I told the first story from a funeral I did and I thought that I might continue those stories.
To understand this story you need to know that The Salvation Army is a protestant denomination with a heritage of Methodism as William Booth was a Methodist minister and of course the Methodists come out of an Anglican tradition…. so there’s the back story.
The family who made the request seemed very interested in having The Salvation Army involved though I had never met them before. It was clear early in the conversation that this family had a catholic background and were Italian in heritage.
I worked with the family to create a meaningful service and they were a lovely family.
This was back in the day of funeral processions, and usually I would ride with the funeral director in an early car so as to talk about what would happen at the cometary. This family were really engaging and friendly and on the day of the funeral and they surprised me by asking if I would ride with them in the family car – which was an enormous limo… so I hopped in and off we went. It was about a 10 or 15 minute drive to the cometary. The family was in a very good mood and were quite chatty.
As we talked I asked them this question – “it is clear to me that you have been a catholic family so I’m surprised that you wanted a Salvation Army funeral?!”
The mother responded with this lovely comment: “Well, we had a fall out with the catholic church many years ago and we didn’t want them to do the funeral – and we certainly didn’t a protestant funeral so we thought of The Salvation Army – cause you guys are nothing.”
I tried not to let my face reflect what I was thinking but you can imagine what landed on my ears – “you guys are nothing”…
I know she was being complimentary about our apparent neutrality in the social fabric – we help anyone – but I did think it was funny.