Memorial For Marcia Deihl & Dedication of a Ghost Bike

Memorial for Marcia Deihl & Dedication of a Ghost Bike

Sunday March 22, 2015 4pm, corner of Putnam Ave & Allston Street, Cambridge MA

Rev. Laura E. Everett

A note: I’ve officiated funerals, but I’ve never presided at a memorial and dedication of a Ghost Bike before. I am grateful to be entrusted with such holy work, as a pastor & as a cyclist. Many of Marcia’s long time friends gathered around. Many cyclists, many who never met Marcia, gathered around too- maybe for the same reason I did: the sharp awareness that we ride these streets just like Marcia did. 

In urban cycling, there is a term called “taking the lane,” which means moving from the edge of the road and into the center lane. Taking the lane means taking your rightful space, maybe even moving to a space that’s safer. In the testimonials from Marcia’s friends today, we heard about a woman who took the lane for herself, and made space for others.  I wish I had met Marcia in person. I grieve her death.

(Grief resources available here and here. Reach out, you do not grieve alone.) 

Gathering & Welcome

Ghost Bike for Marcia Deihl, killed on her bicycle March 11, 2015:
Ghost Bike for Marcia Deihl, killed on her bicycle March 11, 2015:

History of Ghost Bikes: Cyclist & Advocate Jessica Mink shared a brief history of Ghost Bikes, the white bicycle memorials created for fallen cyclists placed at the location of their death. Jessica also invited Marcia’s friends to advocate for safer roads and such actions as guards on trucks, through organizations like Boston Cyclists Union, Livable Streets, Mass Bike, and Cambridge Bikes.

Invitation to Marcia’s Funeral: Rev. Betsy Sowers of Old Cambridge Baptist Church invited everyone to attend Marcia’s funeral on Saturday April 25, 2pm, 1151 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

Song: “Meditation on Breathing” by Sarah Dan Jones  Breathe in, breathe out. // When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out love.

Song: Union Maid by Woody Guthrie Marcia was a founding member of the Harmony Sisterhood Band. Some of Marcia’s friends led us in the singing of “Union Maid” 

Memories of Marcia: Many from Marcia’s web of relationships spoke: friends, fellow singers, neighbors, fellow letter writers, women with Marcia who founded the bisexual community in Boston, co-workers from Harvard libraries, and members of Old Cambridge Baptist Church where Marcia sang in the choir.

Dedication of the Ghost Bike:

Let us pray:

Holy One, we call you by many names: Creator, God of our Ancestors, Allah, Adonai, The Human One who came from Nazareth, Higher Power, the Love that never ends, the Wind that is always at our back:

Many roads brought us safely here, to this small square of earth. We stand and ride on holy ground. We gather in grief to remember a life well lived, and a song beautifully sung. We praise you for the life of Marcia and for the time she spent among us. We give thanks for the fierce beauty of her life and the depths of her commitment to make this world a little kinder, a little more just.

When we chose to take a bike instead of a car,

When we chose to speak up instead of staying silent,

When we chose advocacy instead of complacency,

When we chose to plant flowers instead of cursing the pavement,

When we chose singing instead of yelling,

remind us, Holy One, of Marcia.

Let us hold moment of silence for all who have died in Greater Boston while riding, remembering:

Eoin McGrory

Christopher Weigl

Doan Bui

Tanya Connolly

Alex Monetsignos

Eric Hunt

Moe Zeidan

and Marcia

Comfort all who mourn this day.

We who continue to ride these roads confess that some days we ride scared, some days we ride angry. Here, on this holy ground, we pray and recommit ourselves to work for a day when all people will be safe on these streets.

Friends, reach out your hands to bless. Today, on this holy ground, we dedicate and bless this ghost bike. May all who look upon it be reminded of the awesome responsibility of driving cars and trucks. May this ghost bike be a sign and a signal. Bless this memorial to Marcia. And bless us too.

God, bless our bikes. Pour out your protection on our helmets. Take our handlebars and steer us ever true. Bless our wheels that move upon your good Creation. Anoint our brakes that we may know our limits. Fix our seat that whenever we roam, we might always return safely. Send down your Spirit with a blessing upon these bikes, that fortified by the might of your heavenly protection, these bikes may be help and aid unto all who make use of them. May our wheels rise. We send up glory, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

Many roads brought us safely here, to this small square of earth. Now we ask you to guide us safely home. Holy One, guide our wheels and guard our coming and going.

We give thanks for the life of Marcia, a woman of deep conviction and public witness. Today, in her honor, we ring out our bells of freedom, we sing out our song about love between our brothers and our sisters, all over this land.

Cyclists and friends, will you ring your bell and say Amen?

Song: This Little Light of Mine  Since the wind was too strong, instead of lighting candles, we sang. People took their candles home to light them in honor of Marcia. Many are posting photos of their lit candles in the Facebook event for this memorial here:


Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted;
support the weak;
help the afflicted;
honor everyone.

Let your light shine.

Amen. (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-22)

Published by RevEverett

I'm a pastor in the United Church of Christ here in Boston. I serve as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Cycliss, seamstress, my book is "Holy Spokes: The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels." NJ by birth, MA by choice. Opinions are my own. Love abounds.

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