R.I.P.

STUART R McDOUGALL

7th Apri 1928 – 11th December 2015

stuartc

Family and friends shared a wonderful service of remembering Stuart, followed  by a meal for everyone in the Colleges’ Common room.

RON DERIC SMITH

8th May 1921 – 20th April 2015

Here is The talk given at Ron’s funeral by The Ven Dr Paul Wright

Before I begin to share the next few minutes with you in reflection, I would like to read an extract from the notes concerning Ron Smith’s funeral produced while he was still Vicar at St Luke’s, Bromley Common. In particular, note 9: “No tribute to, or assessment of my ministry is to be made at any service.” Therefore let the hearer understand.

I knew a man who served his country in the RAF; that man eventually became a priest – a very faithful and diligent priest who dedicated his life to the service of the Church, which he loved so dearly (although it could be at times a church that would often exasperate him!).

This man was born in Halling near Rochester in 1921. Having first attended the village school, he went on to Rochester Grammar School where he matriculated. He got his Degree through the University of London.

CASSOCK AND PAISLEY

This priest served in the Diocese of Rochester for almost all of his ministry. However he had the opportunity to go to the United States of America whilst a curate. He was to work at St Paul’s in New Jersey for about 8 months where he had a very happy and fulfilling time, not least because of its excellent choral tradition. I met him when I was a child in 1963 when he was curate at Crayford, and was very impressed. He was most usually seen in a cassock, except for once a year when he would take the choir boys to Margate by train for the day, and on these occasions he would wear a paisley short-sleeved shirt, brown trousers and shiny brown shoes. I was taken by his shiny shoes – black ones on most days.

Having served his Title at Crayford (from 1961-67), he went on to be curate at West Malling (probably the last stipendiary one). From there he became the Vicar of Slade Green (1971-78), and then on to St Luke’s, from which post he retired in 1991 at the age of 70E

SENSE OF PRIDE

He was responsible for encouraging a number of men of my generation to think about, and to put themselves forward for ordination. He was a kind friend to me and I am grateful for the example he set – though I know I didn’t live up to that. Nevertheless he was always very respectful of me when I became an Archdeacon, and I’m sure somewhere deep down there was a real sense of pride for him in my appointment. Most here will have their own stories and it would have been good to hear some, but this priest would not have approved.

This priest had wonderful handwriting, always making use of his Parker pen. Now although his influence didn’t stretch to improving my own, what turned eventually into appalling handwriting, I too prefer to use a fountain pen whenever possible. When I became Priest-in-Charge of St Luke’s, Bromley Common and was sorting their paperwork out, I came across this list of liturgical colours. I’m sure you will recognise the style!

DRY HUMOUR

This priest had a beautiful singing voice, which was always a joy to listen to, particularly when chanting from the Psalms. He had a great love of history, as his library would reflect. He had an excellent sense of humour – somewhat dry – and had this wonderful way of groaning rather like Frankie Howard when he was not quite convinced about what was said or done and relating that experience back to others. He was a man of prayer and had a deep pastoral heart, though it didn’t mean he would let you get away with anything, particularly if you were a member of his Parochial Church Council. Once he had made up his mind, it was very difficult to change!

It was a great joy to be around this priest when he celebrated his 90th birthday in 2011, at which the community here at St Nicholas and where he was an Honorary Curate were pleased to make a fuss of him. He was clearly a respected Collegian at Bromley & Sheppard’s Colleges, where I know he was very content, and for whom the Chapel was the bedrock of his life in that place.

WENT TO HEAVEN

In point 9, there is a second sentence which reads thus: “The funeral is to leave me in the hands of God, who will be my judge and whose verdict alone interests me.”

He had a deep and abiding belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and this shaped his faith from an early age – he never lost that faith.

Whatever became of that priest?

I know what happened, he died and went to heaven.

 

.o0o.

 

Canon FRANCIS MAKAMBWE died on 10th October 2014

Here is the sermon preached by Bishop Tom Butler in Southwark Cathedral at Francis’ FUNERAL Service

 franis and tom

Francis and I go back a long way. Almost exactly the same age, Francis, was one of the first people we met when Barbara and I went as missionaries of USPG to Zambia in 1968.   Then ordained just three years Francis was leading a large church in one of the mega townships of Lusaka.

