Author: Harriet Simons

Two years ago, I was grieving the loss of my beloved husband, Parker Calkin, who passed away on June 10, 2017. I had just signed his enrollment in Hospice. Three days later he was gone. In the days and weeks that followed, I was stunned by the compassionate reaction to his passing by my church community—First Congregational Church, Boulder. The hundreds of hugs received when I returned to Sunday services, the incredible number of sympathy cards I read from so many of you, the prayers, the concerns expressed regarding how I was coping, and so forth were much appreciated. I recognized then even more than I had before, how much this church meant to me. 

Some of the cards I received were from people in our church whom I barely knew. I couldn’t wait to come to church those first few Sundays in June 2017 to be warmly greeted by people I had seen weekly for twenty years. I came to realize that for all the sermons, scripture, prayers, music and pastoral care—it was the entire community that I treasured the most. I found myself telling friends on the “outside” what a wonderful support my church had given me. This was several weeks before we actually had Parker’s memorial service. After all those cards and hugs, you came again one final time to honor Parker and to support me. Far from being sad on that day, I was surprised to find how happy I was to see everybody there. 

On Sunday mornings I still notice others near me who have lost loved ones since that time or in years past. I reflect on the fact that they continue to attend every week. I know they must share the same emotions that I have experienced. 

Some folks here may identify themselves as “Congregationalists.” Others might say that they belong to a “spiritual community.” Those definitions don’t quite satisfy me. As I acknowledge the fact that my own family members are scattered all across this country, I find I increasingly refer to the people at FCC as a significant part of my family—yes, family. We must all treasure what an extraordinary community we have here!

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