Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Life of Ford P. Englerth Born August 22, 1943-Died August 8, 2015 with Liturgy on Aug. 29, 2015, Interment in St. Andrew Memorial Garden

Ford Englerth was a beloved member of our community
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community At St. Andrews United Church of Christ August 29, 2015    
Lee Breyer, Janet Blakeley,  Kathryn Shea,, Katy Zatsick, Charlene, Ford'a wife, Bridget Mary Meehan, Sally Brochu

Co Presiders:
Lee Breyer
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP
Rev Kathryn Shea  ARCWP
Rev Katy Zatsick  ARCWP

Music Ministers:
Alicia Bartol-Thomas
Rev Janet Blakeley ARCWP
Cheri McDonough
Mindy Simmons

First three scripture readings were chosen from the New Jerusalem Bible by Ford Englerth* Liturgy adapted from “Eucharistic Prayer for Healing” by Diarmuid O’Murchu
Welcome: Katy Zatsick ARCWP, presider at MMOJ

Lighting of Ford’s Remembrance candle
All: We are gathered here to remember and celebrate the life of Ford, husband, father, grandfather, friend, sponsor and member of Mary Mother of Jesus.  We light this candle in the knowledge that relationships do not end at death.  We know that Ford will be with us in memories and feelings.  We gather today to celebrate the gift of Ford in our lives and in our communities.  We gather together to ask healing and to seek comfort as we mourn our spiritual brother in faith who now resides within our God of Love and Wholeness of Being.   Amen.

Katy: May you light this candle on days of special remembrance of Ford and your life together and when ever you choose.  May this burning candle always remind you of our love and care for you and your family. May you be comforted by its light and your memories, love, and the presence of Ford.   Amen.

Introduction to Ford’s liturgy
August 29 2015
St Andrews UCC

I am Katy Zatsick RCWP one of the co-presiders here at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community.

We welcome you to the Celebration of Life of our brother in Christ Ford Englerth
We extend our deepest sympathies to Charlene his beloved wife
and to his family and friends who are with us today and to those who are away.
We gather together to offer Charlene and Ford’s family our spiritual support as we all mourn our loss of his presence in our lives and communities.

Mary Mother of Jesus is an inclusive Catholic Christian community and all of you are welcome to come to the table to receive the bread and wine. 
The wine is non-alcoholic.  

I knew Ford as mutual spiritual companions on our journeys and as my AlAnon sponsor.  We were both Adult Children of Alcoholics.

Symbols of Ford’s spiritual life are placed on our altar today:
St Michael the Archangel is a Catholic Christian image of God’s power against sin, chaos, destruction and evil. Ford fought for sobriety every day, 24/7 for 28 years. Ford knew through the first Three Steps of AA program that only God has the power to support and heal him in the spiritual battle against addictions, the demons of his life. 

We know the suffering of Jesus before his death on the cross. We know that Jesus rose from the dead and is with us still as our Higher Power.  This image of Jesus in his suffering and death is extending to us and through us his Compassion for all people, the world and the universe.

Ford suffered from and battled addictions all of his life.  He accepted the love and healing offered by Jesus Christ from the cross through the 3rd Step and lived the gift of serenity in his life-at meetings, work, home, and with his family. 

We cannot celebrate the gift of Ford’s presence in our lives without acknowledging and giving thanks for the Love of Charlene for her husband.
Ford credits Charlene for saving his life and would not have lived 28 years of sobriety without Charlene’s faithfulness and love for him.
Charlene challenged alcohol addiction’s deadly symptom of denial.  Ford said, “Charlene brought the Big Book home and placed it on their table.  I would put it away and she put it out again. Every day for months.” Charlene did not give up and God’s grace through her love broke Ford’s denial and he entered the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

We thank you Charlene for the blessings of Ford your Love, courage and strength gave him and us.  Namaste.  

Gathering Song: Amazing Grace #431 verses 1, 2, 3
Cheri McDonough-vocalist  Rev Janet Blakeley ARCWP-piano,
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved someone like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Presider Bridget Mary: In the name of our God who is Love and Creator, Jesus our Brother, and of the Holy Spirit God’s Wisdom and healing Power.  All: Amen

Presider Bridget Mary: Loving God, comforter and healer, we know you are present as we remember Ford in our community liturgy.
All: May your healing comfort be with us all.

