On the day Louise Franklin passed away, ­ w omen gathered to ­ h andle ma-
terial and spiritual tasks, to prepare themselves, the ­house, and soon the
community of faith for the hours, days, and months ahead. At first glance,
it might be easy to view the sweeping, scrubbing, polishing, washing, and
folding as solely caring ­labor, the sometimes paid, sometimes unpaid work
that so many ­ w omen do all the time. But on closer examination we under-
stand that the good ­women performed intimate, emotional, and aesthetic
religious ­labor as well. When ­ Mother Geneva Reeves sang, her emotional ­
labor attended to every­one pres­ent, as she worked to rub a sonic salve into
the open wounds.1 Concocting the salve required aesthetic ­labor, pulling
and weaving healing tones valued by the community. And as saints came
and went throughout the day, the intimacy of holding, comforting, and pray-
ing was ever pres­ent.
The homegoing ser­vice for Louise was the first of quite a few I would
attend over the course of this work. Of the saints you have met, Bishop
Crosley J. Cook, ­ Mother Esther Pea, ­ Mother Jessie ­ England, ­ Mother Lucille
Grayson, and Bishop William J. Bonner have all gone on “from ­labor to re-
ward.” The ­women of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic
Faith, Inc. (cooljc) have managed the tasks associated with death innu-
merable times, and ­ w ill continue to do so. During times of loss, the ­ l abor is
intense and all-­ co nsuming, yet as ­ w e’ve seen, the faithful expend tremen-
dous amounts of spiritual, physical, and ­mental energy on a regular basis.
One ­ sister who held a part-­ t ime job said, “On Mondays, as soon as my
husband and kids are out, I turn off my phone and lay down. I’m exhausted ­
after Sunday ser­vices!” She, like many, would start the day in Sunday school
and stay through eve­ning ser­vices. She rotated on the Kitchen Committee
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