At the national conference and at many chapter meetings a memorial service is held to honor those ESP members having recently deceased. This page offers five potential ceremonies that have been used at previous meetings. You are welcome to adopt these for your use. If you have a difference ceremony that you have used in your chapter, please send it to us so we can can share it here on this site.
It seems appropriate to think about some of the special gifts we have received from those members of ESP who died during the past year--gifts of friendship, knowledge, and inspiration. We honor the memory of those members who, through their lives, enriched others and us. Their names appear in our annual report and we hope you will take a moment to think of those people who were special to you in your personal experience. The candles with bows tied on the holders represent the gifts we received from these special people.
Let us begin by lighting the first candle in memory of the gift of friendship.
For Extension workers, it often happens that our co-workers become close friends. Through long days of work, rides in the car, shared hotel rooms, and service to our profession, our working relationship turns into friendship. Helen Steiner Rice wrote this poem about friendship.
Don’t count your age by the years you’ve known,
But by the friends you’ve made and the kindness sown. For life is not measured by the years that you live, But by the deeds you do, and the joys you give.
We light the second candle in honor of the gift of knowledge gained from these departed friends.
As Extension professionals, they pledged to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Unselfish by nature, innate educators, and people-oriented, they were positive role models influencing decisions, methods, and outcomes. This resulted in the living legacy of an improved environment in their respective ―corner of the world. They gave their todays for our tomorrows. To paraphrase Henry Adams, “A great teacher affects eternity. One never knows were his or her influence stops.”
Finally, let us light the third candle in honor of the gift of inspiration we have drawn from these co-workers.
Let us reflect on the ways in which the lives of these fellow workers have touched ours perhaps as a mentor; perhaps as an office co-worker; perhaps as a supervisor; perhaps we shared committee responsibilities; or perhaps they paved the way before we began our work. In some way, we were colleagues and friends and they will remain in our memories. Nancy Gross said, “Memories are a gift from God to those left behind. They bring comfort, joy, and laughter, and they enable us to live forever in the hearts of those we love.”
Please stand for a moment of silent reflection as we celebrate these lives and their special place in our hearts. MOMENT OF SILENCE
Ursala K. LeGuin said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” Let us hope that these dear friends had a good journey. For their being, their inspiration, their friendship and our hope; let our thoughts be a tribute to their memory. You may be seated.
Thank you. (Extinguish candles)
ESP National ESP Conference, 1999 Prepared by Marilyn Schnittjer NC Regional VP, Iowa