Sunday, May 3, 2009

Leif's Memorial Service at St. Petersburg Unitarian Universalist Church - April 29, 2008

I knew we wanted to have Leif honored with a military ceremony and inurned in a national cemetery, but I also wanted another, longer service to remember him. Initially it was hard to plan because I didn't know a good place to have it or what to do. I spent a lot of time looking at ideas online and in books. Leif was not a religious person, and called himself an agnostic. A regular religious church service would not have been at all true to the man, and a service at a funeral home seemed too sad and sterile to me. I once was a member of the Unitarian Universalist church by mail, called The Church of the Larger Fellowship, and that got me to wondering whether a service at a Unitarian church might be the best option.

Through the internet I found the St. Petersburg Unitarian Universalist Church and Reverend Manish Mishra. It was the place we needed. With him we planned a "Celebration of Life" that was truthful and fitting about Leif's life and death. It was held at 4:00 p.m. at the church at 719 Arlington Avenue, St. Petersburg. It was not a long distance from the cemetery, and that, too, was helpful. The people at the church helped me to find a pianist, Ms. Dorothy Byrne, to play songs I selected, and I gradually put together a program with Leif's family and friends participating.

The photos above are of the church and the program I made for guests. the program photos may be too small for you to read them, but in the following days, I will write more about the service which began with music and the lighting of the flaming chalice, a tradition in Unitarian churches. Rev. Manish welcomed the visitors and the pianist played "To Dream the Impossible Dream" before our first speaker.

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