Remember Anne when she was at the West Salem Moravian Church when I was young. As a youth, Anne helped me practice my solo , "Fairest Lord Jesus', for our Christmas Eve program. Remember this and her each time that song is sang today. Great memory.
I can honestly say that my earliest memories are associated with a train trip my mother and I took to the USA to visit Uncle Clarence and Aunty Anne. I remember their manse with the screened porch, the layout of the house, their dog Mozart (Moe), and the really cool blanket that Anne had made that had a fuzzy leopard skin pattern.
One thing I always loved about Anne was that she listened, closely and deeply. Obviously she heard how much I liked that leopard skin fuzzy blanket, because for my birthday that year she sent me a pillow made of the same fabric. It lived on my bed for the better part of my childhood and early teen years.
Through her kindness and modelled example of active listening, I learned what it feels like to be in the presence of someone who offers non-judgmental validation. Now, as a counsellor, I offer that same presence to my clients, and teach active listening to parents. I continue to pass on the gift of being fully present, and often speak of Anne's example when I do.
Our family, and everyone whose life Anne touched, will miss Anne's lovely presence, but her influence lives on. My condolences go to Marc and Vicki, and Carol and Ron, and I thank them for helping to make Anne's last year's as comfortable as possible.
The Rev. Clarence and Ann Riske were faithful servants in the ministry of the Word/Sacrament, and of music in the congregations and communities they served in the Moravian Church. The obituary mentions their camper...when I was serving the Morning Star Moravian Church in Peoria, AZ, that camper pulled into our parking lot on Sunday mornings with a delightful visit following worship. If I were to characterize Anne and Clarence, it would be in the words of Isaiah 30:15, "In quietness and in trust shall be your strength." (NRSV) I'd also add the words "gentleness" and "kindness" as so descriptive of your folks. So, to you Mark and all in your family, know that a wider circle of family and friends holds you in their thoughts and prayers. I still recall your presence on our Boundary Waters Canoe trips and contacts during our Arizona days. May you and those you love be strengthened by God's presence and love.
Peace be with us all,
The Rt. Rev. Paul A. Graf
Bishop of the Moravian Church