Diane Stelton’s family called me to see if I could pray with her as she was dying. Diane is a former member of the St.Croix Falls United Methodist Church where I pastored from 1997-2008. I can’t go as clergy, but I can go as a friend. That the family sees me as clergy can’t be helped. I’d planned to stop in on Thursday but managed to work in a visit on Tuesday late in the afternoon. She died that evening.
The family asked me to do Diane’s funeral, but it turned out that Shannon, Diane’s daughter, is an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Almelund, Minnesota and the funeral was to be held there. Rev.Marla Amborn was most gracious and invited me to participate, although in reality I was being shoved into her service. I ended up doing the sermon, which for me really was more of a sharing that ended with John 14 aimed directly at the widower and his children and grandchildren.
Immanuel Lutheran is a majestic space in the middle of just about nowhere. All it needs is air conditioning, perhaps for some old person to say, “That’s enough! I’ll loan you the money for a/c; pay me back as you are able.” Save for the lack of a/c, the building is beautiful and an honoring to God. Driving there you just watch out for deer.
The service went well and people told me that my message spoke to them, as well as celebrating Diane’s life. I thank God for the opportunity and for the help that made up for a decade of being out of touch with Diane and her family.