Yesterday was difficult. The first family funeral since I was ordained.
Fay, my Mother-in-Law, had passed away early on the 14th after a short stay in hospital.
Fay was the last of our parents and so for us that generation is now all gone.
As with our other parents we chose to have a service at the crematorium followed by a thanksgiving service at Church. Rachel, my superintendent minister, conducted the service at the crematorium which helped a lot. I gave a short reflection on Fay's life based on Philippians 3:12-14.
At Syston Methodist Church there were members from Syston and from Raunds Methodist Church where I served for 5 years (Fay had moved there to be near us and was very much part of the Church there for nearly 4 years). Also a minibus load of staff and residents from Aigburth, where Fay has spent the last two years (and been exceptionally happy there).
I just about held myself together for the service. Very unusually I had prepared a full script and given Rachel a copy. I think I only had her reaching for it once, ready to take over if needed.
We used Ruth 1:16-17 and Romans 8:38-39 as the texts. The Ruth reading seemed a wonderful fit for the way that Fay committed herself to new communities many times during her life. The Romans reading also reflected the confidence she always showed in her faith. Christine, the Aigburth Chaplain shared some memories and also led some of the prayers. We also had a slide show set to Bernadette Farrells version of Psalm 137 – one of my favourites.
We included some of Fay's favourite hymns as well. "What a friend we havge in Jesus" at the Crematorium. At the thanksgiving service we had "Praise my soul the King of Heaven", "One more step along the world I go" and "Love Divine".
Of course we also had food to follow which was very kindly prepared by members of Syston Methodist Church.