Monday, 20 December 2010

seeing red

Here in this part of Wales, when there is a funeral everyone wears black, whereas in the South East of England, I stopped wearing black in the 1970's!
We had another funeral last Friday and again, about 200 people came to pay their respects! Unfortunately, our Chapel only seats about 80; the Baptist Union handbook includes the number we can squeeze in with seating in the school room and the stable! We usually have folk standing outside - these are the people who would never come into a church or chapel!
The weather was not quite so cold as at the previous funeral but everyone came in - shoulder to shoulder standing in the porch and the kitchen!
It was very sad to say goodbye to Barbara as she was so incredibly active in the community; at 77 she was still writing the village news letter and cycling everywhere - including to Chapel. One Sunday last year she was not in Chapel and we learnt that she was with a friend in his micro-light up in the sky!

She died while line-dancing with her friends in the village hall!

There seemed to be nothing wrong with Barbara - such a fit active lady. 
But over the previous few weeks I had noticed that she was one of the first to arrive at Chapel rather than one of the last, and she was singing the hymns even more lustily. On her last Sunday with us, she was one of the last to leave, it was as if she didn't want to go - was she making the most of her time in Chapel? She talked to me about the previous funeral and said that she would like everyone to wear some red to her funeral! I thought that would be a long time in the future!

We could always see Barbara coming as she always wore red - she loved the colour! I was not the only one she had told about her funeral arrangements and word soon spread around!

Everyone did wear black but there were red scarves worn by the most conservative of men, red gloves and hats - it was an amazing sight!
The family said that they would love it if the Christmas tree was up for the funeral - and it was decorated with red decorations.
It did stop snowing, and the Council followed the family's request and gritted the minor roads!
The sun shone and a red kite (the feathered variety) flew overhead!

So many stories were told; she taught her french Grandson how to play football, she had organised village pantomimes, she had even arranged for a donkey at Chapel one Palm Sunday!
She was a wonderful lady and will be missed.


  1. Wonderful! I had a similar experience in my last church. Being a small town the one gents outfitters ran out of red ties! It bewildered the undertakers to see me in my usual funeral attire complimented by a red scarf worn 'stole' fashion.

    What a way to go though - sad for those at the line dance but great for her.

    Think of you all as you mourn her passing

  2. I so love it when a 'funeral' bcomes a Thanksgiving and Celebration. What a witness to the abundant Life we can know in Jesus.

    But I hope you do not have too many more in the next few weeks [they can be quite emotionally draining for the Pastor, on top of all the Christmas stuff]

  3. Interestingly I did a funeral yesterday and everyone wore black (bar me) - it seems Christians have stopped but others haven't. I too don't wear black - my funeral garb is usually navy or deep purple (or if it s very conservative family, grey)