On the day Louise Franklin passed away, women gathered to handle 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 women 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 every one pres ent, 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 pres ent.
The homegoing ser vice 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 will continue to do so. During times of loss, the labor is
intense and all- consuming, yet as we’ve seen, the faithful expend tremen-
dous amounts of spiritual, physical, and mental energy on a regular basis.
One sister who held a part- time 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 ser vices!” She, like many, would start the day in Sunday school
and stay through eve ning ser vices. She rotated on the Kitchen Committee
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