Back to Obituaries Index
(In alphabetical order of surname.)
The Rt Rev Dr M Azariah [CSI General Secretary CSI Synod 1982-1990 and Bishop of Madras Diocese 1990-1999] Died 17.05.2012 aged 78.
Rt Rev Dr M Azariah who has died was a truly amazing man. Rising from humble background he became General Secretary of CSI at a crucial time and later as Bishop in Madras led the diocese in innovative projects, including the upliftment of the Dalit people from amongst whom he came.
Born in a small village outside what was then Madras, he lost his father when he was two years old. He dated his love and dependence on God to his experiences during those childhood years. At night as he lay in bed,he would hear his mother talking to someone, asking advice, listening and acting. He realised that she was praying and basing all she did on that relationship. He learned to do the same.
His potential was quickly recognised and following school, he was granted a place at Madras Christian College. There he made an impression on staff and fellow students alike, and friendships made then lasted through his life.
Working with leprosy patients, criss-crossing the diocese on evangelistic duties - a journey with him in later life was punctuated with memories of villages visited and experiences which forged who he was- he came to the notice of people in authority, especially Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, who was to become a mentor and a friend. . Indeed,Azariah later served as his chaplain
Azariah was a combination of scholar and activist. He trained for the ministry at the United Theological College, Bangalore and later had a spell in US. Following a period as a pastor in Vellore, he lived out his training working as associate director at the Community Service Centre, the Education Secretary at the NCCI based in Chennai, and the Auxiliary secretary of the Bible Society of India , TamilNadu Auxiliary.
But he never stopped reading - theology, politics, history and literature in both Tamil and English. If anyone wanted to give him a gift, ,he would ask for books, and until days before he was death he was still reading avidly, and writing too. His published works include poetry, theology and works on social action. In his latter years he taught at Gurukul Theological Seminary and spent a term as visiting lecturer at New College, Edinburgh.
It was as General Secretary of the Synod of Church of South India in 1980s that his wider influence became felt. Along with Most Rev Dr P Victor Premasagar, then Moderator of CSI, he led the church in national and international fora. It was at this time, at the Vancouver assembly of the World Council of Churches, that he brought to the attention of the world the plight of his own people, the Dalits, and the remainder of his life was spent in raising awareness, providing education and working to stop discrimination.
During his period as bishop, this was high on his agenda and programmes such as BBC - Bible, bicycle and chappals - promoted the self- reliance and self-respect of the least, the last and the lost.
His dedication and his commitment inspired great loyalty and also great animosity, but no one would ever remain indifferent.
Azariah was a people person, who accepted people for who they are not what, and he numbered amongst his friends the highest and the lowest in worldly terms, and made no difference between them.
Above and beyond all of this, Azariah was a loving and loved human being. He had a long and happy marriage to Josephene. Theirs was a very supportive partnership. And their home remains a place of warmth and welcome. Their three children, Andrew, Mary (Selvi) and John speak lovingly of family holidays and meals out always formed an important part of life. The family extended to nieces, nephews, cousins,and the moving tribute at the memorial service by nephew, Dinesh Livingstone spoke volumes. I have been privileged to share in this warmth. My personal tribute is thanks to a person who believed in me, supported me and did me the great honour to call me his sister and friend. Like many whom Bishop Azariah encouraged, I know I would not be the person I am today had I not known him.
He will be greatly missed as an elder statesman in the church in India, and by those who loved him as husband, father and friend.
The Revd Raymond Bailey [Church of Scotland Punjab 1939-1945; Pakistan 1967-1970] Died 08.05.2012 aged 97.
Tribute at the Thanksgiving Service, Morningside Parish Church – Friday 18 May 2012
Love came down at Christmas – a rather strange choice perhaps for a service at this time of year, especially this kind of service. But it is absolutely right, utterly appropriate today. It was one of the hymns at Raymond and Mary’s wedding in 1939 and love – God’s unconditional love and our calling to love one another – was the driving force of Raymond’s life.
In preparing this tribute I’ve been helped immensely by a memoir – 40 years in 40 minutes – prepared by Raymond himself, supplemented by the conversations I had with him and by what Diana, Elizabeth and Ros have kindly shared with me - although I’m still not entirely clear how he came to be ‘Raymond’. Apparently his parents always intended him to be called ‘Raymond’ but his official Christian names were family ones – ‘Wellesley Grahame’. As we have heard, he was of missionary stock: he was born in 1915 in the Punjab, then part of India, but after partition Pakistan. Following his parents’ return to Britain in 1919, Raymond went to Highgate School and thence to Edinburgh University to study first for an MA and then to train for the Church of Scotland ministry, graduating in 1939 with a BD from New College. As we heard from Diana, he met Mary through their involvement in the Student Christian Movement – he was the male president, she the woman president, as was customary in these days; and Raymond in his memoir said ‘Ours has been a joint ministry for the most part; and my wife has certainly been a source of imaginative inspiration behind everything that I have done or achieved. Apart from her contribution, and the background training of my home, the two main influences in my life were the SCM and the Iona Community.’
