Saturday, July 09, 2011

Kirstin’s Memorial will be July 30, 2011 (and yes, your help is needed!)

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,


Linda Tolladay said...

I will bring my favorite homemade bread, with rosemary, dill and onion. I'm coming from out of town (Fresno) so much else in the way of food is more challenging. I can also start some rosemary plants.

Linda (a friend of Kirstin's from the online community Not of This Ilk)

Randy A. Knutson said...

We would be an eager participants if we were going to be in town, but we'll be in Seattle! We will honor Kirstin with a donation and I hope someone will share a recording of the liturgy. Peace & love, Robin & Randy Knutson

susan s. said...

Andee, I will be out of the country then. I will send you a check like I did before, OK?

Caminante said...

Though I cannot be with you physically, I will plant some rosemary and remember you both through it. Look for my note at FB.

Fran said...

How I wish I could be there with you. I too will plant some rosemary and it will always be a remembrance of Kirstin.


(where should donations be sent?)

Lori K said...

If I can borrow one of my Sacramento neighbors' grill, I'll bring 5 pounds of curried chicken skewers. I'd also be very honored to read. The Trinity kitchen has been remodeled, so I'm not sure how much help I would be as an organizer, but I'll ask around about who might be. I'm also asking my limited musician contacts about bluegrass entertainment.

SHC aka Gator said...

I can't make it in person (I'm in Florida). But I'll be there in spirit, and I will make a donation via your PayPal account.

Thank you so much for keeping those of us who knew Kristin online informed. When you have a moment, could you post her rosemary bread recipe? Baking a loaf might be a good way for those of us who can't be there to honor her. Thanks again.

Jane said...

andee - how can I make a financial contribution from uk to usa ! Is paypal an option?
What a wonderful celebration of her life is being so lovingly attended to x

PBPrince said...

do you need someone to take care of her Washington ashes?

JCF said...

Will bring pasta salad, and will come early to sing.

Tiffany said...

I've reached out to a bluegrass band and hopefully he'll be in touch w/ you shortly!

este cantor said...

Dear Andee,
July 30 is my daughter's birthday, but I hope to come for the service anyway. I too am trying to get an old time music band together for a few songs. Maybe you will have multiple musical offerings!

Mary Beth said...

I will light a candle and bake some bread at the corresponding hour in Texas...and think of you all and of Kirstin. Thank you for the invitation and I wish I could be there in body, not just spirit.

Joanna H. said...

Hi Andee -
Can you please let us know who/how to send donations towards the cost of the service?

Lisa Brodoff said...

Yes, please let us know how to donate. Thank you for all you have done. We are celebrating Kirstin's life here in Olympia, Washington.

Jessica said...


What's the best address to send you a contribution? You are doing an extraordinary job commemorating her life. Blessings and love!


it's margaret said...

I'm missing you today, friend.

Apostle In Exile said...

For those who want to make donations, you can either make them to my Paypay account ( or email me at that address and I'll reply with my snail mail address. For obvious reasons, I don't want to post that address in a public forum! Love to you all, Andee

Suzer said...

Thinking about Kirstin today, and about the preparations I'm sure are happening for her memorial service. I look forward to watching the service here, once it is put up. I will be with you all in spirit tomorrow as Kirstin is remembered in love.