A celebration of Kirstin Paisley’s life,
including Communion open to all,
committal of ashes,
and a grand feast afterward,
will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011,
at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento, CA.
The service will be video-recorded, and shared online via her blog, later that day (thanks, Sean McConnell). Plans are in the works to make the online service interactive, too.
She wanted as many people as possible to be able to participate in the Trinity service – not only her close friends, but representatives of the many different communities her life touched. We’ll need acolytes, torch bearers, crucifers, readers, ushers, communion bread-bakers; lay and ordained ministers to distribute the bread and wine during Communion; flowers purchased and arranged for the altar; singers who can show up an hour earlier, rehearse briefly, then be part of the choir. Oh – and at least one of the hymns needs drum accompaniment. If one of these calls to you, let me know!
Treasuring the gift of Christ in Communion as she did, and hoping until nearly the end that one day she would be ordained priest and able to be the celebrant herself, Kirstin directed that her ashes be placed in Trinity’s columbarium, so she could be present every time Communion was celebrated. But she also wanted a bit of her to remain in places that had been so special to her – a beach near Santa Cruz, The Bishop’s Ranch, the Washington mountains, and nourishing a tree in an orchard somewhere (your orchard, perhaps?). And – shhh, don’t tell the authorities – but so it shall be.
For the feast after the service, she wanted real food (not just desserts and finger food), the best we can provide. Home-made bread (she’d gotten really good at making artisanal breads herself during the last year). Main dishes and salads and desserts that would make the best restaurant proud. With lots of leftovers to share with the homeless through Loaves & Fishes and Safe Ground.
Many churches have a guild that provides or organizes meals after funerals; I understand that Trinity does not (Trinity folk – is this your chance to start this ministry?). Other times, the memorial feast is catered – but that’s not only very expensive, it’s also really hard to arrange when we don’t know if there will be 50 or 500 people at the service. Which leaves us with potluck, or well-planned spaghetti feed or barbeque, or a combination where the main course is prepared by a corps of wonderful volunteers while salads and desserts are potluck. Maybe one of you can take on the responsibility of organizing this? And if you’re willing to bring food, let me know, and I’ll link you up with whoever takes on the role of coordinating the feast.
She also dreamed of having a live “old-time” fiddler or bluegrass band at the feast. Are you one, or do you know of one, or are you willing to cover the cost of the musicians once we find them?
Speaking of cost – yes, contributions towards the cost of the columbarium space and service will be welcome; it looks like this is going to cost a couple of thousand dollars more than I was estimating, even without catering or musician fees. Memorial donations can also be made to Trinity Cathedral’s Outreach Fund, or to the Melanoma Research Foundation. Any contributions toward the cost of the memorial service that are not needed for that purpose will be donated to those agencies.
Several months before her death, and indeed well before we knew the cancer was terminal, Kirstin took some rosemary clippings from a neighboring shrub and started to try to root them. For months (and months) they just sat in their pots, not dying, but not doing anything either. Two weeks before her death, they started growing. She got to see, and celebrate, as they reached towards the sky.
Rosemary, in medieval herb lore, was called the herb of remembrance. And so I’m wondering if some of you would be willing to start some rosemary plants in small pots, enough to give one to each person who comes to the memorial, wrapped in a pretty ribbon and with Kirstin’s favorite rosemary bread recipe tied on…as symbol, and faith, and promise, that what God began in Kirstin, and in each of us through knowing Kirstin, that the love that we shared, will indeed take root and grow and live again.
Yours in faith,