St. Paul’s Cathedral recently held a celebration of the 120 current Legacy Society members who have remembered their spiritual home in their end-of-life plans. On Monday, September 15 over 70 of those individuals gathered as the Schola choir sang a special Evensong service, which was followed by dinner at Croce’s on Fifth Avenue. George Kuhrts, chair of the endowment committee and member of St. Paul’s, spoke about the seven members who have died since the Society last gathered. They are: Deedra Hardman, Frank Tucker, Ellen Tufts, Elizabeth Walker, Anne Will, Marie Zadarnowski and Ray Chavez. Mr. Kuhrts talked about their involvement at St. Paul’s, his memories of them and what was important to them – their church home. His stories helped bring them to life for the group, especially for two surviving spouses who were present. The Very Rev. Penny Bridges communicated her deep gratitude to those who have thought through their estate plans and remembered the Cathedral in them. She handed out beautifully rendered wooden icons of St. Paul to all new Society members as a visible reminder of the Cathedral’s thanks.
The theme of light played throughout the evening, from the choir’s rendition of Howard Helvey’s “O Lux Beatissima,” and its peaceful sonority, to the candlelight dancing with the evening light streaming through the rose window. Instead of sitting in the pews, Legacy Society members sat in the chancel, close to the altar, which made for an intimate service. Surrounded by wood and candlelight, attendees basked in the music, prayers and words from the Dean.
In her homily, Dean Bridges honored those “whose dedication and generosity made it possible for us to sit here tonight . . . so that this cathedral can continue to shine in San Diego as a bright light of hope and welcome for future generations.”
A wide swath of Episcopalians has generously remembered the church in estate plans, as represented by the diversity of the attendees. People in their 30s to their 90s make up the Legacy Society; manifold points of view, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and political leanings compose the group. Anyone may join by simply including a clause in their wills that leaves a percentage or a fixed amount of their estate to St. Paul’s Cathedral. If you would like more information, please contact Teresa Mathes: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Book of Common Prayer reminds all persons “to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable purposes.” (BCP p.445)