More than 60 people turned up for the Dedication of seven new Leaves of Remembrance on Friday, August 16, 2013.  (Fourteen Leaves at this same location were laid last year, so there are 21 Leaves of Remembrance altogether at the site, Seattle Mennonite Church, 3120 NE 125th.)

The ritual was co-led by Pastor Melanie Neufeld of Seattle Mennonite Church and Sally Kinney of the Homeless Remembrance Project Committee, and started with words of welcome and a litany of the seven names.  Then, there was a public time of sharing memories.  Then, we had the community “take up” the Leaves, one by one, and lay them down on the sidewalk (where they’re now permanently affixed), and Sally led a stone-laying ritual (from the Jewish tradition).  Then, (this was unplanned), folks laid down flowers on the newly-laid Leaves.  Afterwards, there was a reception in the church, with refreshments provided by the Mennonites, the Latter Day Saints Women’s Group, and the Lake City Hunger Task Force.  It was a real community event.

The arc of the story in the photos really follows family members who were there to honor their loved ones.  The Nicks-Weiss family (parents, brothers, in-laws, nephews, others) turned up in great numbers to honor Martha Louise Weiss; each held a sunflower through the ceremony, and laid them down by Martha’s Leaf at the end of the dedication.  Also, Keith Burbach, Arleta Burbach’s son, turned up and made remarks about his mom.   Their presence made the event particularly moving and inspiring.

Martha Weiss' parents Walt & Celia Nicks

Walt & Celia Nicks,
parents of Martha Weiss

Adam Weiss, with sunflower

Adam Weiss, Martha’s nephew

Attending the ceremony

Attending the ceremony

Keith Burbach & Pastor Melanie Neufeld

Keith Burbach (Arleta’s son)
& Pastor Melanie

Solace

Sharing memories brings solace.

Walt Nicks placing flowers

Walt Nicks placing flowers by the Leaf of his daughter, Martha Weiss.

Leaf of Remembrance for Martha Weiss, with sunflowers

Leaf of Remembrance for Martha Weiss,
with flowers from her family.

Leaf of Remembrance for Billi Jean Paulsen, with flowers..

Leaf of Remembrance for Billi Jean Paulsen,
with flowers..

Arleta Butrbach's Leaf, with flowers

Leaf of Remembrance for Arleta Burbach
with flowers from Keith Burbach.

Sheila preparing the reception.

Sheila, a volunteer at the reception.

 

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Related Sites
  • Homeless Remembrance Project The main site of the Homeless Remembrance Project, with much more about the Tree of Life.
  • Mary's Place The only day center where homeless women can go with their children & co-sponsor of Women in Black.
  • WHEEL WHEEL (Women’s Housing, Equality & Enhancement League) is a grassroots organizing effort of homeless women.