friend whose life was entwined with mine.
Someone once told me
that if you want to know the truth about a person’s life
go to their funeral.

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Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace; it gives us birth,
To each and everyone;
This precious gift of life to live;
This race for us to run.

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Topics: Aging, Arts and Music, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Life Celebration (funeral). Resource Types: Hymns.

The Doorway

As our lives tread onward, we find ourselves on the Earth side of a “door”
Mortality certain to face us, we wonder what’s beyond –what is the “more?”

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Topics: Aging, Spiritual Exploration & Practice, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons and Life Celebration (funeral). Resource Types: Poetry and Readings.

Memorial Prayer

A recent memorial service for a much-loved artist in our church ended with a poem and a prayer. The poem was “When Death Comes” by Mary Oliver,

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Topics: Aging, Prayer, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Life Celebration (funeral). Resource Types: Prayers.

Funeral Conversations

I want to share four different stories that made it clear to me why involving those who gather to celebrate the life of one who has died is so important.

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