Opening Prayer, Presiders Kathryn and Lee:
God of Love remembering Ford may we grow in deeper awareness of your extravagant love dwelling within us, reconciling us, healing us and renewing all creation in the family of God.
All: God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen

Liturgy of the Word Read by Ford's daughter, Kimberly Parisi
First Reading: Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9*  
On this mountain, for all peoples,
Yahweh Sabaoth is preparing
A banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
Of succulent food, of well-strained wines.
On this mountain, he has destroyed
The veil which used to veil all peoples,
The pall enveloping all nations;
He has destroyed death forever.
Lord Yahweh has wiped away the tears from every cheek;
He has taken his people’s shame away everywhere on earth,
For Yahweh has spoken.
This is the Word of God          All: Thanks be to God.

Psalm response #139*
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.
Yahweh you examine me and know me,
You know when I sit, when I rise,
You understand my thoughts from afar,
You watch when I walk or lied down,
You know every detail of my conduct.
All: God, examine me and know my heart.

A word is not yet on my tongue
Before you, Yahweh, know all about it.
You fence me in, behind and in front,
You have laid your hand upon me.
Such amazing knowledge is beyond me,
A height to which I cannot attain.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

Where shall I go to escape your spirit?
Where shall I flee from your presence?
If I scale the heavens you are there,
If I lie flat in Sheol, there you are.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

If I speed away on the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell beyond the ocean
Even there your hand will be guiding me,
Your right hand holding me fast.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

I will say, “Let the darkness cover me,
And the night wrap itself around me,
Even darkness to you is not dark,
And night is as clear as the day.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

You created my inmost self,
Knit me together in my mother’s womb.
For so many marvels I thank you;
A wonder am I, and all your works are wonders.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

You knew me through and through,
My being held no secrets from you,
When I was being formed in secret,
Textured in the depths of the earth.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

Your eyes could see my embryo
In your book all my days were inscribed,
Everything that was fixed is there.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

How hard for me to grasp your thoughts,
How many, God there are!
If I count them, they are more than the grains of sand;
If I come to an end, I am still with you.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

God examine me and know my heart,
Test me and know my concerns.
Make sure that I am not on my way to ruin,
And guide me on the road of eternity.  Amen

Second Reading is from Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:14-23 * Ford Patrick Englerth
The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God.  And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.

In my estimation, all that we suffer in the present time is nothing in comparison with the glory which is destined to be disclosed for us, for the whole creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed.  It was not for its own purposes that creation had frustration imposed on it, but for the purposes of him who imposed it---with the intention that the whole creation itself might be freed from its slavery to corruption and brought into the same glorious freedom as the children of God.  We are well aware that the whole creation, until this time, has been groaning in labor pains.  And not only that; we too who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we are groaning inside ourselves, waiting with eagerness for our bodies to be set free.
The Word of God. All: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia, sung by congregation

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26
Response: All: Glory to you O Loving God.

Now it happened that Jesus was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judea and from Jerusalem, were sitting there.  And the power of the Spirit Sophia was there so that Jesus should heal. Now some men appeared bringing on a bed Ford who was paralyzed whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of Jesus.  But as they could find no way of getting Ford through the crowd, they went up onto the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of gathering, in front of Jesus.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said, ”My friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. “Who is this man, talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins? But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, spoke his reply, “What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say “Get up and walk?”  “But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’---Jesus said to the paralyzed Ford—‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.”  And immediately before their eyes Ford got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God. They were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.” This is the Good News of our Brother Jesus. 
All: Praise to you O Loving God.

Reflection: Katy Zatsick ARCWP
Reflection by Katy Zatsick

As we reflect on the first three readings that Ford chose for our liturgy today, we can understand more clearly what was most important for Ford to leave us as his spiritual testament and legacy.

During his 28 years of sobriety, Ford through the spiritual program of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the teachings of especially Fr. Richard Rohr continued his healing spiritual journey.

From Psalm 139, God had a plan for Ford and Ford’s Higher Power never left his soul or his side.  His Higher Power continually drew Ford into deeper relationship with Himself and
revealed the Love which is God through his family, friends, sponsors, sponsees and members of his AA meetings.

Ford included his experiences with the priests and members of MMOJ as part of God’s plan for him.  Ford arrived at MMOJ through the invitation of Charlie a member of his AA meeting; Ford’s long time friend.  Ford also came because he learned of the solidarity of Fr. Roy Bourgeois with the RCWP movement. 

Ford called we women priests “these women” and at MMOJ Ford’s Higher Power continued to call him into relationship with our God of unconditional evolutionary love and no longer an angry, punishing, judging God-much like his own father. Ford knew well the struggle with his own character defects of anger and impatience all of his life. At MMOJ Ford found acceptance as a “Come as you are” member and contributed his knowledge, gifts and wisdom to our community affairs.

From the letter to the Romans, Ford and Paul tell us “The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God.”  The spiritual wounds of the disease of alcoholism leave us no self-esteem, isolated, suffering and causing others to suffer.

