[Springboard] David McCleskey's Memorial Service

Jack Gilles icabombay at igc.org
Mon Aug 25 12:42:06 EDT 2008

Dear Colleagues,

“To serve, sing, and dance – A symphony of peace for all Earth’s  
people – Beginning with myself”     Personal mission statement of  
David McCleskey.

I have spent the last three days with Pat Webb in preparation for and  
the conducting of David’s Memorial service.  I had the opportunity to  
read every one of the letters, cards and emails that many of you sent  
to Pat & David.  What a Profound community we are!  Yesterday, the day  
after the service, I rode with Pat as we re-visited the places that  
she and David lived in OKC.  Each place was an opportunity for her to  
share what was happening in their life at that point and what David  
was about.  This was important for Pat and I’m glad I was there to  

I want to share some of the experience of David’s service.  There were  
about 130 people present only a few of whom were Order or Movemental  
colleagues.  Conna Shropshire played the piano and Bill and Susanne  
Parker were part of the service, bringing some symbols of David’s  
service to the world through ICA to the altar.  Pat and her two sons,  
Craig and Kirk at her side, held up magnificently throughout the  
entire event, even through the singing of the closing hymn, For All  
the Saints, which she was sure would cause her to she cry  
uncontrollably.   She didn’t, she stood with radiant joy and sang with  
all of us.

This was one of the great experiences of my life.  There are not words  
to describe either the feeling or the meaning of what happened, but  
I’ll try and give you a taste of what went on for me. We hope to  
eventually scan the service document and post it on the Repository,  
but here is the flow.  The service was recorded and a CD will be  
produced, but no video was made.

At the front of a U shaped congregational seating was a bare cloth- 
covered altar with only a large unlit candle.  In front of the alter  
was another table low to the floor with lots of drums, feathers,  
baskets and other Native American artifacts.  At each front corner,  
high on the wall, was a large screen with a picture of David.  David’s  
ashes were in a meditation room above and over the entrance to the  
sanctuary.  Several of us sat in prayer with them prior to the service.

After an opening invocation and a bell, there was a silent procession  
to the Altar of people bringing symbols of David’s life journey; from  
his youth, EI/ICA/OE period, his recent years and finally his  
Fulfillment and legacy.  Then there was a Native American woman who  
did a sage blessing over everything, sand at the four sides of the  
altar and a feather held to the four cardinal directions, all done in  
silence.   As Conna played movement songs, a slide show of David’s  
life played on the two giant screens.  What a delight!  We sang Those  
Who Wait on the Lord, after which I did a Eulogy on David’s life  
journey.  A marvelous local group sang a couple of wonderful songs for  
us.  Larry Ward did a profound spin on David, death and the Buddhist  
perspective.  He evoked David’s sacred dharma name given to him in  
2005, True Mountain of Goodness.  This was Larry at his most profound  
and transparent.   There was a closing by the pastor, a prayer of  
unison and a singing of For All the Saints.  The candle was lit and a  
closing bell rung.  Afterwards, many joined together in a fine dinner  
at the church.

I am filled with many profound thoughts, most of which I won’t share  
at this time.  The last couple of days of David’s dying were filled  
with amazing events that Pat spent hours sharing with me.  His  
transition was a profound address to all who participated in it.  His  
cremation service was itself another transparency event. But I wanted  
to share one thought in particular that addressed me so strongly.  The  
understanding of the Word “To Die is To Live,” came to me with  
absolute overwhelming power and truth.  David’s dying and death were  
the most life-giving experience I have had.  His living presence in  
his home (I slept in his bed) and his presence at the service were  
real, palpable, and filled the space with peace and goodness.  Those  
who came to be at a memorial service to say goodbye, were instead  
presented with the gift of experiencing Eternal Life, right there, now  
and forever!  What a gift to give to the living!  Resurrection is just  
the way life is.  When you die an authentic death, which David did,  
that very dying gives life.  David gave all of us life; his life, our  
life, the eternal life.

Finally, I would ask all of you to keep Patricia in your prayers.  Her  
grief is profound and her dependence on David for so much of the  
ordinary things in their life was great.  She has been granted a month  
leave of paid absence from her teaching work.  That is a blessing and  
she hopes to travel to Florida to visit her 95year old mother with her  
two boys next week.  She also plans to do some writing of her  
experiences during this whole time.  She is getting some amazing  
messages from David, including ones for both Larry and myself that she  
has shared.  She plans to respond to your cards and letters when she  
can.  For those who are so moved, donations in David’s name can be  
made to their Silence Foundation, P.O Box 20934, Oklahoma City, OK,  

Grace is yours, and Peace,

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