On June 6, a co-worker of mine, Kevin, died as a result of a terrible car accident. He was just shy of four months older than me. Kevin lived and worked in Utah. Last Monday, my boss, Rosemary, said that the CIO for my part of Perot Systems (my employer/day job) wanted someone to do a memorial service and asked me if I would be willing to do one. I indicated that I would be glad to put something together, provided that I could make it a Christian service and not hold back from mentioning the Christian approach to grief and the Christian Hope. Kevin was a strong Christian and his faith (and the faith of his wife) was evident in the Caring Bridge posts that I read about Kevin. I also asked for and received the permission of my bishop to do the service. One thing about deacons is that we have very little authority of our own. All our authority is derived from another source. While I did not think there would be a problem, I wanted to be sure, so I checked.
The service was held today. About 10 members of Kevin's family showed up. These family members live in the Dallas area and could not make it to Utah for Kevin's memorial service at his home church.
I spoke with Kevin's wife and a few other people about Kevin's favorite songs, his favorite scriptures and other things. I then put together a service that honored Kevin's faith and would be a "basic" Christian service. We sang Amazing Grace, read Romans 8:28-39, John 10:11-16, and I preached about a 8 min sermon about where God is in grief and tragedy, what the Christian Hope is, and about giving thanks to God for letting us know Kevin.
All that is pretty normal and happens all the time. But the interesting thing was that this happened at a Fortune 500 company with the approval and participation of senior management. Furthermore, and this is the really odd thing, about 30 people joined us for the service via conference call and netmeeting. The service wasn't webcast (that's been done thousands of times), but we had a conference call circut and people from India and across the US participated in the service - particularly when I asked for people willing to share their stories of Kevin.
Please pray for the soul of Kevin and for his family in their grief.