Faithlife Sermons

Funeral: Thomas James Mitchell

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Good morning. My name is Jack Radcliffe and I am a pastor here at Ypsilanti Friends Church.
On behalf of the family of Thomas James Mitchell, thank you for being her this morning.
Your presence today is an affirmation of your love and support for them. Although they may not remember every word shared today, they will remember your presence here for the rest of their lives.
We’ve come to mourn, to celebrate his life, share stories, cry and laugh. Most of all we’ve come to say thank you to God who created Thomas and gave him to us.


Let’s begin by standing and singing together How Great Thou Art.
The words are on the screen or if you prefer, turn to p. 4 in the hymnal.


It might be difficult to believe, but the Bible says that it’s actually good for us to be here today. In , God says this:
Ecclesiastes 7:2 ESV
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of every person; the living should take this to heart.
In other words, God says that it’s better to go to a funeral than to a party. It’s better to be in a cemetery than at a football game.
First, it’s a time to celebrate the life that God gave Thomas.
It has been good to hear from Karen and Kristen that:
As the oldest of four, two brothers and one sister, sue was his favorite sister.
He spent his entire engineering career with one company, GM.
He had eclectic vacation tastes: Traverse City, Frankfort, MI, Colorado (to visit Kristen and Paul) and Gatlinburg, TN.
His hobbies were just as diverse: cars, model airplanes and reading Tom Clancy, James Patterson, and Stephen King.
He loved his family deeply and Daschunds were always part of the family.
Second, it’s a time for us to say good-bye to Thomas. As hard as it is, this service will help us begin the process of letting go.
And, third, it’s a time where many of us us will pause and take a look at our own lives because we’re reminded of our own mortality. Some will look back and reflect on how we’ve lived it, smile at the thought of moments or people that made them richer. Others might wrestle with what if’s, regrets; were we the person we wanted to be, did we love others to the fullest?
Inevitably, we’ll turn to looking ahead, how much time do I have? What will I do with the time left? Am I ready to leave this life and what will come after it?
Philippians 1:21
Philippians 1:21 ESV
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Paul would have preferred to be with Jesus in heaven but also knew that this life matters.
The stories of how and why Paul mattered to the people in the churches he started and visited often were likely told for generations. His life in Christ and witness of Christ impacted and changed them forever.
Our lives speak what matters to us In our commitments, relationships, values, priorities.
In our commitments, relationships, values, priorities.

Family Remembrances

We’re going to hear from a couple of members of Thomas’ family: Ray and Shirley about why Thomas mattered to them.

Ray Klein

Shirley Jackson


Invitation to continue sharing stories during lunch in the Fellowship Hall.


"Our Father in Heaven, in as much as you, in your sovereign love, have called the soul of our loved one and friend, Thomas Mitchell, to be with you, we express our thanks, for the privilege of knowing him. We thank you for the way he impacted our lives, and for your grace to us in this moment. We are grateful for your love; You who have prepared a place for all who trust you, and who alone are worthy of our faith, to you we trust for strength, comfort, perspective and purpose. Amen.
Invitation to Lunch in the Fellowship Hall
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