When I met with Ford, during our shared prayer, he would smile in deep serenity and say, “I am loved by God, I am held by God. I am at peace. I am ready to die and do not fear death” as his heart became weaker and his energy dissipated.  And so Paul’s letter speaks to Ford’s own physical and emotional suffering as his body would not permit him to participate as fully in life as he once did-especially that he could no longer go fishing a sport he loved.  Or that he could no longer visit family in CA and NY, the traveling became too much for him.

From Isaiah Ford tells us of his understanding and image of the kindom of God.  “A banquet of rich food and fine wine.”  Here in the eternal now God has destroyed death forever.  This is Ford’s continuing life and his faith promises us that we too will sit down at that same table when our journey is over and we are healed into the Wholeness of Being the Love who is God. 

Ford and I met monthly in my home in SCC for about the last 18 months of his life.  He was my AlAnon sponsor and for both of us companions on our spiritual journey with our Brother Jesus.  Following the tradition of the Jesuit St. Ignatius, about a year ago I led us in meditation on the passage of the Gospel of Luke you just heard. Today after his death let me share this reflection on Luke’s Gospel and Ford’s life story. 

I began the meditation by having us walk over the bridge before us.  A movement from the reality of the day to a deeper place within us, our soul’s consciousness.  This time Ford stopped on the bridge itself and was captivated with the scene below him. Ford really liked this stream and the scene below. Coming from a small pond, the water tumbled over a waterfall, clear, refreshing, The colors were brilliant ‘like a rainbow” Rocks were under the moving water but did not impede its flow.  Ford would have liked to stay on the bridge but the meditation called him away to where Jesus was present.

Ford was with a group of friends as he lay paralyzed on the mat.  They could not get through the crowd before the house.  His friends did climb up to the roof carrying him; made a hole and lowered Ford down to the floor in front of Jesus.  However Ford was not facing Jesus and he wanted so much to do so.  He struggled to turn from his back and to face him.  Ford was successful and looked at the Loving Face of God in Jesus.  Jesus healed him.  Ford picked up his mat, paralyzed no longer and went home with his friends and to his family.

As I reflected on Ford’s spiritual experience, this is what I feel was taking place.
Standing on the bridge Ford was experiencing a life review.  He looked down to the River of Life below of which he was a part for 72 years. Ford’s life burbled over rocks-the challenges of life.  The colors-the feelings, the experiences were a rainbow for Ford …he did not miss out in being fully human his God raised Ford to a higher level of consciousness.  He experienced his emotional and spiritual life deeply even as he waged war against his addiction every day for 28 years.

For me, Ford experienced the 12 Step story via the vision of his own healing in this parable. Ford was paralyzed emotionally and spiritually by his addictions. He was at the “bottom of the bottle” or flat on the mat.  He could not move.  Using the Program of the 12 Steps the first being “I am powerless” as the paralyzed man was. His friends and sponsors in AlAnon carried him, to the third step “I surrender my life and will to my Higher Power” for only our God can heal the wounds of addiction.

Ford’s companions on his spiritual journey in AA and Charlene carry him to Jesus. The work is arduous; Charlene and the members of the fellowship must carry Ford spiritually in the struggle against the evil of addiction.  They accompany him with all the courage their Higher Power gives; confronting Ford’s helplessness, his denial, his ego, his character defects, and his soul wounds.  Their ministry, their trust in God for healing, opens a way to the God within blocked by the roof-his addiction, to his Higher Power who awaits his coming.  (The house is always an image of the soul.)  With the solidarity of his community of AA, Ford goes deeper into his soul, to lay before his Higher Power Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus forgives Ford everything-addictions, the hurting of others, all that has taken place in his life till now this very moment.  As in Luke’s parable, God heals Ford, he is no longer paralyzed he is free to stand up and live life fully. Ford did for 28 years until he saw Jesus face-to-face for ever in God’s house where he resides now within the Communion of Saints.

I have lost 2 brothers and mother to the disease of alcoholism. For me Ford’s life is a gift of Hope that addictions can be held in remission, that the spiritually of the 12 Step programs does save lives and together we can free the next generations from the wounds of this deadly disease.

I will forever pray for healing for all those who are affected by the disease of addiction.  I give thanks that Ford shared his spiritual journey with me as we companioned each other on our individual journey of healing. I give thanks for the gift of Ford for being my AlAnon sponsor.  Let us call on Ford when we lack courage and strength, when we are lonely, isolated, fearful or anxious for he is always with us.

I am a grateful member of AlAnon and I will never graduate from our spiritual program. One Day at a Time.  May the gift of God’s serenity be with us all.

