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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Paying respects at church

R.I. congregation hosts both funeral and calling hours

When cancer claimed Jean Zimmerman's life, people from all over Rhode Island wanted to pay their respects, both at calling hours and at the funeral the following day.

The funeral, of course, was in the church sanctuary where Jean had led the Sunday morning liturgy as cantor. Calling hours were traditionally in the funeral home, but this particular funeral home was on the narrow side streets of an adjacent town. As her pastor I suggested holding calling hours in the congregation's community room. Jean's husband, the church council and the undertaker agreed.

No one could have anticipated how appropriate the church setting seemed to those who paid their last respects to the deceased and the family. In the decade since, calling hours for members with few exceptions have taken place in the church's community room.


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December issue

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