Fr. Gordon Gardiner, Rector of St. James’ from 1966-1988, died last Sunday afternoon at the age of 95, after a period of withdrawal and declining health these past few years. In his last days he received the Last Rites, and was visited by Jean Wilson, Deacon Joyce and Paul Stanwood.
Three recent pastoral conversations, together with the deaths of Fr. Gardiner, Helen Tataren and a close friend of mine, have in their different ways reminded me how important it is for each of us to make sure from time to time that our personal affairs are in order, and that our relatives, friends and/or executors are aware of our wishes and instructions in the event of our death. It is so helpful to and much easier for family and loved ones if there is a Will detailing any bequests to individuals and/or charities, and a letter setting out preferred funeral arrangements. This is especially so if those responsible are unfamiliar with Anglican funeral practice.
So I encourage us all, and I need to include myself here, to check that Wills are up to date, and that we have made clear our wishes for our funeral. Please feel free to approach any of the clergy if you would like to discuss funeral arrangements or any related matter. Also, the office has a Funeral Arrangements Form available for parishioners to complete and leave on file.
I appreciate some may consider this a rather morbid note, but two things: one, this is to assist those we leave behind, and, two, our dying is an inevitable and significant stage in our Christian journey and hope.
“Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. So we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4.14,17b,18 (NRSV)