Order of Service – Ruth Amy Metcalf

August 18, 2007, East Charleston, VT

Pre-service Music                             

Welcome/ Scripture & Prayer:                 

               Congregational Song:                     Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

               Family Thoughts                            Read by Dan Whitney

               Eulogy                                          Dan

               Personal Reflections                       Congregation

               Congregational Song                      Trust And Obey   


               Song: Give Me Jesus                      Dan Whitney/Geri Rosser

               Congregational Song:                    What a Day That Will Be 

               Closing Prayer                                Dan


Good Afternoon.

We have gathered together today to glorify God and to remember the life of our dear loved one and friend, Ruth Amy Metcalf.  To you members of her family, we especially offer our deep and sincere sympathy.  Let us hear the words of the gospel writer John, that we may be encouraged:

Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25). 




Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we come to this moment in this place realizing our utter dependence on you.  We know you love us and can turn even the shadow of death into the light of morning.  Help us now, as we wait before you.

You are our Refuge and strength, O God, a very present help in the time of trouble.  Grant to us your abundant mercy.  May all who mourn today find comfort and healing in your sustaining grace.

We pray humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus  Christ, Amen.


2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

It is because of our confidence in the Words of Christ that we can sing with joy this day – a favorite Hymn of Ruth’s --




Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Family Thoughts (Readings)


Eulogy  (Dan)

Ruth Amy Gardner was born to Will and Olive Gardner on the family homestead in Island Pond, Vermont, the oldest of 10 siblings.  As you know, Island Pond is a wonderful little town, rich in beauty and history, filled with Cranberry bogs, lakes, farms, and enough bear to spice family conversations..  As the oldest, Ruth helped care for her brothers and sisters.  At the age of 16 she began training to become a teacher.  Later, she attended Eastern Nazarene College and the University of Mass @ Amherst and was within just a few hours of graduating.  Ruth met the love of her life…Henry, a pastor…and they began a ministry together that spanned 62 years. They pastored across the North East in various states and churches. Lately, Ruth was a member of the Gahanna, OH  Shepherd Church of the Nazarene.

We gathered here just a few years ago to pay tribute to Henry after his passing, and now we are here to remember Ruth. Ruth went to be with the Lord on August 5, 2007, at 93 Years of age. Her three children are Richard Lee Metcalf, Ruth Anne Metcalf, and Geri Rosser. She also leaves behind, 2 sisters, 2 brothers and 2 grandchildren.

Ruth’s favorite verse of scripture was Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  There is incredible truth in this verse, and it is a verse God used to reveal Himself not only to Ruth, but also to her family.  Listen to this verse again…“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Ruth trusted God to meet all her needs…and God never failed her.  One special example of this happened just in the past two weeks.  There was a need to find a nursing facility for Ruth to receive additional therapy and treatments following her hip surgery.  God miraculously provided a bed at the Traditions care facility in Gahanna.  A nurse at Traditions asked Ruth Anne and Geri how their Mom was able to get in…she said it usually takes 2 years.  God was true to His word… “my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” 

God gave Ruth many gifts…and she used her gifts to help build the Kingdom.  Ruth enjoyed playing the piano and loved to sing.  She loved all kinds of music…hymns...choruses…and music from her Readers’ Digest songbooks.  Ruth had the gift of encouragement.  She loved to write notes to people…encouraging them…loving them…and letting them know she was praying for their needs. 

She loved being a part of the Golden Girls small group at Shepherd Church, a group of ladies, all of them widows, who meet weekly for prayer, Bible study…and to simply encourage one another.  I get the impression she was somewhat the matriarch of the Golden Girls. 

Ruth could be described with many adjectives:  Hardy, funny, compassionate, opinionated, prayerful, faith-full, loving, always hopeful, and full of grace. 

Rarely was Ruth down and depressed…but in the event she became a bit blue…her daughter Ruth Anne says that Chinese food would do the trick.  Apparently her comfort food was always the same…sizzling rice soup and shrimp toast.  She especially loved hearing the sound of the rice when they prepared it at their table.

