Words of Blessing by Rev. Pat Simpson
FALLEN LEAVES INSTALLATION Ceremony led by Reverend Pat Simpson on August 16, 2011
Family and Adult Service Center and Angeline’s
We are gathered here in front of the Family and Adult Service Center to remember eleven fellow human beings who were homeless in our community, and who had a connection to this place of hospitality and compassion. I am Rev. Pat Simpson, part of the Homeless Remembrance Project. Clark Wiegman, the artist who has dedicated himself to this project and created these leaves is now laying the last of the 11 leaves in this group.
So much goes on here – invisible to thousands of people walking along, going about their business. It recalls a plea from the prophet Jeremiah many centuries ago, that we read at our first installation in June:
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which was brought upon me . . .
These Leaves of Remembrance bear witness: The sorrows and struggles of people living without a home are not nothing. There is courage here, and community, and hope. And all too often there is death at a young age, grief for family and friends who will never forget comrades they loved. Now these Leaves say “Our city must not forget!” Those who pass by are called by these names to remembrance, to compassion, and to action. They cry out for justice, for shelter and safety.
Now as we read the names of those honored by these Leaves, I invite you to respond after each one, “We remember you.”
ROBERT TEUBNER: 1932—2005
STEVEN SHROPSHIRE: 1949—2006
BUD SEARS: 1958–2006
TIMOTHY DEWITT: 1964—2001
BOKARY LOUM: 1960—2006
THOMAS FRIBLEY: 1958—2005
BRIAN REITAN: 1971—2009
PAUL CORGATELLI: 1953—2007
HILARY BLUE: 1974—2007
JEREMY CAMPBELL: 1975—2009
JOSE MARCOS LUCIO: 1962–1999
May they rest in peace, and may we never forget.
Of course there are memories to share and stories to tell about these people, because some of you knew them. I ask you to hold those thoughts for a little bit as we move across the street to dedicate more Leaves. Then we’re invited to a gathering where we’ll have time share thoughts and tributes.
Now we stand at Angeline’s and Opportunity Place – another location where compassion, courage and community go on unnoticed by passers-by. These leaves are being installed in partnership with the YWCA.
Now let us dedicate all of these Leaves, honoring 15 women who were connected to this place by saying “We remember you.”
SARAH SULLIVAN: 1948–2011
APRIL BEACHEM: 1960—2008
ELLA LEWIS: 1947–2009
ANNETTE ANDERSON: 1972—2008
MICHELLE JACKSON: 1970—2009
SHARON KILGORE: 1959–2010
MELODY RAYL: 1965–2008
DINAH LANE: 1951–2005
ROBIN LANGSTON: 1972–2000
RENEE WILLIAMS: 1966–2004
IRENE GIGUERRE: 1956—2006
TONYA “SONSHINE” SMITH: 1968—2006
DELORES BEAMON: 1949—2004
TESSIE COMESLAST: 1956—1999
DINETTA WILLIAMS: 1962–2008
May they rest in peace, and may we never forget them.
Before we go to celebrate and honor those we have named today, let us remember one more thing. There is work to do – the work of compassion, advocacy and justice-making that will someday bring homelessness to an end. It is ours to accomplish together: housed and homeless, poor and rich, women and men, young and old. Let us draw strength from the determination, courage and resilience of the people who gather at these two day centers.
And let us go forth in hope.