Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Death of a Minister

Web Kitchell's memorial service was this afternoon, at the Santa Fe church which he served as settled minister for 17 years and as Emeritus minister for another 10. The church did itself proud. Stephen Furrer, the current minister, told us that Web had left a list of the music and hymns, didn't want any god-talk, and did want "droll stories" shared. So, that's what we heard. In lieu of god talk, I read these quotations from Camus.

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.

When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

My colleague Jim Zacharias got to read from one of Web's coyote books, and there were, indeed, several droll stories. The best of them? The church administrator said that before Web arrived, the church had signed up for call waiting, but Web hated hearing the little beep of an incoming call while he was on the phone. He called it "telephonicus interruptus". They got rid of it.

The second best story? The Santa Fe church was a Fellowship when Web arrived, and they didn't like it when Web, still the New Englander, wore his robe. So it was suggested to his wife that she suggest to him that he might preach in a suit. (That's how things were done in those days) Web obliged, but in his own quirky way. Turns out that old New Englander didn't know how to put an outfit together. So there was the Sunday...judging by the laughter, some people remembered it...when he wore a green suit with a blue checkered shirt. The members suggested to his wife that she take him shopping. This she declined to do. "I married him as he is," she said. Web went back to wearing a robe and the congregation accepted it.

It was a lovely service. Rest in Peace, Web...good colleague, good minister, good man.

P.S. Was Coyote there? Well, I didn't exactly see him. But after the service, on the table of photographs Web's family had arranged, some thoughtless person had left a bag from Dunkin Donuts...


ms. kitty said...

What a good send-off for a wonderful man! Thanks for the report. Was Coyote there, I hope? I guess he probably was, at least in spirit.

James said...


Thank you, Christine.