Charlotte Readers Podcast: Lisa Saunders

Lisa Saunders

“Even At The Grave”

In today’s episode, we meet Lisa Saunders, author of “Even at the Grave” and despite the title, it’s not a horror story, just the opposite.

This is a memoir, but not a sad one. Though it might make you cry when you read the book, you will laugh, too. Lisa has inspired and been inspired by the people she pastored. In her journey, she discovered that there is much generosity and grace in the world, even at the grave.

Charlotte Readers Podcast is sponsored by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Learn More About This Episode
Learn More About This Episode

In today’s episode, we meet Lisa Saunders, author of “Even at the Grave” and despite the title, it’s not a horror story, just the opposite.

This is a memoir, but not a sad one. Though it might make you cry when you read the book, you will laugh, too. Lisa has inspired and been inspired by the people she pastored. In her journey, she discovered that there is much generosity and grace in the world, even at the grave.

Lisa starts with a short reading from the first chapter of the book, “Stopping Time.” Here’s a short excerpt:

“Priests are expected to hatch, match and dispatch. Presiding at baptisms and weddings is joyous. But it is the dispatches–the funerals–that pick me up by the lapels and loosen what’s too tight and tighten what’s too loose. I am set back down realigned and grateful.”

Lisa also reads about an early funeral where she was making rookie mistakes in the homily until she thought about a red wagon, and she talks about how that experience guided her in preaching future homilies.

The readings also include excerpts from actual homilies, and theology, and discussion about difficult funerals, including a story about the funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald that involved her husband’s uncle, the only minister who offered the killer’s mother a few words at the graveside.

Lisa has been an Episcopal priest for over thirty years. Officiating at funerals became the defining and most compelling work of her career. Through burials, she writes about her marriage, her struggle to be a working mother, making peace with tragedy and understanding suicide and mental illness. She also tackles racism, including her own, and learns from those who have courage to grow with gusto.

Lisa was educated at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, received a BA in Journalism and was President of her Senior Class. She attended Virginia Theological Seminary, where she obtained a Master of Divinity, 1984 and became an Ordained priest in June, 1986.

She was the first woman priest to serve in an Episcopal church in the state of Florida. She has served at Christ Church in Charlotte since January 1988.

She is married to Tim Saunders, a pediatric and neuro ophthalmologist and has three grown children. All five (six including son-in-law) are UNC-Chapel Hill alums.

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