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Law, Gospel and laughter mark funeral service

November 17, 2010 One Comment

More than 500 family and friends gathered at Bethel Lutheran Church (Sherwood Park, Alberta) along with at least 180 people online Friday, November 12 to thank God for the life of Rev. Dr. Richard Kraemer, president emeritus of Concordia University College of Alberta (CUCA). Dr. Kraemer died Saturday, November 6 following a battle with cancer.

 Rev. Marv Ziprick, senior pastor at Bethel, led the service which included a 45-voice choir made up of CUCA Concert Choir and community chorus members past and present, and members of Bethel’s choir. Under the leadership of Dr. Joy Berg (CUCA choral professor) the choir sang two selections, Song of Simeon and Create in Me a Clean Heart, both of which had special significance for Dr. Kraemer.

 Eldest daughter Cheryl Galbraith spoke lovingly of her father in a tribute that resonated with the congregation bringing laughter on a number of occasions. Dr. Kraemer was remembered for his Christian faith, gift for teaching, lively sense of humour and caring pastoral heart. Her tribute concluded with an autobiographical poem written by her father while in hospital. After describing himself, he concludes “When you get right down to it, I’m a sinner in need of grace and grateful to know that I have it in Jesus Christ. To Him be the power and the glory to endless ages as I wait for that time when I will lose myself in Him only to find myself again. I dedicate this portrait to Him.”

 In his sermon, Pastor Matt Ziprick reminded everyone that Dr. Kraemer was both a saint and sinner. “It’s important for me to say that because Richard regularly declared that reality,” the pastor said. “Richard knew that a war had been waged on his heart. He also knew that he was God’s son and that room had been made for him in his Father’s house.  So said another way, Richard was a glorious ruin—glorious because his face reflected the Lord’s glory, and a ruin because he was a jar of clay.”

 Lectors included Rev. Paul Eifert, a Concordia College alumnus and long-time friend; professor emerita Dr. Judy Meier; and ABC District President Don Schiemann. More than 25 fellow pastors, including LCC president Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee and Central District President Thomas Prachar processed and recessed with the casket and family members.

 Online viewers watched the service from as far away as Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition to serving more than 30 years at CUCA, seventeen as president, Dr. Kraemer was also active in the community through the Rotary Club of which representatives also attended the funeral service.

Following the service, the family greeted and shared memories with many who attended. The committal service was held at Glenwood Memorial Gardens in Sherwood Park.

The webcast recording is available at www.lccvideo.net . The procession begins 12 minutes into the webcast.

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