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Monday, August 15, 2011


     Today, the Manchester Church of Christ is mourning the loss of one of our Church Elders, Duane Coss, after a long, courageous battle with cancer. Duane is survived by his wife, Darby, two adult daughters, Kara and Kaitlin, and a grandson, Asher.
     Several church members have been keeping vigil with Darby and Duane at the Hospice House in Merrimack, NH. Darby was kept busy with stories and remembrances. The church members made sure that Darby ate and took care of herself as she was taking care of Duane. I provided some comic relief as is my habit. By the way, the Hospice House staff are an amazing group of compassionate people who made a difficult time a little less so.
     A couple of years ago I had the privilege of attending the annual Ganderbrook Men's Retreat in Raymond, Maine, with Duane. The men's retreat is an annual meeting of Christian men from the various Churches of Christ from around New England. It's a time of fellowship, learning, singing, prayer and devotion. It's also a time of great fun and laughs. Duane has an unique, infectious laugh.

Entrance to the camp!

    The center of Camp Ganderbrook is the main lodge. The lodge is where we have our meals, hold our worship services and class sessions. There is a large field stone fireplace inside the lodge with twin hearths. Over each hearth is the mounted head of a large moose.  
The tiara is a leftover from the camping season.
     Before we eat our meals, we gather on the porch of the lodge, weather permitting. If it's too cold, we gather inside the lodge, standing around the fireplace near the door. 
    On one such occasion, I entered the lodge to find the men standing in a semi-circle, all focused on the moose head over the hearth, singing one of our traditional church songs. I stood next to Duane and asked him "Why are we singing to the moose?" As an Elder in the church I figured that he would know. He answered "I have no idea."  
     I was a little taken aback by his response and sarcastically asked if he had a problem with the perceived idolatry? We shared a hearty laugh and from that moment on the SCMW was born. What's SCMW you ask? It's the Society of Christian Moose Worshippers. We laughed about that all weekend and beyond.
     I love Duane Coss. He is an exemplary Christian man, husband and father. I shall miss his mature Christian wisdom. I shall miss his laugh. I will miss his sense of humor. I am thankful that Duane was a part of my life for a season. 
     Until we meet again, God bless you Duane Coss!


  1. What a great funny story of a great man with a keen sence of humor. Thank you for sharing