Christmastide Blessings

Christmastide Blessings
Annual Incarnation of the Story of the Birth of Jesus

Continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, JOYFULLY, together.

We worship at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Sunday School begins at 11 am.
Potluck is the first Sunday of the month.

17975 Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine, MI 49042

florence.brethren.mennonite@gmail.com

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bryan H. Shelly remembered in Costa Rica

The Nofsinger family has just returned from a trip to Costa Rica. There they spent several days with Martha and Henry Miller. They took some of Bryan's ashes, and, as he wished, scattered them in the ocean. They shared these thoughts and photos with Kim and Mark, Ian and Todd. In turn, they are sharing them with us.

Thank you to all for continuing to embrace us all as we celebrate and grieve Bryan's life and death.






Hi Mark, Kim, Ian and Todd,

Early this morning before the sun came up I awoke to the sound of squawking parrots and the stillness of early morning. The quiet was especially welcome after on and off heavy rainstorms during the night. I remembered that exactly one year ago we gathered with you for the memorial service of Bryan at the Marcellus High School. And now we find ourselves in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica with the Nofsingers, including Gary's brother Dave and wife Dara and Henry and Martha.

After breakfast we gathered in our courtyard with Bryan's ashes and began the walk down the steep hill, past the soccer field, past the elementary school, down the busy street, taking turns carrying Bryan. I thought of all the ways in which we didn't carry Bryan when he most needed us so it was especially comforting to think that we could carry his ashes on this last leg of his journey from Marcellus to the land of Martha's birth, down the winding mountain, through the rain forest by van, plane, bus and taxi and finally by foot down to the edge of the sea.

We gathered in a circle and poured Bryan's ashes over our hands and sang a few lines of the song that we sang at Bryan's memorial service, "Here in This Place".

Here in this place new light is streaming,
now is the darkness vanished away.
See in this space our fears and our dreamings
brought here to you in the light of this day.

Gather us in the lost and forsaken.
Gather us in the blind and the lame.
Call to us now and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of your name.


...and then the second verse which begins...

We are the young, our lives are a mystery,
we are the old who yearn for your face....
we have been sung through all of history,
called to be light to the whole human race.....


After taking some quiet moments to toss ashes into the sea, Henry and Gary dug a hole by the edge of the water to bury the remainder and we remembered how much fun Bryan had playing in the sand in Pensacola and wanted to be completely covered by sand except for his head.

As we finished, we were overcome with emotion and took some time to settle ourselves and remember how much Bryan's life and spirit is still very much alive within us. We are forever changed by our fifteen years of knowing and loving him and are honored by your request to bring his remains here to Costa Rica. It gives us comfort to know that part of Bryan will remain here with Martha's ancestors and by the sea which he so enjoyed.









Thank you for allowing us to participate in this ritual as we continue to walk the journey with you towards healing and understanding.

With all our love,

Chris, Gary, Luke, Andrew, Ben, Rose, Henry and Martha






Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Completing 2010 in Love and Memory: Honoring Bryan


On Monday evening, December 27, lots of us gathered at the home of Kim Henrtizy and Mark Shelly, Ian and Todd, to remember Bryan Shelly. This was the one year anniversary of his death.



Kim and Mark prepared a warm home, lots of food, photos and posters and other memories of Bryan. The T-shirt quilts that had been worked on all last year were done. And the Christmas tree was lit.

Lots of young folks gathered in the basement, the older ones mostly upstairs. And each of us took a turn to write a memory of Bryan or attach a photo to milk jug candle holders outdoors.







Thanks, Kim, Mark, Ian and Todd for opening your lives, your love and your grief to all of us. We all miss Bryan. We have all learned a lot about depression, and how to hold each other up in all circumstances. May the new year be blessed with new life for all.