Raymond was impressed by George MacLeod and persuaded by him to join the Iona Community. He helped, in only the second year of the Community’s existence, with the rebuilding of Iona Abbey over the summer of 1939. Both he and his family were delighted and surprised that the book of the oral history of the CommunityOutside the safe place, published recently, has a picture of a youthful Raymond on the front cover and contains several quotations of his ipsissima verba and some photos from the family archive. The Iona Community remained important to Raymond all his days: initially it extended his horizons in shaping his progressive open approach to theology and recognition of the importance of both dignity and relevance in liturgy and, through day to day working alongside the craftsmen, in strengthening his capacity to relate to ordinary folk. Although with characteristic integrity, because of his problems in fulfilling the Community’s prayer discipline, he resigned as a full member in 1969, he remained a committed Associate, attended local Family Group meetings very regularly and visited Iona each year with some of the family until fairly recently.
Raymond and Mary sailed for what was then still India in January 1940. He worked as a district missionary in the Punjab, supervising the work of the church in a school and a district. His contact there with Christians, Hindus and Muslims alike reinforced his conviction, that remained the foundation of his faith and life all his days, that at the centre of the Christian Gospel is self-giving love. The original intention had been to spend his life in India but, after the birth of Alan, Diana and Elizabeth there, and when he was just beginning to feel useful after six years, he and Mary had to return to Britain on medical grounds. But a wonderful new opportunity arose when, on the recommendation of Professor John Baillie and George MacLeod, Raymond was appointed minister of St Columba’s Church, Oxford and Presbyterian chaplain in the University. Ten very happy and full years followed – during which their fourth child, Ros, was born. Alongside the usual activities of the congregation - which he described intriguingly as ‘a fascinating variety of socially congenial men and women, including many who were intellectually stimulating’! - there were all the student contacts - the Iona Society, open house at the manse on Sunday afternoons, Scottish country dancing and punt parties, driving round Oxford on his Vespa to visit students in the colleges. He had a particular gift for remembering students’ names, what they were studying, where they were from – and there are many stories of people whose lives he touched and influenced for the good (some of you are here today) through the values, social priorities and open approach to living the faith he embodied.
In 1957 he was called to be the first minister of St Martin’s Church, a new church extension charge here in Edinburgh. This was a challenging task - it could not have been more different from Oxford! - to establish and develop a congregation in a new housing scheme and Raymond has said that, whereas in Oxford, his aim was to encourage the undergraduates to be intelligent Christians, in St Martin’s he sought to help people to see God in their own experience and see the relevance of the Gospel to the realities of their daily lives. Mary’s own ministry flourished here too – not just in terms of hospitality and in supporting Raymond and providing him with advice and ideas as she had always done, but also in playing a leading creative role – her musical, artistic and community-building gifts were used to the full. For Raymond there was all the pastoral work too, the community links, the youth club, all the baptisms, just about every week, it seemed – he’d a particular gift for calming howling infants. He took great pride also in the fact that the first three women to be ordained as elders in Edinburgh came from St Martin’s; but in 1968 it was time to move on. The congregation had been built up to the point of attaining full status; and Raymond agreed to a request to go back for a short time to the Punjab, now part of Pakistan. When the Presbytery bade him farewell, he particularly treasured the Presbytery Clerk’s comment that not only had he been a faithful presbyter but also ‘Mr Bailey did not speak much; but when he did he always had something useful to say’.
21/22 years on, Raymond found the situation in Pakistan was very different from previously. The missionaries were now servants of the local church, in a predominantly Muslim nation; and Raymond saw his main task as to help the Christian leaders accept and even love their Muslim neighbours. Health reasons again cut short the time in Pakistan, but he is still remembered there with much warmth and affection, and a special message of appreciation and condolence has been received from the current Bishop of Sialkot. On returning home he undertook some prison and hospital chaplaincy and locum work and in due course was called to the small parishes of Ladykirk and Whitsome in Berwickshire where he spent six and a half years that he described in his memoir, a little enigmatically, as both exceptionally happy and frustrating. He found the people very friendly and welcoming, but the drift towards the cities was a problem; moreover Mary’s health declined significantly. Their next move was to London, where Raymond served for two years or so as Associate Minister at St Columba’s, Pont St: this again was something of a mixed experience. There were aspects of London life and the congregational work he found enjoyable, especially the pastoral visiting; but much of the formality he found less congenial, despite the high regard he had always had for the place of the sermon and a dignified approach to liturgy and his own considerable skill and consistency in this area..