He welcomed us warmly to his country and church and when my duties at the university and cathedral allowed I would go and lend a pastoral and liturgical hand at St Peter’s his church and again he and his people were unfailingly generous as this young priest from England mangled their language.

By this time Francis had already been on quite a journey of faith. Its starting point was not unlike that of Desmond Tutu making a similar journey in the townships of Johannesburg.   You perhaps know the story of Desmond, as a young boy passing the presbytery of their church when a new priest, fresh from England, a certain Fr Trevor Huddlestone came out clothed in a black cassock and large homburg hat. He recognized Desmond’s mum, took off his hat in respect, and said to her, “Good morning Mrs Tutu.” In those dark days of apartheid young Desmond was amazed that a white man would be so polite to his mother, and from then on looked at the church with new eyes of hope and respect.   So started the journey of faith which would eventually provide the church in South Africa with a great Archbishop but would provide the world with a great reconciler and peace maker, one of the architects of a new South Africa. And it all started with a small, quite natural gesture of respect.

DANGEROUS

Francis’s story was not dissimilar.   He was born in a small village in the Eastern Province of Zambia, then Northern Rhodesia and had his early primary schooling Standard 1 in the village school, and there his education almost ended. Standard 2 was only offered in the school at the headquarters of the Anglican mission. To get there meant a long journey through the dangerous Chimulunde Game reserve, and anyway Francis’s parents couldn’t afford the price of the basic uniform.

Then one day a certain Fr Cyril Mudford, a UMCA missionary from England, as manager of schools came to inspect the village school. Francis’s parish priest, Fr Filiman Mataka, later to become Bishop of Zambia, told Fr Mudford that this was a bright lad who needed help, otherwise he’d end his days as a goat herd.   Fr Mudford spoke to Francis’s parents, then opened the door of his jeep. Francis, carrying nothing and wearing only the clothes he stood up in, jumped in and off they went to the mission at Msoro.   Francis’s journey to a decent education had begun.

After that it was pass the parcel, with Francis as the parcel as he quietly and steadily took full advantage of the resources which the Anglican church of the day offered him He became a boarder at St Francis’s upper primary school, a member of the Holy Cross hostel, for boys who might have a vocation as a teacher or priest, then onto St Mark’s secondary School in the Southern province. Then he became a Social Worker in Lusaka the capital before training for ordination at the provincial seminary there, being ordained in 1965, the year I was ordained a priest here in England, having had a slightly easier journey to ordination.

In 1971, after 6 years in his parish in Lusaka Francis had a spell of in service training here in England at St Albans Abbey and then it was back to Zambia where he became priest in charge of Msoro where he’d trained as a boy and then of the Anglican church at Chipata, the capital of the Eastern province.

DEVELOPMENT

His talents by this time were being noticed more widely. Zambia, as a newly independent nation was building stronger institutions, and one of the finest the Mindola Ecumenical Foundation on the Copper Belt where courses in education, agriculture, farming and statecraft were being offered to the new generation of nation builders. And so began Francis’s most influential period of Ministry. Appointed Deputy general Secretary of the Christian Council of Zambia he brought advice, encouragement and support to churches of all denominations in all corners of Zambia , whilst his appointment as Mindola’s Director took him frequently to Britain, Europe and America as he built and strengthened the partnerships of development education which were so vital in nation building.   We saw something of his during this time through my wife’s work with Christians Aware trying to create just such partnerships between churches in Britain and in the developing world.

It was on one of the these visits that CMS must have persuaded Francis to become a mission partner here in Britain. English Christians for over a hundred years had taken the gospel to Africa and India, now it was time for the tide to flow in the other direction, from Africa to Britain.   So Francis became a missionary here, based in this diocese in the parish of St John’s Waterloo.

DIFFICULT

He didn’t find it easy, non of us do.   In fact, brothers and sisters, I don’t think that I am exaggerating to say that modern Britain is the most difficult mission field on earth.

Francis found the British concept of privacy and nuclear family difficult.   Used to the African pattern of the extended family of community life where people are in and out of one an other’s houses all the time, Francis found the British habit of living behind closed doors and keeping ourselves to ourselves unsettling.

