Ben’s Passing

“I assure you that you will cry and lament, and the world will be happy.  You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman gives birth, she has pain because her time has come.  But when the child is born, she no longer remembers her distress because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. In the same way, you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and you will be overjoyed.  No one takes away your joy.”

John 16: 20-22

My Friends,

On Saturday, April 11th, our friend and brother, Ben Schneider, transitioned into life in paradise. In this transition he leaves his wife, Nicole, and children, Leo and Kaya, to our care.  Our hearts are heavy with the loss of this very good man, yet we know his spirit and his joy of life will be abundantly revealed in those who knew him best.

Over the course of the last two months I watched as love worked wonders around Ben.  I saw love in the heart of a wife who would not leave her husband’s side. I saw love in the compassion of grandparents who watched carefully over their grandchildren.  I saw love in parents that welcomed their son’s friends into their arms openly with gratitude. I saw love in friends that wove stories and experiences of Ben into a tapestry of joy that carried through the hearts of all who became part of it.  I saw love in healthcare providers that treated a young man as if he was part of their family in both care and compassion. I saw love in a parking lot full of people in cars, lighting candles and placing them on their hoods, while they sang at a distance from one another, but raising their voices in one accord in honor of the life that had touched them.

Our friend and brother, Ben, has passed from this physical world.  But, he remains in our hearts, in our minds, and in our souls. Collectively we carry the very best of him.  That is how the Holy Spirit works, connecting us in love in this world, until we are together in the next.

Nicki has asked that instead of flowers, donations be directed to a fund in memory of Ben.  It has been set up through our church. Click the following link, select “Make a One Time Gift”, enter your info, then enter the amount into the “Ben Schneider Memorial Fund.” http://umcchugiak.org/giving/  The fund will be dispersed at Nicki’s discretion, but it is likely the recipient programs will include the project Ben was working on – creating a mountain bike skills course out at the Mirror Lake Singletrack – as well as a program that buses kids, not otherwise exposed to the Eagle River Nature Center, out for field trips.

At this time of physical distancing, no memorial plans have yet been made.  We will let you know when such a gathering will occur.

Peace to us all.

In Christ,

Pastor David