It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you of Oliver McNeil’s death on Wednesday, December 5. He and his parents, Shannon and Matt, are loved by many in our church and on their behalf, I extend my deep thanks for all of the ways that you, their community, prayed for and served them over the last months while Oliver’s body was in decline.
Some of you may not have known Oliver. He was 11 years old, a regular at the 11am service, a huge fan of the Washington Nationals, and he loved to have his shoulders squeezed when he came up for communion. Here is a link to an old blog post that his mom, Shannon, wrote in 2011, several years before their daughter, Waverly, died (2015) and when Oliver was still quite young. You may find Shannon’s blog helpful in getting to know a little about their story as a family.
A service of thanksgiving for his life will be held at McLean Bible Church (MBC), on the ground level of the Smith Center, on Saturday, December 15 at 11:00am. MBC will have “funeral parking” signs to guide you as you turn onto the property from the stoplight on Rt 7. There will be people greeting you as you enter. You can find more detailed travel directions to MBC, here.
Everyone is invited to stay for a light lunch reception that will follow the funeral. It is being provided by Oliver’s friends at Jill’s House. In many ways Jill’s House became Oliver’s house too— a home away from home where he could enjoy life’s simple pleasures, have fun, and find rest in a context that cared for him. Jill’s House, a 501(c)(3), offers respite to children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.
Shannon and Matt have suggested that gifts to honor Oliver’s life be given to Jill’s House. Please visit here, and include ‘Oliver McNeil’ in the comments section. Or checks can be sent to: Jill’s House, 9011 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182.
If you have questions about the funeral, you can call the Restoration office.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14
We do grieve.
But our grief is tethered to hope.
It does not overcome us. On December 15 we will gather together to both grieve and to remind ourselves of our hope. Thanks be to God for both.