East Lansing church holds memorial service for those who could not have one during pandemic

(WILX 2021)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:54 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With restrictions on gatherings over the last 16 months things like funerals were forced to be set aside. Tuesday night, the All Saints Episcopal Church in East Lansing allowed anyone who was unable to properly honor their loved ones to attend a memorial service.

On a small table at the front of a large chapel sits pictures of people’s loved ones who passed on during the pandemic. All Saints Episcopal Church held a memorial for them, since they weren’t able to have a proper funeral.

Clark Burkle says he believes this event is necessary to honor those who’ve passed.

“My friend Dana Traub died in April. He was 75-years-old. It was sort of a quick demise and there was no funeral for him,” Burkle said. “I strongly believe that a funeral needs to take place when the person passes away. This is important to me. I brought his picture and I’ll write a short obit and we’ll remember him.”

Quincy Dobbs plays the piano at the church. Over the last 16 months he lost his sister and mother, and he says he’s grateful for the opportunity people have to remember the ones they love.

Dobbs said, “It’s been a difficult and trying year. This service is going to be an amazing healing memorial kind of service.”

The Reverend Kit Carlson came up with the idea after having experienced losses of her own.

“In my own life I lost my sister-in-law to a stroke, I lost one of my dearest friends in the world to a stroke, and my cousin OD’d,” Carlson said. “I understand a lot of people are feeling the same kind of loss. We weren’t able to gather in ways we typically do. We weren’t able to grieve in ways that we’re typically able to grieve.”

As the pianist for the church, Dobbs knows funerals and memorials like this tend to be an emotional experience for most people. But for Dobbs, the power of the musical chords he plays in addition to the meaning behind the ceremonies make it hard to hold back the tears.

“I do have this (tissue) in case I need to wipe a tear or two,” Dobbs said.

Reverend Carlson says one of the best ways to heal is to do it together.

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