Death is a purifer, like fire

Klee died relatively young and his style changed as the inevitability of death became inescapable. With great seriousness in one of his last paintings, Klee announces that death is a purifier, like fire, and a means to fulfillment. This is the once terrible, seen as the most beautiful. This is the real power of joy, to make us certain that beneath all grief, the most fundamental of realities is joy itself.
~ from MEDITATIONS ON JOY by Wendy Beckett

Out of death new life arrives

Out of death, the compost of one life, new life arrives in ever greater richness. Death does not separate us from what is past or is yet to come. Touch, honor, and listen for both, for they are part of what is now. Celebrate endings as well as beginnings in your life and work.
~ from SILENCE, SONG, AND SHADOW by Tom Bender

Return Home in Peace

Your vital energy is returning to the Source
Like a flowing stream returning to ocean.
Heaven is our Father, Earth is our Mother.
All people are our brothers and sisters
And all things are our companions.
In this gentle peaceful journey,
You are forming one body with heaven and earth.
Entrust yourself in the transforming
and nourishing care of the Cosmos.
Listen to the voice of love in silence.
You have heard the Way;
Return Home in Peace.


Death is not extinguishing the light

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
~ Rabindranath Tagore

Without death there can be no change

In describing the many "mini-deaths" we experience on our journey through life, John Rogers wrote, "We are born once into life, but in life we are re-born many times." We die to old ways of being to be reborn in our powers. We die to old beliefs to be reborn in the truth. We die to habits of need, dependency, and control to be reborn in reliance on Spirit. We die to fear of Spirit to be reborn into the spirit of fearlessness. As long as you are still breathing, death becomes what we commonly call change. Without death there can be no change.
~ from UNTIL TODAY by Iyanla Vanzant

March 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 3)

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"


Nan Crerie Merrill, December 3, 1931—January 23, 2010

On January 23, 2010, at 11:15 p.m., Nan C. Merrill, founder and director of Friends of Silence, slipped through the veil to her Beloved. The daughter of Ernest and Merle Crerie, Nan was mother to 3 sons and 2 daughters; "Nana" to 6 grandchildren; and "Auntie Nancy" to 6 nieces and nephews. She is also survived by one sister and a whole host of friends and colleagues across the country and abroad.

Nan touched the hearts of thousands of people through her monthly publication of Friends of Silence. She started this newsletter over 22 years ago in Detroit, Michigan, where she spent several years as a lay volunteer in an inner-city church. FOS has grown from a beginning group of about 40 members who came together at the church to pray silently over the city to more than six thousand subscribers world wide.

Nan shared her deep spiritual insights and love of writing by authoring six books and editing numerous others. She encouraged and nurtured everyone who came into her path. Nan has led retreats, worked with inner city residents and been involved in prison ministry for many years. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was an avid sports fan who enjoyed watching golf, basketball and football.

Nan and I met by mail through her FOS newsletter nearly 20 years ago. As she did for so many, she mentored me by being my "pen pal" for several years before we met face to face. Nan assisted me along the way through the intense spiritual search in which I was engaged, lending an ear or a shoulder as needed. She became my dear friend and colleague as the years passed, and I will sorely miss her. Still, I am so aware that she is here, that she lives on, not only in her published work, but also in our memories and our awareness of her strong spiritual presence in our own lives. Friends of Silence will continue in her footsteps.

Memorial Service for Nan C. Merrill

April 24, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Holy Family Church
2103 Broadway
Hannibal, MO 63401

Reception in the fellowship hall following the service

It would be helpful to know how many to expect; please write FOS at 11 Cardiff Lane, Hannibal, MO 63401; e-mail (please note “NAN” in the subject line); or call Anne at 573-221-4031 if you plan to attend.

Friends of Silence is interested in archiving Nan’s letters and other writings (poems, prayers, etc.). If you have any of these you are willing to share, please send them to Anne at 11 Cardiff Lane, Hannibal, MO 63401.

~ Ann Strader

Books by Nan C. Merrill

As many of you know, Nan published six books from 1996 - 2009. These are:

Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness--1996
Meditations and Mandalas: Simple Songs for the Spiritual Life--1999
Lumen Christi: Journey to Awakening--2002
Journey Into Love: From Fear to Freedom--2007
Walking with Wisdom--2009

These five titles are widely available in bookstores and online. The sixth, Peace Planet: Light for Our World, was self-published and can be ordered from Friends of Silence. Contact Anne ( or 11 Cardiff Lane, Hannibal, MO, 63401) for further information).

Psalms for Praying is perhaps Nan’s best known work. Over a period of years, she reworked the Hebrew Psalms, not, as she writes, "to replace the well-loved . . . Psalms of the Hebrew Scripture" but to "stand as a companion, a dialogue, if you will, of one age speaking with a later age."

~ book by Nan Merrill

Psalm 23

Psalm 23

O my Beloved, you are my shepherd,
I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest
and lead me beside still waters
renewing my spirit,
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness
to follow Love’s way.

Even though I walk through the
valley of the shadow and of death,
I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they guide me,
they give me strength and comfort.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of all my fears;
you bless me with oil,
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will
follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the heart
of the Beloved

~ from Psalms for Praying

Blessed are you who walk with goodness

Blessed are you
who walk with goodness,
who stand for the right,
who live in truth. . . .
You are like an acorn planted
in fertile soil
that grows into a mighty oak.
Your life blesses others,
you radiate love;
joy delights your heart.

~ from Meditations and Mandalas by Nan C Merrill
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