DOGOLOGY

Equally disturbing was the reaction of people in the street when Francis attempted to strike up a conversation with complete strangers.   Nobody would look him in the eye or respond to his greeting.   He cracked this one, however. I remember him telling me that, although you couldn’t talk directly to people themselves, you could talk to their dogs.   So he would target people taking their dogs for a walk, say “Hello Fido, what a fine dog you are,” to the dog and then get into a conversation with the owner about the dog, and over a period of time about other things.   “I call that dogology” he said.

After five years at Waterloo Francis was appointed Vicar of St Catherine’s Hatcham, where he was a much loved presence for 14 years until his retirement in 2010 and his retirement ministry with Zena in the Colleges of Bromley and Sheppards .   I had the pleasure of installing him as an honorary canon of the cathedral in 2003 marking his remarkable service to the Diocese of Southwark.But Francis never forgot who he was and where he’d come from and throughout his time in Britain he continued to build bridges with Africa and other parts of the world particularly Papua and New Guinea.

Shortly after my arrival as diocesan bishop I appointed him co-ordinator of the three Area links with dioceses in Zimbabwe.   He led a large Christians Aware group visit to Zambia which pioneered the way for several later visits, the latest group returned two months ago.

DIALYSIS

And in 2009 he founded a charity FPZ Fighting Poverty in Zambia, a charity very dear to his heart with a number of practical projects, such as provision of clean water, and support for a Zambian youth football team, not surprising as Francis was an avid follower of the Zambian football team when it played in the African cup.The charity also provided 3 dialysis machines at St Francis hospital close to his home village, so that other Zambia people could benefit from the treatment which had kept Francis alive for so long as he suffered for several years with kidney failure.   This didn’t prevent him making a visit back home last year. He simply took a dialysis machine with him.

He was full of hope this year with the promise that the quality of life would improve with the generous donation of a new kidney from Valerie Pearce.   So of course family and friends were stunned when undergoing routine follow-up treatment after the transplant operation his life failed.

Our gospel reading comes from St Matthew’s account of the Beatitudes where Jesus sits with his friends and teaches them the real meaning of life and what has the highest value. Blessedness is not about power, or wealth, or old age. No according to Jesus blessedness is about an attitude of gentleness, compassion, and mercy. Francis clearly embraced this path of blessedness.

Blessed are you Francis because you were meek and gentle and your values will inherit the land you loved.   Blessed are you Francis because you were merciful, and you will be, are being shown mercy now.    Blessed are you Francis because you were a peacemaker and never did the world more need peacemakers within nations and between nations, and as a life long peace maker you will be called a child of God.

Blessed are those who mourn.   The people of Zambia today start an official period of mourning following the death of their president, but our mourning is more personal and intense.

DEAR

Saying good-bye to someone we love is one of the most difficult realities of life and our prayers today are for Zena, her children and grandchildren as they say goodbye to a beloved husband and father and grandfather who loved them dearly.

Makambwes-12 DetailThe sermon says to us, Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.

At a funeral these may be words of hope for those who are bereaved.  Comfort is promised them by God. But in the context of the Beatitudes, those who mourn are those who experience a gap. The gap is between our potential for a fully human life as our Creator God wishes, and on the other side, the sad reality of much of human life, with so many broken relationships and injured, imprisoned people. Those Christian people who mourn a loved one may glimpse something of this gap, and be comforted by the example he gave in building bridges across broken lives and in hope we have of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life.

But let us also comfort one another with the gift of the Eucharist. Because when we celebrate the Eucharist we are present with Jesus once again. But not only with Jesus but with all those like Francis who have gone before us in faith.

So let us comfort one another in the faith of the risen Jesus so to find the God of mercy, gentleness, and peace in whom Francis put his hope and trust, and may Francis rest in peace and rise in glory.

.o0o.

 

CANON MICHAEL SAWARD,

Died on 31st January, 2015

His Friend,  Canon David Winter writes:
CANON Michael Saward, who died on 31 January, aged 82, was a colourful, multi-talented, and occasionally exasperating priest, who left as his legacy to the Church of England the burgeoning “open” Evangelical movement, and a number of outstanding hymns, including “Christ triumphant”, already a favourite for great occasions.