In 1980 Raymond and Mary retired to Edinburgh. He deliberately avoided any kind of regular commitment to undertaking locum work, although he did conduct worship from time to time. He looked after Mary until her death in 2000 with outstanding dedication and remarkable patience. There was opportunity too to keep in touch with his extensive network of friends and his growing family. His family relationships were always at the heart of his life: while the death in 1992 of Alan was, as we have heard, an immense shock and sadness, there was his strong relationship with his daughters, who in turn have cared for him with such devotion these past years, and his great reciprocated affection for his grandchildren. In retirement too he pursued and developed the wide and varied range of interests he had always had, of which Diana has spoken. He had always been involved with the Leprosy Mission of which he was latterly Honorary Scottish President. A long-standing member of the Labour Party, his commitment was much admired within the party, not least when, less than 20 years ago, already at a relatively advanced age, he was delivering many more house-to-house leaflets than anyone else. And in this very church when he happened to be preaching on the Sunday after the election that Neil Kinnock famously and perhaps unexpectedly lost in 1992, Raymond agonized over what he should say but stuck to his guns in speaking of the Gospel imperative of social justice and care of those who are vulnerable, and John Smith, who worshipped here regularly stayed behind that morning, specially to thank him.
This telling incident reflects the reality that Raymond, I suppose like each one of us, was a bit of a paradox. In so many ways he was modest and unassuming (above all in his underestimating his own achievements and abilities), but he was also an unashamed self-confessed celebrity-hunter and had steadfast determination. At first sight his demeanour could perhaps appear a trifle stern, and his mode of expression could sometimes be uncompromisingly forthright and direct, but behind this there lay a heart of gold, a capacity to relate to anyone and everyone, a warm and compassionate nature and a wonderful sense of fun. Especially in relation to things liturgical he was a traditionalist – in the best sense of the word; and his background - India, public school - may have seemed conservative but he had a real radical edge – not only in his political allegiance but also in his open, progressive approach to theology and the life of faith, reflected too in his life-long involvement in ecumenical and inter-faith work, and above all perhaps in what he picked out as one of the most memorable events of his life in 1967, when he successfully proposed in the General Assembly the deliverance (seconded by Robin Barbour) that ultimately brought the movement towards the ordination of women to the ministry to fruition. And I know that he is still remembered with gratitude by many women for keeping this issue before the courts of the church with characteristic gentleness and persistence.
Raymond has rightly been described as something of ‘an unsung hero’. We give thanks to God for the life of this thoroughly good man, and for all the other lives he has influenced and touched for good through his faithful commitment to walking in the footsteps of Jesus, embodying the Gospel hope and the steadfast love of God which was his foundation and inspiration all his days. Amen
Loving God, we give thanks for all the good things of life, for every glimpse and intimation of your love breaking into our world in ways big and small, so often unexpectedly. We thank you for all the experiences and people who have influenced, enhanced and shaped our lives, in whom we have felt the light of your presence, the challenge of your justice and the warmth of your love.
Especially today we give thanks for Raymond Bailey. We thank you for the happy, enriching, amusing memories he has left behind – vivid even now in our mind’s eye. We thank you for all that he meant to those close to him and they to him – for the love he gave and received as husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend; for all that he enjoyed in life; for his special gifts of character and personality – his deep, yet open faith, his long and dedicated ministry and service to others through the church and other organisations, his strength of purpose, his wide-ranging interests, his sense of fun, his dedicated caring for Mary and his own patience in his last years. We thank you for everything in Raymond that revealed the depth and energy of life, the strong sense that people matter and life has purpose and meaning. We thank you for the privilege and pleasure of knowing him and for the assurance that death is the gateway to a fuller life, that he is now released from all infirmity, truly at peace, safe for ever in the eternal joy of your nearer presence, your earthly work in him complete.
