Two stories of living a life of service in the face of death:
Can a minister follow his own advice about embracing life in the face of death?
The Reverend Forrest Church never expected to live past 60, since all the men in his family — including former United States Senator Frank Church —had died before reaching that age.
So when Reverend Church was diagnosed three years ago with terminal cancer, he decided to go public with his imminent “progress” toward death. His hope was to help others find their way to a “good death,” if that was possible, as he had counseled others to do for more than 30 years as a Unitarian minister.
“We’re all terminally ill,” Church said. “Life is a gift that comes with death attached.”
Click HERE to view an introduction of this series of stories on the AARP website, along with a video about Forrest Church.
From the Irenic Thoughts blog of the Rev. Frank Logue in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia
The Rev. Deacon Jim McDonald died yesterday surrounded by family. He had been ordained as a Deacon in Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church the previous Wednesday evening. Ordained for less than a week, all knew that his death was imminent on the night of his ordination. At some level this makes no sense at all. But the way I see it, this is the holiest act, and the rightest, bestest act of the church in memory.
The reason Jim was ordained a deacon last Wednesday night, though his death was drawing near, is because he was already BEING a deacon. Once in cancer treatment, Jim began to reach out to his fellow patients. He jumped through the hoops to be able to serve as a chaplain at his treatment center so that he could go room to room listening to other patients and praying with them. Only if they asked, did he acknowledge that he too was a patient. Mostly he would try to keep the focus off himself and his own fight against the progress of the disease. Instead he would listen and pray.