The funeral service for popular progressive Christian author Rachel Held Evans will be live streamed through her website this weekend, allowing those influenced by her ministry all across the world to mourn her passing.
“Rachel’s work was authentic and inclusive. In that spirit we plan to provide a live stream of her funeral this Saturday, June 1st, at 2pm EDT [Sunday June 2 at 4am, Australian Eastern Standard Time.] I want anyone who would gain some small amount of solace from this imperfect ritual in the face of massive loss to have a chance to do so,” her husband Dan has written in a tribute posted to Evans’ website.
Family, friends and fans were shocked when Evans passed away on May 4, after an adverse reaction to antibiotics prescribed for a flu caused her to have seizures and be placed in an induced coma.
Her loss prompted an outpouring of tributes on social media under the hashtag #BecauseOfRHE, not only from well-known Christian writers, speakers and leaders – both progressive and conservatives – but also from everyday Christians who had been influenced by her work.
“Whether you knew Rachel personally or not, the loss of her is yours to grieve as well.” – Sarah Bessey
The decision to stream her funeral is the most recent example of Evans’ friends making a concerted effort to include her fans in grieving Evans’ death. Aside from providing details on how people can send emails and cards, they have also established a GoFundMe campaign where donations can be made to Evans’ husband Dan and children, and even grief counselling services for anyone who needs it.
Author Sarah Bessey tweeted, “This is a reminder that if you are grieving, there are people available to you. Whether you knew Rachel personally or not, the loss of her is yours to grieve as well. Please reach out to these folks for pastoral support or grief care. Please.”
Evans – or RHE, as she is often called – was from Dayton, Tennessee, and was the author of a popular blog as well several best-selling books including Searching for Sunday, Faith Unraveled and A Year of Biblical Womanhood. Known as a bold progressive Christian voice, Evans did not shy away from fierce theological battles with conservative evangelicals on controversial topics. Her written works chronicled her own journey out of conservative evangelical Christianity to becoming part of the progressive Episcopalian church.
Delivering the sermon at the funeral will be Evans’ close friend, Nadia Bolz-Weber – the founder and former pastor of a Lutheran congregation ‘House for All Sinners and Saints’ in Denver, Colorado – who tweeted today, “Pretty sure I never again want to try and write a sermon for the funeral of someone I am so actively and deeply grieving.”
“This helped,” she added, posting a photo of a new tattoo bearing the Hebrew term Evans was renowned for using to encourage other women: “eshet chayil” – “woman of valour”.
The live stream of Evans’s funeral will begin on Saturday June 1 at 2pm Eastern Daylight Time, which will be Sunday June 2 at 4am, Australian Eastern Standard Time.