Living God, in proud and loving remembrance of Raymond and of all those dear ones who have gone before us, we seek your blessing now on our lives and on people and places that we are concerned about at this time. Help us in our own situations and circumstances to bring strength to those who are weary, justice to those who are oppressed, hope to those who are lost, and reconciliation to those who are divided. Bless us and all your people with energy and vision that we may love and serve with resilience and cheerfulness, compassion and zeal. And with concern and affection we pray especially at this time for those whose sense of loss is keenest because their love was deepest and most personal – we remember Diana, Elizabeth and Ros, Raymond’s grand-children and their families, his closest friends and all those whose lives he touched and influenced for good. Let their feelings of loss and pain be transformed by hope and a strong sense of celebration for a well-lived, faith-filled life. In this time of bereavement may they know the strength of your love that passes understanding and will not let them go; and, as we go forth from this place, in your grace, help them and help us all to face the days ahead with courage and hope, that in all that we say and do and are we may be true to the way of compassion, justice and integrity in which we seek to walk. Through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen
Dr Iris Manjula James (née Dwyer) MRCOG [BMS N India 1950-1969; Lecturer, Miraj Medical College, Maharastra 1970-76; St Stephen’s Hospital Delhi 1977-79; various charitable hospitals in Delhi 1980-2006] Died 8.4.2011 aged 78.
TRIBUTES FROM FAMILY
(1) JYOTSNA (DAUGHTER)
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. It is difficult to sum up in a few lines what mummy meant to me. I was her first child and we shared a special bond. She gave me life, showed me how to live life and gave me enough inspiration to live the rest of my life. She always made life look easy and there was nothing too difficult for her .We knew mummy could solve all the problems that came our way. She was gentle and calm voice could calm down any storm .Even when distances separated us, a phone call would alleviate anxiety like magic. I do understand where her courage and strength came from. .I recently came across in her handwriting she had scribbled parmeshwar mera bal or sharansthan hai. And she was a true example of the Lord’s power working in her. Any difficult situation or predicament would make her turn to her bible, meditate and seek God’s guidance and no wonder her decisions were always right. Even though work and home put too much on her hands she would perform all her responsibilities with much ease, we always had holidays, birthday parties, trips to melas, exhibitions, Christmas celebrations which included making goodies, baking cakes etc, to name a few. Our childhood memories will be special because she made it very special. She was ever ready to help or give wise counsel to needy friends and relatives. Even when she was given the bad news of her cancer she maintained her calm and braved and fought all through. The smile was always there. One senses that Mum was not healed of the cancer, but in another sense, she was. Now her cancer is gone, for in heaven there is "no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4). We take comfort in the fact that MUMMY knew Christ and that now she is safely in heaven beyond the pain and sorrows of this world. And take comfort also in the fact that some day we will see her again.
(2) ANJALI (DAUGHTER)
My mother, to me was a super-woman who went about life with so much ease, seldom if ever, exhibiting any form of worry or anxiety. It was almost as if she had a Helper, a Counselor, a Comforter and an Intercessor holding her up throughout her life. Today I am convinced more than ever that it was her deep faith and reliance on our Heavenly Father that resulted in a life so richly blessed and inspiring.
One of the first childhood memories I have, is when Mum would bundle up Jyoti and me to accompany her to the Nursing Homes, especially at odd hours of the night when she would be called for the numerous Delivery cases. Leaving us home-alone was not an option until we were much older. I remember watching her all poised and in control and eventually delivering the good news to many a family with the burst of cry of the new-born in the background.
With her busy professional life Mum would find time to stitch pretty dresses for us as kids on her little Singer machine and knit sweaters. Starting as young 5 year olds, my sister and I had the pleasure of going on fun holidays with Mummy to Kashmir, Masoori, Nainital or far away Bombay and Goa, even the UK. That was her adventurous spirit and fearless at that. We had so much fun together discovering amazing works of God’s hand. It has inspired me to not only live fearlessly in the Lord myself but also raise the next generation the same way. I am glad Mummy had the joy of looking after and playing with her grandson, Aarav. I happen to be her last ante-natal patient and having the privilege of her guidance during pregnancy. I am glad she got to see the second grandchild, if only in Sonogram prints!
I will always remember the rituals of being part of preparing Christmas goodies under her guidance. I will miss the days of her everyday cooking and later when she would rustle up a meal for special occasions. She was always there for us in regular day to day living and what would seem life’s turning points, ready with her wisdom rooted in the Bible to guide us.
For her, a prayer was an oft-used tool and always a thought away. Whenever she would sense any trouble or anxiety for any family member she had the ability to find the right verse from the Bible and pray the most relieving and strengthening prayer.
