In Memoriam.


Debora Buerk
Selah Companion
Editor, Here & Now

Steve McPhail

1949 – 2023

Remembering Steve

I MET STEVE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, in 2016 at the opening retreat of Living From the Heart. Steve immediately greeted me and said, “You’re pretty.” That’s so Steve–effusive in praise. He had a good sense of humor, if a bit corny. I could count on seeing Kathy roll her eyes. But all in good humor.

I recall he actively participated in the group discussions. His sharing was candid, honest, transparent and raw. He pulled off any “public persona masks” when in group conversations. In turn, he gave me courage to share more openly. He also gave good hugs.

Steve and Kathy remained active with Selah Center after Living From the Heart. I would meet them at workshops and retreats. Steve became a Selah Companion in 2018. Later, he said he felt unworthy of the beautiful chalice presented to him.

Steve passed last week at the age of 74. Too young, perhaps, but he lived life large and well. I’ll miss you, Steve, but know you’re up to mischief in heaven.

Debora Buerk

Steve McPhail was a Selah Companion since 2018.
He brought joy to those who crossed his path.
And what is most clear is how much he loved God,
praying for those around him to find the same freedom
and love he experienced.

– Mary Pandiani, executive director of Selah Center


Steve…you were LIFE lived large and had a heart bigger than most moments. Now you dwell in perpetual Light with the One who called you into being. Rest and rejoice! Thanks for being among us and for capturing our hearts with a story or two and for taking the risk to love often and deeply…just because. You certainly brightened our ways. To Kathy and your family and friends, may Comfort and Peace be regular companions.

– John Kiemele, director emeritus of Selah Center

Such a hard loss. I’m grateful for having gotten to be with Steve in Kairos breakout rooms and be touched by his beautiful spirit.

-Lorina Meade

…What a fine fellow. Thank you for inviting us into the community that embraces Steve and Kathy with joyous memory and love.

– Evelyn Gerardo Challis

We’ve had many fun times with Steve at our home.  I’m glad to hear he has passed peacefully.

– Jim Moats

Plus many more. We invite you to add your tribute to Steve for his family in the comments box below on this page.


Here & Now dedicates the Lent & Easter series to Steve’s memory.
— Debora Buerk,  Editor

for collective grief

By Kate Bowler,
The Lives We Actually Live

This world.



We are brought to our knees.

God, today, there is no true north.

And when I last checked,

The sun did not rise at all.

Today, the innocent still suffer,

Buildings still fall,

Families still grieve.

A world has ended without

Any reasonable fanfare.

This is the way of tragedy,

How it breaks in and robs us while we sleep.

Help us to know what to fee,

What to do,

How to grieve – together.

Blessed are we

Who try to see things clearly,

Though the truth of it all feels


Blessed are we

Who ask and wait, and ask again,

For answers that may not come,

For hope that seems hards to find,

For comfort that is no easily offered.

Along the way

Show us how to live

When we’ve lost the things

We cannot get back.

Remind us that you, oh God,

Are our home and our refuge.

When life’s unthinkable fragility

Is too difficult to hold,

Take my hands.

(Source: Kate Bowler, p. 74-75 The Lives We Actually Live)