A Life That Witnessed…A Good Memorial

I just got home from the memorial service for Hank. Hank died last month as a result of injuries of a car accident at the end of June. Hank was a member of our South Valley congregation for somewhere around twenty years. The church was full…not only of 225+ people, but of love.

Hank was a great guy–one of those quiet, solid, dedicated men whose life witnessed to his values and beliefs. (Lizard Eater has a great post on witnessing.) He and his wife, Alice, discovered Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) after their daughter came out to them and when they found out there was no chapter in Utah, promptly started one. Their work is, in part, responsible for me being able to be called to this congregation as their minister.

Like good ritual does, this memorial service changed the people present. We were challenged to live lives of love like Hank did. We were reminded of our connections to one another and our calling to make the world a better place. And, when the Salt Lake Men’s Choir sang “We Shall Overcome,” many of us heard those words in a new way:

We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome some day.
Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome someday.

We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand some day.
Deep in my heart, I do believe we’ll walk hand in hand some day.

We shall all be free, we shall all be free, we shall all be free some day.
Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall all be free some day.

We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace, we shall live in peace some day.
Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall live in peace some day.

Amen, Hank. And thank you. We’ll miss you.

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