Christ Church Cranbrook, in cooperation with the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Office for Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship for the City of Detroit, hosted an online memorial service for those in Metro Detroit who have died from COVID-19. Participants include internationally known soprano Christine Goerke as well as Wayne Brown, President and CEO of the Michigan Opera Theatre and Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit. The memorial service can be watched here.
“At the time when we are all struggling to grieve, my greatest hope is that this service provides a unique opportunity to lift up every precious child of God we have lost over the course of this pandemic,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Danaher, Jr., Rector of Christ Church Cranbrook. “The language we are using will be from the Christian tradition, but it is my prayer that this service will encourage all faith traditions and communities to speak confidently with their own religious idiom. The loss of these lives is so great that we need multiple languages and rituals to reknit the spiritual tapestry that makes Metro Detroit so special.”
The memorial service included a special reading by Wayne Brown of “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou and a meditation by Rochelle Riley. It also featured four solo performances by Christine Goerke, accompanied by violinist Phoebe Gelzer-Govatos and pianist Steven McGhee, and, a listing of the names of the Metro Detroit COVID-19 victims gathered from publicly available sources. The service also included clergy and musicians and staff from Christ Church Cranbrook: The Rev. Dr. William J. Danaher, Jr., Rector; The Rev. Manisha Dostert, Senior Associate Rector; The Rev. Chris Harris, Associate Rector; Christopher Wells, Director of Music & Organist; and, Nathan Costa, Assistant Director of Music & Liturgist.
“It was a great honor to have been asked to participate in this moving service, dedicated to all who have been lost in this area due to this crushing pandemic,” said soprano Christine Goerke. “It is such a difficult time for all of us and having the ability and gift to grieve with each other is a communion like no other.” Goerke recently starred in Michigan Opera Theatre’s parking garage performances of “Twilight: Gods”, an hour long adaptation of Richard Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” or “Twilight of the Gods.”
Rochelle Riley, who coordinated the recent Belle Isle Memorial Drive past 907 billboard portraits of Detroit Covid-19 victims, added: “Our communities are experiencing profound loss. As so many of our loved ones have had to die alone, let us make sure that we are not forcing each other to grieve alone. Let us support and uplift each other. This was a powerful, moving way to do that.”
Christ Church Cranbrook COVID-19 Response Fund
In addition to this service, Christ Church Cranbrook has dedicated $219,000 to support individuals and communities directly affected by COVID-19, and, working with the Douglas Allison Family Foundation, which has granted $200,000 in catalytic grants to projects that address the root causes of poverty. Partners include: Forgotten Harvest, Crossroads of Michigan, Lighthouse of Oakland County, Front Line Appreciation Group of Metro Detroit, and First Baptist Institutional Church in Detroit.
About Christ Church Cranbrook
Founded in 1928, Christ Church Cranbrook (CCC) occupies a unique position in the greater Detroit area, providing a large dynamic, thriving, inclusive and welcoming parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan that creates safe space for diverse views. The parish was founded by remarkable acts of generosity and philanthropy, continuing its deep and abiding commitment to share the Gospel and promote positive social change through its many ministries and partnerships in Detroit and Pontiac. Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, CCC aims to gather Christian people from diverse backgrounds around God’s table in communion through its fourfold vision: Meeting Jesus, Finding Joy, Sharing Beauty, and Serving Others.