Beth Merrill Neel

Beth Merrill Neel is a Presbyterian pastor. She blogs at Hold Fast to What is Good, part of the CCblogs network.

A week ago I led a memorial service, a celebration of life, for a two-day old. It was excruciating, as you might imagine. It was also stunning and beautiful, as you might not imagine. Pain was real and evident, but more present was the love that surrounded these two parents and these three grandparents. That service came on the tail of four other deaths in our congregation, all women in their nineties. 
July 24, 2016

Evidently we’ve been reaching out to our neighbors without meaning to do so. It’s the latest church trend—unintentional evangelism. Every Thursday, our choir rehearses in our fellowship hall, a large and acoustically great space on the second floor of the education wing.
May 5, 2016

We were just about to enter the sanctuary with the paschal light when the pastor carrying the Christ candle turned around and said in a stage whisper, “Aaron is here.” At first I thought he’d said, “Karen is here,” which I already knew—she came to church on Easter even though her mother had died two days before. I must have had a weird look on my face because he said again, “Aaron is here.” And I knew that our second Easter service of the day would now be up for grabs.
March 28, 2016