Lenten service honors deceased with music

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FARMINGTON — The last of the area Lenten Sunday Evening Services was held on Palm Sunday at the Farmington Falls Union Baptist Church with each of the six churches involved bringing a musical number to share.

As each church readied their musical presentation, the former piano and organ players of that church were honored. Pastor Marcia Charles of the New Sharon Congregational UCC was instrumental in getting red and white carnations to a member of each church before the service. By the end of the evening, the individual carnations became a beautiful bouquet on the altar in recognition of the many years of service of these Christian servants.

Rev. John Tolman of FFUBC read excerpts from some of the obituaries of the musicians and passed along some of his own personal experiences. Some of the members of the congregation added how these folks had made a difference in their lives as well.

First to be honored was Hazel Bean Small, remembered as a woman of great faith, who served as the organist at the Vienna Baptist Church since 1930 and had been the organist at the North Vienna United Methodist Church since 1986.

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Crystal Blomquist served the New Sharon United Methodist Church for a number of years and was a teacher of music for many area students. Her son, Robert Perry, continues to serve the church as organist. Pastor Kathleen Dunford of the Mercer United Methodist Church remembered Crystal teaching the choir years ago “Give Me Oil For My Lamp,” and led the congregation in singing that song in remembrance.

Following the Farmington Trinity United Methodist Church selection, Ruby Lamkin, Ellie Clifford and Dorothy Ogilvie were remembered and their carnations were placed upon the altar by Allan Tracy.

Maurice Hovey, accompanied by his son David on the piano, played “He Washed My Eyes With Tears” on his harmonica and sang the lyrics for the offertory.

The Mercer United Methodist Church remembered Pastor George Donald with the congregation singing “The Lighthouse,” led by Ann Allison of the New Sharon United Methodist Church. Pastor Donald’s widow, Marjorie, was in attendance. After many years of service she still leads the choir at Mercer.

Clara Thompson Fitz who had played piano and organ at the New Sharon Congregational Church since her teenage years — nearly 80 years — was remembered by the congregation singing a senior version of “Jesus Loves Me.” This was the last song she played on the piano at Pinewood Terrace the day before she went to the hospital for the final time.

Annie Longley and Drew Gilman, both longtime musicians at the Farmington Falls Union Baptist Church and teachers of music in the community, were honored by the congregation singing “The Church’s One Foundation,” with Kitty Gee whistling the tune accompanied by David Hovey on the piano.

Since the FFUBC has no resident choir, a planned sextet of the clergy of the churches comprised of Marcia Charles, Kathleen Dunford, Karen Garcia, Terry McKinley, John Tolman and Bob Fidler filling in for Laura Church, gave a rendition of the hymn “When We See Christ – It Will Be Worth It All.”

The service was closed with the singing of “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” bringing to mind Pastors Marcia Charles and Terry McKinley as they will be leaving their churches in the near future.

The benediction composed by Lois Gage formerly of the New Sharon Congregational UCC concluded the service. Refreshments were served by the church fellowship to many of the 82 attendees.

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