Today was “thank you Steve” Sunday at my church. Jen started the service with a little welcome (a Covid innovation) and thanked me right away (applause). Her sermon started with “Music helps.” Oh fuck, I thought. Yep, the sermon was about me (applause). Then at the announcements, she came back with a little bag of stuff and a speech (applause). We closed with “Sweet sweet spirit.” It was my idea since the only person who could come up with something they wanted to sing was a choir member who suggested, “This little light of mine.”
Unfortunately the choral arrangement we do does not include congregational participation. So “Sweet sweet spirit” it is. My sopranos met beforehand in the choir room to practice the descant I cribbed from the singing of the composer, Doris Akers. It’s not easy. As I passed though the choir room getting my robe, I told the singers I would go a bit slower today to make it easier to sing the Akers’ licks.
Which I did. There was applause after the hymn and after my bluesy improvised postlude.
Then there was a reception outside.
I kept telling people it felt a bit like a funeral.
There were three easels with nice montages of me and Eileen in the back next to the organ (very funeral like). Plus the homily was about me like a deceased person. Several people said that it couldn’t be funeral since it was a celebration! I said that’s how we try to do funerals.
I have already submitted the hymns for next week my last Sunday. They will be announcing my successor this week.