Parishioners in Detroit lead ministry to pray for the unclaimed bodies of the dead

Each month in Detroit a number of people earthly remains a left unclaimed at the city morgue. It’s probably not uncommon in most major cities – people die with no family left and who didn’t make prior arrangements. But what’s different in Detroit is the way a group of people, led by an Episcopal layman, is making sure that the deaths do not go unmentioned. Or without prayers.

The Detroit News reports:

“Paul Betts, 60, who used to design highways, stood at a podium at the front of the room. He’s a parishioner at a struggling Episcopal parish on McNichols Road, St. Christopher St. Paul, and it was his idea to begin holding Unclaimed Friends services on the third Wednesday of every month. They are open to anyone, but most of the mourners attend his church.

‘Ohara Davis,’ he read.

‘May he rest in peace,’ they said.

Betts heard a radio report last year about unclaimed bodies. It troubled him. He called the coroner, who put him in touch with Perry. ‘We’ve got a lot of abandoned buildings we can’t do anything about,’ Betts said. ‘Abandoned people, we can at least pray for.’ “

Read the full article here.

Do take a moment a read the article. It’s a beautiful act of Christian hope that these folks are doing. Other groups are probably doing similar things. We have a group here in Phoenix that prays for all those who have died on the streets in the city each quarter. Do you know of any?

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