Friday evening, April 3, friends of Lee Davenport gathered online to celebrate his life in our midst. Most of us only knew him through his insightful and sometimes humorous comments on our blogs, on Facebook and other places in the 'net. We felt somewhat adrift with our grief as we could not go to where his service was being held in Emmanuel Church, Bristol, Virginia.
Deacon Larry Shell of Northern Michigan organized an online service for us. Using his blog and Facebook we followed the Burial Office of the Book of Common Prayer, listened to music chosen for the occasion, said prayers together in our many distant homes, and heard a sermon that had been given by The Rev Mark Frazier at his service in Bristol.
Some would probably say - it can't work - but it did and we were able to be together virtually when we could not be present in Virginia.
After the service Larry Shell writes:
I went to bed Monday night with my mind awhirl thinking about the folks who were in such pain over Lee's death. I tried to sleep but the Spirit wouldn't let me - started to get this idea - this image of a cyber service for all of us who are a virtual family. I actually got back out of bed after midnight and whipped together the Emmanuel Cyber Chapel blog space and the FB Group Chapel space as well as the initial "event" invite for the service. I didn't know what to expect but the reaction was awesome.
Then I set about preparing the service and getting folks to record the key things, submit music, etc. The best bit was getting Mark to do the sermon - I had no idea at first who he was. When I found out he was going to record his actual sermon for us - I knew this was coming together with the help of the divine.
...we had folks in CA, CO, MO, AK, VA, TN, NY, NC, MD, MI, Canada, and a friend of Lee's who is in France right now.
Kirkepiscatoid blogs the experience here.
There I was, in the dark, by my fire, standing and reciting the Apostle’s creed with tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes and my voice cracking b/c the sheer beauty of what was happening was just grabbing me. I was NOT alone in the dark. I was standing in God’s firmament, with several other people slung all over the country, at that moment who were all in their "sacred spaces for the evening", reciting the Creed.
Some of the comments after the service:
This really meant a lot to me, Larry. I used to get a lot of texts when Lee would change his status on FB. And I really miss them... him.
just finished attending a cyber-memorial service for her late friend Lee here on Facebook. I have to admit it was more powerful than some live-time funerals I've attended.
Thank you Larry for all your heart-felt work giving us the opportunity to celebrate Lee's life and participate in his memorial.
Maria Evans writes: I was out in the yard, by my chiminea, in my sacred space in the yard. It was as "live" a service as it gets, and one of the most real Eucharists I've ever had."
Bloggers who wrote: