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Memorial Service for
Meredith Murnyak

March 27, 2006
4:30 p.m.

Members of Arusha Community Church join with Dennis and with Meredith's family in the States grieving her loss but celebrating her life and the hope and promise of the Resurrection. The service below was held at Arusha Community Church in Tanzania a few hours before the funeral service at Zion Lutheran in Buffalo, MN
. The hymns and scriptures follow those chosen for the service at Buffalo.

Prelude: String Ensemble

Welcome and Prayer: Mark Jacobson

L: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all mercy and the god of all consolation. He comforts us in all our sorrows so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have received from God.
C: Thanks be to God

L: When we were baptized in Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised ftom the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurtection like his.
C: Amen

Hymn #689: Thine be the Glory

Introduction: Meredith Olson Murnyak: Passion for Christ, Passion for Life

Arusha Community Church Choir: This Joyful Eastertide

God's Promises of Life: Readers: Erwin Kinsey and John Kraft

Job 19:25-26
Romans 14:7-8
John 11 :25-26a
1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Hymn: Shall We Gather at the River

Shall we gather at the river, where bright angel feet have trod, With its crystal tide forever flowing by the throne of God? Reftain

Refrain: Yes, we'l1 gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river, Gather with the saints at the llver that flows .by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river, washing up its silver spray, We will walk and worship ever, all the happy golden day. Reftain

Ere we reach the shining river, lay we every burden down, Grace our spirits will deliver, and provide a robe and crown. Refrain

Soon we'll reach the shining river, soon our pilgrimage will cease; Soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace. Reftain

Meditation (click here to read): Rev. Judy Bangsund

Hymn #52 Because He Lives

Prayers of the People: Rev. Sally Roach

Hymn: Jesus Remember Me

Jesus, remember me when you come ilito your kingdom.
Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Lord's Prayer

Swahili Prayer and Hymn: Rev. Gabriel Kimirei

Yesu aliniita, "Njoo, Raha iko kwangu, Kichwa chako ukilaze Kifuani mwangu." Nilikwenda kwake mara, Sana nilichoka, Nikapata kwake raha, Na furaha tena.

Yesu aliniita, ''Njoo, Kwangu lama maji, Maji ya uzima, bure, Unywe uwe hai." Nilikwenda kwake mara, Na maji nikanywa; Naishi kwake, na kiu, Kamwe sina tena.

Yesu aliniita, "Njoo, Dunia ni giza, Ukinitazama nuru, Takung'arizia." Nilikwenda kwake mora, Yeye jua langu, Ni kila wakati mwanga, Safarini mwangu.

Remembering Meredith: Linda Jacobson and the Community

Meredith's "Swaq Song" "I'll Fly Away" Jean Wahlstrom and Linda Jacobson

Hymn# 954: We are Marching in the Light of God

Benediction: Graham Hutchins

Memorials: Meredith has requested that memorials be donated to Heifer International or the Division for Global of the Lutheran Church in America. Opportunities for gifts are provided at the back of the church.

Please join in continued celebration of Meredith's life and resurrection with tea and coffee following the service


Meredith Olson Murnyak, Age 54, of Maple Lake, Minnesota and Arusha, Tanzania, passed away March 24, 2006. A graduate of Bloomington Kennedy & St. Olaf College, Meredith received an M.S. in marine biology from the University of Puerto Rico and worked in aquaculture in Wright County and in Tanzania for 23 years with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and Heifer International.

Meredith was a woman of faith whose delight in the scripture was the grounding of her being. She approached her missionary work in Tanzania with a passion and will be dearly missed by friends from all over the world. She delighted in all manners of water sports, from sailing to snorkeling.. and was impossible to beat in Scrabble. Her days began and ended with gratitude to God for all she received.

In Tanzania, her ministries and gifts were incomparable. Many shared in the incredible hospitality of her home. Together with her husband, Dennis, Meredith promoted health and nutritional enrichment for the poorest of the poor through fish farming and small scale agriculture. Meredith added much to the creativity of the team with Dennis and worked tirelessly to produce books, brochures, calendars, and training materials. There lives were lived for seven years in the village of Bonga, near Babati and then in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, and again Arusha.

Meredith's contributions to the communities in which she lived were beyond remarkable. Help with the International School Arusha Campus was a passion. The development of the Arusha Community Church and all its ministries were always before her. Meredith moved through many of the various communities of Tanzania and specifically Arusha. She is remembered as a tireless organizer and servant for all projects that needed volunteers.

Meredith is survived by her husband of nearly 25 years, Dennis; and sons, Chris and Jesse.
Preceded in death by her father, Earl D. Olson, she is also survived by her mother, Marian Olson of Carlsbad, CA; and two brothers and their wives, Doug & Pam Olson of St. Paul, and Kent Olson & Marsha Trimble of Charlottesville, VA.

A celebration of her life will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, March 27, at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, a few hours after the service of remembrance at Arusha Community Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Division for Global "Mission, ELCA, 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago IL 60631, or Heifer International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock AR 72201.


Are there fish farms in heaven?

Flowers and hymnboard before the service

Mark Jacobson led the service.

ACC choir
Missing: an image of the string ensemble. If anyone took one, please send it and I will add it here. They added so much!!

Congregation -- and Erwin Kinsey reading scripture

Rev. Judy Bangsund gave the meditation

Pastor Kimirei of the Arusha Diocese led
a prayer and hymn in Swahili.


Thinking and acting for the sake of the coming generation, but being ready to go any day witout fear or anxiety -- that , in practice, is the spirit in which we are forced to live. It is not easy to be brave and keep that spirit alive, but it is imperative.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison


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Contact: Kurt Rittinghaus