Sunday, October 30, 2016

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Liturgy in New Home!

On Saturday, October 29, the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community accompanied Kim Panaro, ARCWP, as she and her family celebrated the life of their mother, Terry Panaro Wardrop. In August, Kim and Kathie Ryan, ARCWP, flew to Florida to bring Kim’s mom home to Albany for her final days on this side of the thin veil.  While here, in Albany, Kim and her extended family and friends surrounded Terry with the love and care she needed to transition peacefully to life beyond life as we know it. Terry’s celebration of life was held in the sanctuary of the New Covenant Presbyterian Church at 916 Western Avenue in Albany, NY (the new home for the Upper Room).

A Celebration of Life

Terry Panaro Wardrop
12/18/1939 - 10/22/2016

"May the angels lead you into paradise!”

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community
916 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203

October 29, 2016
2:00 p.m.


Opening song: Holy Angels by Sara Thomsen

Opening Prayer

Presider 2: O Holy One, we gather to remember and celebrate Terry’s life. We believe that she is now at peace with you and we believe that she continues to walk with us as one of our guardians. We are grateful for her life with us.  Amen.   


First Reading: A Reflection by Michael Morwood
Adapted and read by Mary Theresa Streck

Terry's death speaks to us of the wonder of being human in a universe so vast and so 
magnificent and of our existence within a mystery and a power that we cannot

understand or put into words.

In a very real sense, this vast and magnificent universe of ours came alive and became
aware in Terry. She gave God a way of coming to expression, here in our lives, here in a way that reached out and touched us, as a mother, a grandmother, and a loyal friend. She lived and loved in God, God lived and loved in her, and in death she lives on in God and in us. 

Sung Alleluia

Second Reading: Philippians 3:12-14
read by Debra Trees

It's not that I have reached it yet, or have already finished my course; but I'm running the race in order to grab hold of the prize if possible, since Christ Jesus has grabbed hold of me. Sisters and brothers, I don't think of myself as having reached the finish line. I give no thought to what lies behind, but I push on to what is ahead. My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize – the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Reflection: Kathleen Ryan  

These two readings that we just heard and Kim so prayerfully chose bring us to a new understanding of the mystery of life.

Did you notice that the first reading from Philippians is written in the present tense.  We heard:  It’s not that I have reached it yet, or have already finished my course; but I’m running the race….I give no thought to what lies behind, but I push on to what is ahead. Many of us only got to know Terry in the last few months of her life.  She modeled for all of us how to keep running the race, she looked forward, laughing and loving as she ran.

In the second reading we heard “death speaks to us of the wonder of being human within a mystery that we can not understand or put into words.

So what is this mystery? What could this mystery of life mean?  Perhaps the real mystery is how can it be that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  In the opening of Genesis we are told that each of us is made in the image of God.  Being made in the image and likeness of someone usually means we have similar qualities. For example, people will say look Walter has his mother’s eyes, Tommy has his mother’s sense of humor, Kim has her mother’s smile. 

So what are the qualities of God that we each have…we know we try to love one another as God loves us, we know we don’t always succeed but we keep trying.   We do not stop we keep running the race.   But there is one quality of God’s that we each have and we are absolutely guaranteed success, we can not fail.

We don’t even have to try we just have to believe…the quality that is exactly like God is the ability to live forever.  God is eternal and so are we.  We live forever…we live eternally …we cross over from this life into the arms of God.  Sure it is another mystery not knowing exactly what it is like…but we know this to be true because we are made in the image and likeness of God. We live forever.

We can only imagine how wonderful eternal life is,   we know Terry and so many others that we love live eternally, and we know we too, just like Terry, will cross over into the arms of God but for now we live in the present tense, laughing and loving, running the race, pushing on to what lies ahead.


Presider 2: During our liturgy, it is traditional at the Upper Room to bring to our friendship table blessings, cares and concerns. Today, I bring to the table all who loved Terry deeply, especially Walter, Tommy, Kim, Nicole, Matthew and, Sam.
…and for all who tenderly cared for and loved Terry, we speak words of gratitude. Amen.

Presider 1: Great Mystery enfolding us, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 2: Your wisdom moves among us like the wind, and we are blessed. Your presence transforms every ordinary moment of ours into a sacred place where you dwell. You are the stirring in our hearts and you beckon us to join in your divine dance of life-giving love. Joined with you and with all companions on this journey, we sing a song of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

Presider 1: Please join in praying our Eucharistic Prayer:

O Holy One, we are grateful for those who have come among us pointing to your wisdom, those who have come as our mirrors, our advocates, our friends.

We are grateful for Jesus, our brother, who taught us about you and your great love. Through him we find our truest selves and our way back home.

Before he walked towards his greatest challenge, Jesus called friends together around a table. Unfinished, unsure, uncommitted, they gathered with him, as he reminded them of their oneness with you and the fullness of life.

Presider 2: Please extend your hands in blessing:

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, be bent down and washed their feet.

(pause as Presider 1 lifts bread)

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 

Take and eat; this is my very self.

(pause as Presider 2 lifts the cup)

He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying:  

Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life,
for you and for everyone,
for liberation from every oppression.
Whenever you do this, Re-member me!

Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within us and working through us. Like Jesus, we will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, we will live compassionate lives.

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to worship you truly,
Life-giving God,
At this time and all time and in all ways.
And we say yes to You!

Presider 1: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

Source of all Life, you are within, around and among us.
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us,
now and forever, Amen.

Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter

Sign of Peace

Presider 1: May the peace of the Holy One be with you always.
Please offer each other a sign of peace

Song: May the Longtime Sun
by Sara Thomsen

Presider 2: Please join in our prayer for the breaking of the bread:

All:   Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.  
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. 
We will love tenderly.
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence.

(Presiders hold up bread and wine)

Presider 1: "This is the bread of life. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.

All:  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Presider 2: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table. 

Communion Song: Peace Be With You by Shaina Noll

Communion Meditation: My Way adapted and sung by Dennis McDonald

EULOGY: Kim and Kristen


Presider 1: Please stand for our final blessing, a poem written by Edwina Gateley:

May God wrap her warmth around you like a shawl to hug you tight;
God’s light glow bright within you to guide your steps at night;
God’s strength flow sure all through you-hold you up against hurt and fear;
God whisper in your heart, dear friend:  My love is always near.

Presider 2: Please join in singing our closing song:

On Eagle’s Wings
By Michael Joncas

The Upper Room
Inclusive Catholic Community
916 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203

The Upper Room is an intentional Eucharistic community living Gospel equality and justice in an inclusive, non-hierarchical model of church. Our community embraces a contemporary theology that celebrates each of us as an “original blessing.”  Come join us for liturgy each Sunday at 10:00am. For an updated schedule, visit our website at

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