One of the great privileges of my role as priest is that I am invited to be with people in their last hours. Sometimes people will express sympathy when I tell them about this part of my work, but I always try to convey the great privilege it is to be with people who are dying. This last week, I was with Canon James Garfield Long, Jr. on his last evening of consciousness.
Canon Long was simply Jim or Jim Long to those of us who knew him and loved him as a member of St. Dunstan’s Church. Jim was an intelligent man who quickly charmed the people he met. It was certainly amazing that he was 105 years old, but that wasn’t the most important thing about Jim. He saw life from a perspective that few of us ever achieve. His kind wisdom came from a deep love of God and a passion for using language to communicate the Gospel and the mission of the Church.
We will celebrate Jim’s life with a very special funeral service at St. Mark’s Cathedral on December 19th at 2:00PM. The Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Greg Rickel, will preside at this service, and I will have the privilege of preaching and eulogizing Jim’s life. There will be a reception after the service in Bloedel Hall. Our own St. Agnes Guild is hosting the reception. I pray that you will all come and help us celebrate Jim’s life and ministry.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. Thank you to all of you who have pledged to Pay it Forward at St. Dunstan’s Church with your pledge for 2015.