Monday, November 21, 2011

A Memorial Service

     On Saturday, Nov. 19, a memorial service was held for Jayne E. McClure in the Washington Park United Church of Christ church in Denver, Colorado.
     At least 200, probably 300 people came. The church had never been so full. 
     Enlarged photographs of Jayne – as a student teacher, as a bride, as a mother, as a grandmother—were propped up on the circular altar table in the center of the sanctuary. A microphone and music stand were placed next to the piano on the east side of the room. Her immediate family – sons, daughter-in-law, granddaughters and husband sat in the first row on the west side of the room. In other first rows: her sister and her family, her aunt, her great good friends, and her sister-in-law and nephew.
     The service began when her husband, Bill, lighted a single candle. Robert Johnson, a wonderful bass, sang “Lord, Listen to Your Children” as a prelude. The senior minister welcomed everyone, and (as he would throughout the service) helped people find places to sit. Then Robert Johnson sang, “Wade in the Water,” an African American spiritual.
Her son Lance read words by Eleanor Roosevelt – one of Jayne’s heroes. Her former minister and great family friend, Rev. Bob West, read words by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.—another of Jayne’s heroes. Those assembled sang “This Little Light of Mine.”
     The host minister reviewed Jayne’s life. People spoke spontaneously. Her daughter-in-law Kelly read something little granddaughter Iris had dictated. Her older granddaughter Emily spoke eloquently. Then great good friends – fellow teacher – her sister in law, her nephew shared memories, stories, tributes – keeping it short, as Jayne would have wished.
Then her other son, Michael, read “To Autumn,” by John Keats. A young guitarist, J.T. Nolan, performed the song “Timshel.”
     After a benediction, the church music director, Luke Rackers, played an original composition called “Jayne’s Joy.”
     The candle was extinguished.
     People stood and mingled, sharing stories and hugs and passing boxes of tissues. Eventually, people left, many driving across the city for the reception at Jayne’s last home. The reception, the stories, the tears and laughter lasted a long, long time.

The memories of Jayne will last significantly longer.

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