Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Funeral Ministry

Last weekend was a good one as the BGCM held their quarterly board meeting at Windermere Baptist Encampment. We heard a good report from Dan Bench, CEO of Windermere about the recent court ruling by Judge Callahan and some of the positive things that are taking place at this beautiful Baptist encampment. This is the one board meeting of the year when we have a two-day meeting in a retreat setting to do some team building and visioning exercises in addition to the normal ministry team meetings and business sessions.

I returned on Saturday evening and met with the family of a long-time church member who had passed away last Thursday in preparation for officiating at her service on Monday. I learned lots of interesting and humorous things about her that I hadn't learned in my frequent visits with her over the past several years so the funeral service included a good bit of humor and joyful celebration. I attended the service yesterday of another church member who has been battling cancer for many years and passed away on Saturday. Our minister of education had been neighbors with them years ago and conducted the service.

I met with another family this morning in preparation for another funeral I'll be conducting tomorrow afternoon. This will make the third funeral I've conducted and a total of five that I've been present at in the last two weeks. I spoke with one of the funeral home directors on Monday and he has been amazed by the number of folks dying recently. He told me that one day last week there were 104 obituaries in the Kansas City paper. I was checking on the lady whose service I'm doing tomorrow in the obit. section of the paper today and decided to count the number out of curiosity. There were 85 listed today.

Funeral ministry to me is something that is very significant. With senior adult ministry being one of the things I focus on, I'm asked to do a lot of funerals. I find it to be rewarding but also emotionally challenging, especially when they come as closely together as they have lately. I'm trusting warmer weather will mean less illness and healthier people.

2 comments:

Drew Hill said...

Gary- Good to run across your blog. Wasn't it George Bernard Shaw who said, "Death's statistics are very impressive. One out of every one dies." I resonate with your thoughts as to the vital importance of bereavement and funeral ministry done with compassion and integrity. Yet, it does take its toll on us, doesn't it? After a stretch like yours, I find I need some emotional "bounce back" time. Thanks for bringing up an often neglected subject.

Gary Snowden said...

Drew,

Thanks for dropping by for a visit. Shaw definitely had it right on his statistics. I trust things are going well for you these days in Sedalia. I passed through there over the weekend enroute to Windermere. Thanks again for the comment.