The Rev. Sally Campbell-Evans, our Congregational Care pastor, received a phone call recently from Jenny Carswell, a pastor at Tampa General Hospital, asking whether Hyde Park had a handbell she could borrow. Tampa General was planning a COVID Anniversary Memorial Service and the handbell would be used to toll the names of their patients who passed away. In addition, the Hospital was making 1000s of paper butterflies representing these patients and those who cared for them. Inside each butterfly was a note of encouragement or the name of someone impacted by the disease. Volunteers and staff members from Hyde Park gathered under the Ministry Offices Tent  to craft the butterflies pictured here.

When the hospital staff gathered for the memorial service on March 17, this is the litany that was shared with those in attendance:

We remember the lives lost.

Countless lives have been lost over the last year, some due to COVID and others for unrelated matters, but our grief is complicated by the many layers of loss and isolation over the last year. The blue butterflies in our installation include the names you submitted who have died in the last year. We also know many names rest on your hearts even if they were not written down. To remember them, I invite you to first join me in a call and response litany of remembrance. After the litany, you will hear Amy ring the bell five times. Each ring represents 100,000 who have died in our nation from COVID-19.

Please join me in this call and response poem entitled “We Remember Them.” After each line, I will raise my hands and invite you to say with me: “We remember them.”

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember them.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
we remember them.
In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as
we remember them.

Please join us in a moment of silence as you hear the bell ring.

A physician share this reflection about hope and tenderness:

Hope demands optimism, but tenderness has room for both sadness and joy. 
You can hope alone, but tenderness needs at least two. It’s a recognition, moments of “mutual seeing.”

Finally, an ICU nurse read a poem, “Blessing in the Chaos,” by the Rev. Jan Richardson, a member of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

To all that is chaotic
in you,
let there come silence.
Let there be a calming
We remember as we move ahead.

of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that have laid their claim on you,
that have made their home in you,
that go with you even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace that fashioned you.
Let what distracts you cease.
Let what divides you cease.
Let there come an end to what diminishes and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, where you find the peace
you did not think possible
and see what shimmers within the storm.

 

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