Profession of Faith: All
We believe in our Higher Power who is compassion in our world.  We believe in Jesus, whose death and resurrection reveals God’s infinite Love as the Wholeness of Being.  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to live Christ’s presence.  We believe in the Communion of Saints with Ford, our heavenly friends, who inspire us to live holy lives.  We believe in the church as the People of God, living in faith, hope and love. Amen.

General Intercessions:
Response All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Presider Kathryn: Confident that God hears the voices of all who trust in our Higher Power and Brother Jesus, we join our prayers to his.

Lee: Loving God, Grant Ford’s family, friends and members of MMOJ peace and comfort as we mourn his loss today and in the days to come. 
All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Kathryn: Our Brother Ford shared in the priesthood of all believers leading God’s people in prayer and worship.  He participated fully as a member of the Discipleship of Equals. May Ford join the heavenly liturgy in your presence to sing your praises until we come.
All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Lee: Loving Higher Power, many friends and members of our families have gone before us and rejoice at the coming of Ford. Carol Ann, Jodi, Charlie, and Jack welcomed Ford to his heavenly home. May we too join them in our everlasting home with our Brother Jesus and Mary his Mother and all the saints.  All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Kathryn: Many people die by violence, war, and famine each day.  Show your mercy to those who suffer so unjustly and gather them all to your kindom of everlasting peace.     
All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Presider Lee: Loving God, giver of peace and healer of souls as we grieve our loss, we trust that you will care for us through your compassion given by our friends and family members.
All: Amen.

Preparation of the gifts and offertory
“These Alone are Enough” Mindy Simmons soloist

Presiders Bridget Mary and Katy (raising bread and wine)
Ever gentle Higher Power, we offer you the gifts of bread, wine and our lives.  May we love tenderly, do justice and walk humbly with our Higher Power and Brother Jesus Christ. May we offer God’s healing love and support to one another as we mourn our loss of Ford’s life in our family and communities. We ask this through Christ Sophia, the Wisdom of God. All: Amen. 

Presider Kathryn:
Gracious God, our Higher Power, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit, who enlivens and inebriates all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and upon all we pray for today. All: Amen

Voice 1: Down through the ages, you rescue us from darkness, from addictions and grief.  You light up our ways with wise and holy people. Today among these we add Ford Peter. 

Voice 2:  For all you bring to our lives, and for all we seek amid pain, loss and suffering, we acclaim your love and greatness and trust in your healing. You restore us from grief and loss and you revive our lost hopes. 

Voice 3: Source of our health and wholeness, healer of body, mind and spirit, we bring before you the darkness our world and the grief and loss of your people.  We seek to be healed and made whole; we seek to be reconciled and united.  We seek serenity and wholeness in our hearts and in our world. 

All: We ask you to awaken anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in our times of need, especially as we mourn the loss of Ford in our lives.

All: raising your hand over the bread and wine:
Let your Spirit come upon these gifts as we pray: On the night before he died Jesus took bread into his hands and said: This is my body, take and eat.  Do this in memory of me.                        (Pause)

At the end of the meal Jesus took a cup of wine, raised it in thanksgiving to you, and said: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you.  Do this in memory of me. In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.  Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Voice 4: As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s blessings and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift of life which we share among us at this Eucharistic feast.
All: May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us, too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch as we celebrate his life and as we mourn the loss of Ford in our lives. Amen.

Voice 5: The bread we break and the cup we share are symbols of our world of abundance where all are invited to partake of the fullness of life.  But that life we often impede by our greed and selfishness, and by our exploitation of other people.

Voice 6: So grant that in union with all peoples, living and dead especially Ford, we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness, united in acclaiming the God of life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the kindom arrives in the fullness of time.

Doxology: (Kathryn and Lee hold up bread and wine)
All:  We make our prayers in the name of our Healing, Loving Wholeness, Higher Power, through with and in whom we offer our gifts, Source of eternal life, love and goodness, now and forever                                  
Sing Amen (-Danish #936)

All: (Recite the prayer of Jesus while holding hands with your neighbors) “Our Father and Mother…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...  For yours are the Glory and Power now and forever and ever Amen.

Sign of Peace: Mindy Simmons “I Wish You Peace” soloist
--Please share a sign of peace with those close to you

Litany of the Breaking of the Bread:
All: Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power, we will do so. 
Loving God, you call us to live the Gospel of justice and peace, we will do so.  Loving God, You call us to live as Your presence in the world, we will do so.

Presiders: (Lifting up bread and wine) This is our Cosmic Christ of all creation; past, present and future, in whom we are reconciled and healed.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of Love, God of Wholeness of Being.

