St. George Chapel
Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
July 28, 2019
There once was a funeral for a man named, John. The preacher asked for someone in the congregation speak kind words of the deceased. No one spoke. After several pleadings from the preacher for a comment about John, someone in the back of the church shouted: “Well, John was not as big a loser as his brother, Bill!”
As we are not here on All Saints Day, November First – when we remember all who have gone before us in the Spirit of God’s Grace – It seemed to me that it would be a good thing to take a moment to call forth the love, the companionship,the creativity, the brilliance and the energy of all those who have been a part of this wonderful and blessed chapel.
In a moment I will read the memorials to members of the cogregation on the plaques around the walls. Following that I will ask you to share the names of those you love who have died and you would want us to remember.
As the artist, Steve Lindsay reminded us last week when we dedicated this beautiful granite cross : St. George’s Chapel was begun to answer the religious needs of the residents of Long Cove, most of whom were of English or Scots background and were of the Anglican faith. Almost all of the men worked in the large granite quarry that occupied much of the Long Cove land,
For the First Lesson Lucy Banks read a portion from the Apocrapha. The 14 books of the Apocrapha, were written in Greek in the time period between the Old and New Testaments. There was great controversy over whether to include them in the canonical scriptures. The word Apocrapha means “hidden wisdom.” It is still read for its insight and wisdom. We might say that it is not unlike the redacted portions of the Mueller report.
Ben Sara, who translated the original Hebrew, called the “Wisdom of Sirach”, asks people to remember both those who are famous and known throughout the community, but also just as important the countless numbers who
have no memorial but are just as much at the center of what and who the community is about.
Ben Sara speaks of those who are celebrated:
Let us now praise famous persons and our ancestors in their generations. The Lord apportioned to them great glory, his majesty from the beginning.
There were those who ruled in their kingdoms, and were people renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and proclaiming prophecies; leaders of the people in their deliberations and in understanding of learning for the people, wise in their words of instruction;
those who composed musical tunes, and set forth verses in writing; (Our dear friend, Margaret Neeson)
He speaks of those who have faded into history:
And there are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived; they have become as though they had not been born, and so have their children after them. But these were persons of mercy, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their prosperity will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance to their children’s children.
And finally, Ben Sara says of those both known and unknown:
Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name lives to all generations. Peoples will declare their wisdom, and the congregation proclaims their praise
I find these words so stirring and comforting as I reflect on those we love who are no longer with us.
Jesus Christ called the Church into being. Now it is our task, through His grace to do this worship and mighty work.
Here is something to ponder:
Do we create this community or in fact, does the community create us. Are we here because this chapel has called us, or is this place here because we have agreed that it is a good thing to worship together. It is not unlike the question Michael Pollan asks about nature: Do bees pollinate the flowers on their own or do the flowers call the bees to themselves in order to live?
Therefore this day, we remember with the utmost gratitude many known and unknown. You can rightly say that we are sending them a love letter of our joy and immeasurable thankfulness that they have been in OUR lives as well as in this place. Around the chapel walls are plaques with the names of many who have been memorialized by those who have loved them. In addition some sent me additional names. After I have shared these names I invite all of us here to call out the names of loved ones you wish remembered as well.
These memorials on the walls of the chapel are given by those of us who wish not only to remember someone dear and close, but to keep us all in remembrance that we are in this holy place because of those who have gone before.
– The windows in this chapel, were given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Anne Howell Monahan, Mary Helen Monahan, Viola James Wathen. “In their light we shall see light”
– “Always remembering” The Rev, Edward Felix and Olivia Kloman, Olivia “Cis” Kloman Chappell. “And He Walks with me.”
– In loving memory of Jack McHenry Neeson (1918-2001) and Margaret Graham Neeson (1918-2010
– in loving memory of Charlotte Baker (1924-2012)
– In loving memory of Churchill Gibson Carey ((1912-1981) and Juliet McAdams Carey (1918-2008)
– Forester Clark Smith (1931-2007) God is Love
– In Loving memory of Kathleen and Charles Bingham and Aubrey Gorman. “Let There Be light.”
Alice wrote me the following: “It was given by Heidi Bingham Stott, my former sister-in-law, and me, for her parents and for my husband Aubrey Gorman.”
In Loving memory of Christine Anderson Maclin (1941-2016) Thanks Be to God. Christine, The love of my life.
Also, Betsy Scott wrote the following;
I have given a pledge towards the purchase of the cross in memory of my parents who loved the chapel, Bob and Betty Hunter. My mother was born in far away India, the daughter of missionaries, but her mother was from Tenants Harbor. Tenants Harbor was my mother’s true emotional home and this chapel in particular was very special to her.
John Snow wrote the following:
In a shameless plug, I might suggest you mention my grandfather Harold Dunne and his son Richard Dunne, both were Episcopal priests who served at the Chapel. My understanding is that grandfather (with his kids helping) re-opened the Chapel after World War II. It’s a special memory to me, even though he died before I was born. My Uncle Dick was my godfather and a bit of a hero to me as well.
And now I invite you to mention anyone you wish for us to remember this important Day.
Almighty God, with whom still live the spirits of those who die in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity: We give you heartfelt thanks for the good examples of all your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now find rest and refreshment. May we, with all of have died in the true faith of your holy Name, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal and everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
We have one last task.
Since none of us can be at our own funeral or memorial service and hope nice things will be said of us, (not like poor John in the opening story), take a moment for your own personal inventory. Contemplate what you wish to be said of you, by your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, by those who wait on you, and the whole community where you live.