The Gathering of Virtue

Our beloved Deacon Howard George Shannon passed away on Friday, September 21st, while my husband and I were in Seattle, helping my son move into his freshman dorm. We returned home with heavy hearts, yet grateful for so much. His funeral will be this Wednesday at 1pm.

The weekend proved difficult as the sorrow of this time seemed to tug on me, and I found myself unable to be very productive. I swept the floors, and unpacked, and wiped down the counters, then I found myself quiet on the couch, unable to muster much beyond just sitting there. And then I think your prayers all kicked in. A peace settled over me and I found myself filled with joy, and looking forward to celebrating and grieving with my church community.

These days leading up to the service, I’m mindful of Deacon Howard’s legacy of joy. His spirit of giving was infectious and I’m hopeful that some of his goodness has rubbed off on me. I pray so. Over these last several weeks, as he struggled for life, the show of love for this man has been overwhelming. And it’s because he gave us all so much LOVE these last many years–he gave so much of himself–every time, every moment we were together. Always a smile, always a joke and a wink and a chuckle. Always fun and life and the gift of being completely present. And I have this image in my mind of my hands scooping gently up some of the virtue that dwelled in him, that is swirling slowly around us now, here for the taking. A gift from him. A gift to all of us.

And so I’m baking bread, and giving it away, and baking cookies, and sharing them. And I’m so very thankful to have known such a wonderful man…



My son’s godfather was recently diagnosed with cancer.

It has been about two months since he began treatment, and the sweet man has kept up his humor and his joyful spirit, but he’s thinner–a lot thinner. I asked him last Sunday about bread–was he eating any and could I make him some?

Jane, he said in his southern accent, if it’s soft, really soft, I’ll try it. I’m willing to try anything right now…

So I literally raced home, baked some molasses bread and zipped it over to his house. Packed with whole wheat, oats, some butter and iron-rich molasses, I told him that if he could stomach it, I’d bake for him whenever he wanted.

And I mean it…

Would you cheer him on with me?

We love you, Deacon Howard!!!