All: Jesus we are worthy to receive you and become you for others. 
       We are the Body and Blood of Christ in the our world.

Communion hymn
Song “Song of the Body of Christ” Mindy Simmons pianist during communion
We come to share our story,
We come to break the bread,
We come to know our rising from the dead.
We come as your people, we come as your own,
United with each other, love finds a home.

We are called to heal the broken, to be hope for the poor,
We are called to feed the hungry at our door.

Bread of life and cup of promise, in this meal we all are one.
In our dying and our rising, may your kingdom come.

You will lead and we shall follow, you will be the breath of life;
Living water, we are thirsting for your light.

We will live and sing your praises, “Alleluia” is our song.
May we live in love and peace our whole life long.

Thanks to Ford Peter Englerth from Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic community. 
Patricia MacMillian President of the MMOJ Board and Finance committee,
representative for our community. 

                                   Eulogy by Ford's Son-in-law:
                                   Mark Parisi

Bill K

All are invited:
-Interment following immediately after liturgy in the Garden of Repose.
-A light reception follows in the fellowship hall

Closing Prayer: All:
Loving God, we’ve gathered today to share this special time remembering Ford together.  May you guide our journey through grief to hope and healing.  We are here because Ford made a difference in our lives-husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend.  Ford touched our hearts.  We remember Ford because we have loved and because we are loved.  Loving God of Wholeness and Being, Creator God, lead us out of the darkness of grief and into the light of hope and healing. May we be ever mindful of the promise of hope, even in the midst of mourning our loss, and may we find healing in the perfect serenity of your love. Amen. 

Concluding Rite
Presiders: Our God is with you
All: and also with you.

Blessing (Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
All: May the blessings of our Divine Healer and Comforter be upon us especially Charlene and Ford’s family and friends.  Let us go in the Peace of Christ to serve others with compassion.

Recessional: Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd”
Alicia Bartol-Thomas solo vocalist, Rev Janet Blakeley ARCWP pianist.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:

For you are with me, you will comfort me,
You are with me, you will comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever…
            forever…  forever…  forever.

Please leave quietly and walk to the Garden of Repose behind the church for the committal of Ford’s ashes.

Gifts: Stole given to Ford by Charlie Grunkemeyer.
           Big Book Ford’s personal copy.

Death is nothing at all—
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
I am you and you are you—
whatever we were to each other
that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone;
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes
we enjoyed together. 
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the ghost of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you,
for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.  All is well.
------A Letter from Canon Henry Holland

                                            Ford P. Englerth - 1943 - 2015

Interment of Ashes in Memorial Garden
St Andrew United Church of Christ
August 29, 2015
Co-presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan, Bishop ARCWP & Sally Brochu, ARCWP

Opening Prayer: Loving and Gracious God, in whose eternal care is all creation, we are gathered here to commit Ford’s ashes to the earth. He is here now where he worshiped you among friends in this church that he called his “home”- a place that fed him spiritually and a place that he loved and was loved.
We believe that, as you raised Jesus from the grave to spread the message of love and hope among your people, you will continue to breathe life into all of us so that we like Ford, will be with you forever.
ALL: Amen

An Abbreviated Reading from: High Flight by William Gillespie
    This poem was written as a tribute to the astronauts in 1986, after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. In the first half of the poem, the words “they put out their hands and touched the Face of God” are words of hope and awe. Then the poet continued::
If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not long blacken your sky.
Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.
For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The things that made us laugh and weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,
The wordless language of look and touch,
The knowing,
Each giving and each taking,
Those are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,
For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand,
 And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand,
What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A co-joined past imperishably present.
So when you walk the woods where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,
Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,
And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,
Be still.
Close your eyes.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.

 Interment of Ford’s Ashes:
“Ripple” – written by the Grateful Dead – sung by Mindy Lou Simmons
(Ford’s family will now place his ashes in the earth.  Then sand from Siesta Key Beach, that touched the Gulf where Ford loved to fish, will be distributed to each person. Each person will be invited to take their turn and place the sand in the earth.)

Closing Prayer: Let us pray, O God of consolation and mercy, the time of Ford’s life among us leads us to reflect on our human condition and the brevity of our lives on earth. For those who believe in your love, death is not an end – nor does it break the bonds that you made with us, and that we have with you and one another. Our passing from this earth opens for us, the eternal life of your promise. In this we place our faith and hope.  ALL: Amen

And we pray, eternal rest grant unto him, O God.
ALL: and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in the peace that only you can grant.  ALL: Amen
May he, together with all those past and present when they have run their earthly courses…may they all, through your mercy, rest in peace. ALL: Amen