A couple of weeks ago, In Asheville, NC, members of the OE community gathered with members of the Jubilee community and Bill and Marianna’s family and friends to celebrate and honor Bill for his service not only in Asheville, but also around the world. John and I, Elaine Stover and Marie Sharp represented our OE community. Bill and Marianna were founding members of a unique congregation called Jubilee Community Church in Asheville. Every time I’ve attended, I walk away challenged and uplifted. Bill’s memorial service was no exception. Below are some of the highlights from notes I wrote when we returned home:
> The haunting and calling to Attention of Scottish Pipes
> Leonard Cohen’s “Ring those Bells” … imperfect world …with cracks …that’s where the light gets in.
> Lynn’s tribute to her dad read by her husband Allen: “Watch ye therefore ….You shall wear a Golden Crown!”
(In my mind I could hear our spirited group singing that old gospel song. We could add that to our list of songs to sing when one of our community is celebrated.)
> Tom’s recollections of his dad and sharing tributes and memories sent by others. Story of container for Bill’s ashes: an antique handmade pottery stew pot: reminded him of Bill’s cogitating style of “stewing” upon some issue or challenge.
> Video of family years with children and grandchildren, with music lke Moon River accompaniment. Story of Bill and Marianna’s elopement while they were in high school. 16 and 17 years old. Married 67 years. Bill and Marianna, what a team!
> Story of Bill’s death, night of full moon, of his relaxing as Marianna opened the curtains for him to see, then breathing his last. Music playing in the room: “Won’t you come home, Bill Bailey?”
> Congregation invited to whistle along with “Won’t You Come Home?”
> Song “I’ll Fly Away” by congregation
> Another Leonard Cohen song where congregation joined in with the Hallelujahs
> Reaching out to folks around us as we sang “Let it Be a Dance”
> Commission to Pay It Forward re: Bill’s greatness
> Postlude: “Won’t You Come Home, Blll Bailey?”
> “Amazing Grace” and bagpipes
> Some danced in celebration as the postlude was played, with gratitude for having been privileged to share in the life of Bill (and Marianna).
John and I are grateful for the shared memories of so many on this list serve that helped us all to “re-member” Bill more fully.
~~ Lynda Cock
In light of the recent conversations about the Order today and going forward, I find the part of Bill and Marianna’s story from 1989 on to be intriguing. Whatever happened at that meeting in Mexico, the body became dispersed in ways that no purposeful strategic approach could perhaps ever have accomplished. I hope stories like this one of the Baileys and the countless others that are out there (some on video, thanks to the Wiegels) do find their way into the Archives. Years from now someone digging through these stories may conclude that what happened through and among us after the Mexico meeting was as significant, or perhaps even more so , than what happened during those years when we were all on the same assignment board. Either way, it’s finally only one magnificent story with many storylines, and it is still being written, in ways we never could have imagined by people we will never know existed, nor they we. In the full accounting it may well be that we are but one small, indispensable chapter.
~~ Randy Williams
I remember the summer of 1972 when we made the great MOVE in huge moving vans. Our van took us to Oklahoma CIty, Tulsa and finally Amarillo where our family was to live. I remember coming to Oklahoma City for regional meetings and was always inspired by you, Marianna and Bill. Bill seemed to take everything in stride – covering the logistical bases and rituals and yet doing it with ease, You, Marianna, the gracious hostess, making sure that each one was cared for throughout the weekend. There were many more gifts that you each brought to the Order. And, then, of course, the Oklahoma City house itself with it’s lovely stained glass window. Although we each had our own roles and persona, I will always think of Bill and Marianna in one breath. Why does this stay with me?? It always felt true for Fred and me. But now, I am on my own and find it to be yet another thrilling adventure with Fred’s memory forever present.
I read the stories of Bill’s memorial service with deep appreciation. I sang along as I read the names of the songs that were sung or played during the service and the song that was playing as Bill took his final breath. That one brought a bit of a smile from me. Our Order songs carry so much beauty, depth care and motivation for me. Over the nearly 10 years as we developed Songaia Community, our newly created song book held many Order songs. New Community Bound became the community hymn, along with Harmabee, Rainbow Trail, some of the love songs, and a few others. However, as Patricia Newkirk and I were trying to bring new songs into our community memory, I stumbled across BELIEVE. We have been singing it ever since Our Annual Community meeting in January. One of my neighbors, Marilyn said, “why have you been keeping this song from us?”. We sing it quite well! And, it seems so suited to our times, right? With love and many hugs,
~~ Nancy Lanphear
Bill injected his gift of spontaneity and relaxed, easy going nature to the task at hand and also contributed these gifts toward making a celebration a memorable event. I remember a celebration initiating the South House in Chicago with a talent show. Bill and Nan crooned to those gathered the song, “I Shot the Sheriff, (but I didn’t shoot the deputy)! Intentional lyrics from a man who made intentionality look easy. Journey on in peace, Bill Bailey. Grace & Peace,
~~ Dawn Collins
What can we say about Bill?–Bill who married Marianna in their mid-teens and then went on to play football at Duke; father three bright and accomplished children; finish three years of graduate school; then put all of that to work on behalf of our corporate life and work. In the first year of the Religious Houses, Bill and Marianna were assigned to Los Angeles, where Bill demonstrated his great ability to raise the right questions and calm the waters with simple but profound answers. He was also somewhat a magician who did his and Marianna’s laundry while he did “wake-up” around our House every morning. From there he mixed his southern drawl with many other voices in Order Houses around the world. The Hahn family are grateful for having had the privilege of sharing life and work with Bill Bailey. Grace and Peace to Marianna, Tom, Lynn, Nan and the younger Bailey clan.
~~ Doris and Charles Hahn
I want to add my first real experience of Bill Bailey. The Assignment Committee decided to transfer Ken and me and our boys from Portland, Maine to Amarillo, Texas in the summer of 1973. When we packed up and went to Chicago we met a small convoy that would take us to St. Louis, Oklahoma City (where Bill and Marianna were assigned) and we trundled on to Amarillo. The culture shock was amazing. Bill was kind enough in the midst of all he had
to do in OKC to gather us in over the next few months to talk with us and help us adjust to our new environment and we are still very grateful for his caring for us during a (very) difficult transition. We thank both Marianna and Bill for their care for us. P.S. We had a great celebration in Europe when Oklahoma went gold with 100 town meetings.
~~ Clare Whitney