Geri mentioned that she knew her Mom cared about her but did not always know exactly how to show it.  One humorous example of this happened when Geri was a student at ENC.  Her mom sent her a care package to school.  The package arrived and there was a bit of an odor coming from the container… and there was stain on the box.  Geri carefully opened the box… only to find a Santa’s boot, a package of cookies now reduced to crumbs in a bag,  and what was left of a deteriorating banana.  All of this was sent third class through the mail.  It was the thought that counted!

Ruth helped us to laugh…but not always on purpose.  In recent days, she could play the piano in two different keys…one on the left hand and one on the right… she made a joyful noise.

I remember Ruth from her visits to us while we were pastoring in New York State.  Henry and Ruth came to do Bible School for us.  One afternoon, Ruth told me that the ruins of the first location of Fordham University were somewhere around that town, and she would like to hike out and try to find them.  Ruth was nearing 80 years of age at the time.

Together we hiked through fields and pastures, crawled over and under barbed wire fences, until we finally found the ruins. There were only a few stone walls still standing – nothing to indicate what we had found. Still satisfied, with a sense of accomplishment, we turned around and headed back home.

Perhaps Ruth Amy Metcalf’s greatest legacy was the battle she waged on her knees.  She was always in prayer for her kids.  If they wandered…it was prayer that brought them back.

Ruth knew the God of the Universe, her Savior and friend… through Prayer.  At her husband’s funeral, Greg Rosser shared the following quote from E.M. Bounds. 

”Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing.  It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence.  It is a voice which goes into God's ear and it lives as long as God's ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God's heart is alive to holy things.  God shapes the world by prayer.  Prayers are deathless.  The lips that utter them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God's heart is set on them. Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”

We praise God today for the faithfulness of Ruth Amy Metcalf…her steadfast prayers for her family, friends and church.  And for knowing the one who saved her and now holds her in His arms…the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.



Congregational Expressions (open)

Congregational Song:
  Trust and Obey


I'd like to take a moment this afternoon to articulate the exact content of the Christian faith.  Ruth would have liked this kind of sermon -- no non-sense -- bare essentials --.  I take time to do this because we live in a society which values all opinions equally.  Our motto is, "You are free to believe what ever you like"  And while it is true that you are free to believe whatever you like, that does NOT mean that all beliefs are equal.  As a matter of fact, it doesn't mean that all beliefs are right.

You are free to believe that the earth is flat  You are free to believe that the universe rotates around the earth.  You are free to believe that the moon is made out of green cheese.  You are free to believe these things -- but you would be wrong if you did.  One of the interesting things about our society is, that in our eagerness to allow freedom of thought, we no longer discriminate between the noble and the ordinary, the excellent and the average . . . and unfortunately, we sometimes don't even discriminate between the true and the false.

In the Christian realm, there are lots of differing beliefs about the afterlife.  We hear about reincarnation, channeling, New Age philosophies, annihilation theories.  But for those of us who are Christian, the Apostle Paul spells it out for us rather clearly.

1 Cor 15:1 (NIV)  Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

1 Cor 15:2 (NIV)  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

1 Cor 15:3 (NIV)  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

1 Cor 15:4 (NIV)  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

After reminding us of our resurrection, he continues in verse 35:

1 Cor 15:35 (NIV)  But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?"

1 Cor 15:36 (NIV)  How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

1 Cor 15:37 (NIV)  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

1 Cor 15:38 (NIV)  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

1 Cor 15:42 (NIV)  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;

1 Cor 15:43 (NIV)  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

1 Cor 15:44 (NIV)  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Whenever we recite the apostle's creed . . . we tell the world that we believe in the resurrection of the body.  What is it that we believe?

We do not believe that we come back in some other form.  We don't come back as animals or plants or anything else.  We are humans, now and forever.

