Gladys Priest_250xGladys Joan Priest was born Gladys Joan Cline on January 3, 1925 in Zelma, Saskatchewan to Richard and Caroline Cline.

Due to poor recording quality, the singing from Gladys' funeral has been cut from the online audio here.  However, the words of the hymns are included in the order of service below.

You can listen to Gladys' funeral by clicking heremp3. By right clicking on that link (and selecting the correct option) you can save the recording to your computer for listening off-line.

Order of Service for Gladys Priest's Funeral - November 19, 2011

Welcome

Call to Worship:

God is with us. God's love unites us. God's purpose Steadies us. God's Spirit Comforts us.

Response:

Come then people of faith. Let us worship our God who loves us in life, in death, and in life beyond death.

Opening Prayer:

Oh God, compassionate beyond our understanding and loving beyond our believing. The one who knew us within our mother's womb. Touch our hearts with your enduring love and bring us relief from our sorrow that we may discern your love for us and yoru beloved child, Gladys Joan Cline-Priest. Let the whole world see and know that age has been made new again through the power of your love. Amen

Hymn - Oh Love That Will Not Let me Go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Eulogy

Gladys Joan Priest was born Gladys Joan Cline on January 3, 1925 in Zelma, Saskatchewan to Richard and Caroline Cline.

One of her lifelong passions was teaching. From 1942-1956 she taught in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, and then was a substitute teacher for one year in British Columbia. She also taught Special Ed. for a year in Port Alberni. She also at times taught adults to read and sons-in-law when it was OK to eat a mid meal snack alone in the kitchen (which is never by the way).

She married another life long passion - Percy Priest - on August 12, 1950 in Kingston Ontario
Together they had 5 children - Donna, Jean, Bill, Steve, and Susan and eventually sons and daughters in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Gladys was very active in her church - The United Church. In 1941 she was a Sunday School teacher, organist in 1944 and 1947, and over the years a pianist in care homes, church treasurer and chairperson, and coordinator for annual bazaar.

Her hobbies included music, knitting, needlepoint, crocheting, sewing garments of every description from bathing suits to a 4 piece tailored suit - whatever her family’s need were.

She said that if she could live her life over again she would recognize “fatigue” as a very real illness and have a greater knowledge and thereby understanding that “depression” is a very subtle, destructive force within the human body.

Of pets she said she loved horses and dogs but never made a “pet” of any.

She listed her favorite things as music, watching the clouds, the big prairie sky, a sunset and children of all ages.

She wanted her family to remember her for:

  1. trying to be a good mother
  2. finding the promise of goodness in each individual
  3. that each “mistake” can become a learning experience.

A message she want to leave for family and friends was a verse taken from a poem by Edna Jacques:

Take time to laugh and sing and play
To really cherish and enjoy
A little girl with bouncing curls
And the small wonder fo a boy
They ask so little . . . . when they’re small
Just love and tenderness . . . . that’s all

She also wrote, In my latter years I had a deep need to remain in the home which Percy and I built because his creative “objects” of many descriptions surrounded me. Oft times I would find myself humming “My Happiness” - the song which filled my mind after the “farewell” parting we had. I had totally given myself in LOVE to the the young man who had stolen my heart.

Though her life had times of many trials, difficulties and storms, last Saturday it ended peacefully with as quiet and significant passing as anyone could hope to have.

Hymn - In The Bulb

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

HYMN OF PROMISE
Copyright © 1986 Hope Publishing Company.

Scripture Readings - Pastor Matt Sampson (Married to Gladys' grand-daughter, Alyssa)

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever."
- Isaiah 40:8

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
- Psalm 121 

"You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
- Psalm 139:1-10

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
- John 14: 1-4, 6+7 

Words of Comfort and Encouragement - Pastor Tim Davis (Gladys' Son-In Law)

I've been thnking back on a meeting we had when planning Percy's funeral.  Terry White was there and he said to me, "Not everyone at the church was a Gladys fan - but I am."

As a pastor I understand what Terry meant. Church, like a family, is a place with lots of different kinds of people who don't gel without the effort of love.

A number of times, over the years, I've thought about that comment and come to realize that I am a Gladys fan as well.

First of all, she gave birth to Susan - the most special and wonderful person in my life. So how could I not be a fan.

Second of all, she was part of a generation that simply had to get it done - whatever "it was". Tom Brokaw has aptly described Gladys' generation as "the greatest generation." Gladys' generation survived without a social safety net, fought enemies who's defeat was not a forgone conclusion, and lived in a time when weakness was not something to be expressed in the hope of finding support and remedy.

Gladys lived when life was hard and lonely - a time when all you had was family and faith and no choice but to keep going.

I mention faith because of other notes she left behind.

Gladys had a personal faith and relationship with Jesus. She wanted everyone to know that she had a strong faith and belief in the Holy Spirit.  She also noted that hindsight is 20/20.

As she looked back she recalled being thrice called by a "Voice" as a preschooler.

She had 3 identical dreams which laid out her early development as a teacher

She also wrote of the "angel chorus" which accompanied her "born again" experience.

I can't help but be a fan of Gladys for her personal trust and faith in Jesus - especially with 20/20 hindsight looking back on her life.

Today, the trials and troubles of life have not changed and the storms of our existence have not lessened in their severity. However, in spite of the presence of a social safety net, universal medicare, the self-help movement, and society's openness to discuss and embrace any brokenness with a "there, there" and "poor you" backed up by a human rights tribunal, so many today never accomplish what Gladys and her generation did without help other than faith in Jesus to keep them going.

Sure, looking back in 20/20 hindsight we can also see many things that could have been done differently or not done at all - things that could have been said and some things that should have been left unsaid.

Still though, I am a fan of Gladys because, like her, I would rather be under construction in Jesus than broken down trying to live life on my own.

Seeing her in that light can let us all want to be more like her in faith in Jesus and to thank God for her.

Hymn - We Have an Anchor

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

Chorus:
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.

It is safely moored, 'twill the storm withstand,
For 'tis well secured by the Savior's hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

Chorus

It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o'erflow.

Chorus

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil.

Chorus

When our eyes behold through the gath’ring night
The city of gold, our harbor bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heav’nly shore,
With the storms all past forevermore.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Blessing and Sending Forth

On our hearts and on our homes

Response - The blessing of God

In our coming and our going

Response - The peace of God

In our life and our believing

Response - The love of God

At our end and new beginning

Response - The arms of of God welcome us and bring us home.

AMEN

Benediction:

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
2 Thessalonians 3:16