One of the ministries of Good Shepherd is to provide space for people to grieve. This includes people from our community who do not belong to a church and who cannot afford a funeral home.
Edith was quite a character. Before the memorial service last month, I asked Kari Galloway, the executive director of Guest House to tell me a bit about Edith. The first thing she said was, “When you talk about her, you may also want to refer to her as ‘Pam.’ That was Edith’s alias when she was in prison and some people will know her by that name.”
As I say, Edith was quite a character!
Kari told me more about Edith. She talked about her love of children, she showed me a necklace Edith had made and talked about her beautiful crochet work as well as her ingenuity using her gifts. When she was in prison, Edith would crochet baby blankets and baby booties and the like for the children of other inmates. She also happened to have a thriving business crocheting cigarette pack holders!
When Edith died, she had completed the aftercare program for nonviolent female offenders at Guest House. She was living in an apartment in Alexandria, but over the years had burned so many bridges with family members that she had no contact with any of her six siblings.
And yet, the women, staff, and volunteers who came to know her at Guest House knew that Edith was far more than the things she had done long ago which landed her in jail. At the memorial service, one woman talked about how Edith was the one she called for support when she needed to get sober again. Several people decided that they could not just talk about Edith – they needed to sing to share the emotion they felt with her loss.
One of the ministries of Good Shepherd is to provide space for people to grieve. Edith’s service was the 3rd here in 18 months for someone who otherwise might not have a memorial service.
Everyone deserves a place to be grieved. Everyone deserves to have these words of commendation prayed:
“Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.”
I believe in this and the many other ministries of Good Shepherd and I support it financially with my tithe. This year, I received an unexpected end-of-the year gift from my mother – I have decided to give ½ of it, $500, to Good Shepherd in addition to my regular 10% offering because I believe that we are making a difference in this community. Will you join me?