We are not going to change into angels someday.  Heaven is more than a place for angels.  Humans will inhabit heaven.  Humans are destined to fellowship with God forever in his home.

We do not believe that we will become Gods someday.  Neither are we going to turn into demons, or ghosts or poltergeists or any such things.

The Christian statement of faith is -- that there is coming a day when, based on the judgment of God, all those who have a relationship of faith in Jesus the Son of God will be given New Bodies, new Spiritual bodies.  And those who receive these new bodies will live forever in heaven with Christ. 

Paul says:

1 Cor 15:51 (NIV)  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--

1 Cor 15:52 (NIV)  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

We will be changed -- we will, each of us, one day -- step from this life into the next.  It only makes sense, then, to prepare for that crossing.

I’ve learned some things about gardening from a friend of mine..  If I want my bulbs to grow into flowers next spring, I must treat them correctly during the winter before.  Some can stay right in the ground.  Others need to be dug up in the fall, and then replanted if they are to bloom.  Some need a certain amount of cold.  However, if I don't take the proper steps, they will never bloom; they will simply rot in the soil.

Very much like flower bulbs, our present lives require preparation, if we expect them to bloom into the world to come.  Jesus says to Nicodemus -- you must be born of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.   Eternal life is the gift of God to all who are in Christ Jesus.  Paul writes to the Roman church -- the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And what form does that eternal life take?  We will live as humans, freed from the pain of sin and death, freed from the limitations of a fleshly body -- and free to worship Christ together with our brothers and sisters in Christ . .  . forever.

I must confess, there is much about heaven that I do not know.  But the most important thing about heaven I do know .   . and that is How to get there. 

I figure, once I get there, I'll have all the time in the world to learn about heaven . . . right now, I just have to make certain I get there.

John 3:16 (NIV)  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Through repentance and forgiveness of sins, by opening my life to Jesus Christ as Master and Lord, I can have confidence that he will give even me the gift of eternal life.

1 Cor 15:57 (NIV)  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

This is a great day to be certain that you are prepared to meet Jesus – by choosing to live for him now.  Let’s quiet our hearts before Him, and listen for his Voice.



Song:  Give Me Jesus - Dan / Geri Rosser

 V1., In the morning when I rise . . .

Give Me Jesus – You can have all this world, but give me Jesus

V2., And When I am alone . .

Give Me Jesus – You can have all this world, but give me Jesus

V3., And When I come to die . .

Give Me Jesus – You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.


Congregational Song:  What a Day That Will Be

Closing Prayer

  -- Cemetery

Scripture   Job 19: 25   I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

27  I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

Psalm 23

Ruth, our sister in the faith, we entrust you to God who created you.  May you return to the one who formed us out of the dust of the earth. Surrounded by angels and triumphant saints, may Christ himself embrace you as you go forth from this life.

Christ, the Lord of glory, who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.

Christ, the high priest, who has forgiven all your sins, keep you among his people.

Christ, the Son of God, who died for you, show you the glories of His eternal kingdom.

Christ the Good Shepherd, enfold you with his tender care.  May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the sight of God forever.  Amen.

Forasmuch as the spirit of our departed loved one has returned to God who gave it, we therefore tenderly commit her body to the grave in sure trust and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall give to us new bodies like his own glorious body.

Let us pray:  Our heavenly Father, God of all mercy, we look to you now in this moment of sorrow and bereavement.  Comfort these dear ones whose hearts are heavy and sad.  We ask you to be with them, to sustain them and guide them in the days to come. Grant that they may love and serve you, and obtain the fullness of your promises in the world to come.


Lord's Prayer

Amazing Grace—Sung by all


Heb 13:20 (NIV) Now, May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Go to Ruth's Family and Friends page by clicking here.
Go back to Ruth's memorial page by clicking here.
Go to Henry Metcalf's Memorial page by clicking here.
Click on the old homestead to go home.