Mom, you have been a loving mother, a best friend, a mentor and a lifelong inspiration. Your memory is a blessing to me. I thank God for giving me the honor to be your daughter. I pray that as you have gone to be with Jesus, you are peaceful in the knowledge that you left behind a generation well-raised and worthy to be called God’s children. I will be looking forward to the day of meeting you and being with you again for eternity.
Your daughter (Sweety)
(3) VIJI (SON IN LAW)
I had the privilege of meeting my mother in law Iris first before I even met my wife Jyotsna. I had known her for a little over 5 years. She was an incredibly strong woman who loved her two daughters immensely. She single handedly raised them. In fact her whole world revolved around her daughters.
It was towards the end of her first visit to us in the UK that she was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. I have never in my life seen a more composed person when the doctor broke the news to her along with me and Jyotsna. She took it with a smile in her face.
She used to pray for me when I was looking for a job and last year when I told her that I got a promotion at work she was delighted and reminded me of God’s blessings. She was very fond of our son Aarav and he will miss her. We will also miss her love and kindness but we can be assured that she is in a better place where there is no pain and sorrow. May her soul rest in peace!
(4) RAJ DWYER (BROTHER)
My sister was a goal post to all our achievement. .She was about 8 years older than me and she assisted my Mum during my birth. May be at that time she decided to become a DR AND SPECIALISE IN OBSS AND GYNAE. I only learnt this in 2009 on her very memorable stay in Cambridgeshire UK.
I was very young when she left home to study at Ludhiana but looked forward to her annual summer holiday. I got so fond of my sister that I followed her to UK. After she had gone back to India. I married my English Wife .So she has played a very Important role on my life.
While during her illness in Aberdeen she was a great witness to everybody .She endured unbearable pain but she continued to glory in her Saviour. She was my last surviving sister. And I am sure we will meet again one day. God Bless!
(5) RUTH DWYER (NIECE)
My Auntie Iris has and will always be an inspiration to me. Returning to India from the UK early in her career to provide medical expertise to her own people is just one example of her giving nature. She single-handedly brought up two successful daughters giving them the best start in life she could. Auntie Iris battled hard until the end, always a fighter. She will be sorely missed and will always be remembered fondly in my heart.
The Revd Dr Allan Kenneth Jenkins [CMS, Serampore College, 1970-76] Died 22.01.2012 aged 71
The Revd Allan Kenneth Jenkins, BD MTh PhD AKC, was born in Port Talbot, South Wales. Having gained a State Scholarship, he went to King’s College, London University, to read physics. Before going to university, Allan had been an altar server at his local church. Yet it was a total surprise to his close friends, when, towards the end of his first year at the university, it became clear to him that a scientific career was not going to be his destiny, and that he would be seeking ordination. Once Allan had made the change to read theology, he revealed an almost instant flair for Oriental Languages, and indeed, over the years, he evolved into a Hebraist of distinction. He was ordained deacon in 1964 and priest in 1965. From 1965 to 1970 he was curate in Llanblethian and Cowbridge, a small parish in the Vale of Glamorgan, some fifteen miles from Cardiff.
From 1970 to 1976, supported by the Church Missionary Society, he was on the staff of Serampore College in West Bengal. Soon after his arrival in India he wrote to his friends in the UK about the culture shock produced by the rapid change from one culture to another made possible by air travel, about the vastness of India, and about the hot weather. “In summer it can be extremely hot and humid,” he wrote, and “in the autumn there can be fierce storms which batter the coastal areas”. “My first few days in the hot weather were rather sticky – no fans, no running water, and candlelight only after 5 p.m., when it gets dark.” Then he wrote about a fierce cyclone that had devastated Eastern Pakistan. “It is impossible to appreciate the magnitude of the death toll – Aberfan 700 times over, and we all pray for the survivors who have now to build a new life from the ruins”.
Allan lectured in India for six years, after which he returned to the UK, first of all to Llanarth in Monmouthshire where he served for two years. Subsequently, he was Director of Studies at Chichester Theological College (1978-83) and Senior Tutor at the East Anglia Ministerial Training Course (1984-87). He was Senior Chaplain to the Colleges in Cardiff (1987-95) and tutor at Chichester University (1995-09). He retired in 2008 to Cardiff where, earlier in his ministry, he had spent so many happy years, as a University chaplain. His book, Biblical Scholarship and the Church : a sixteenth century crisis of authority, published in 2007, in collaboration with Patrick Preston, shows Allan as having a scholarly vision which took his speciality to an area well outside the normal range of classical Old Testament scholarship.
Allan was a brave and devout man who was aware that he had only a few more months to live. Despite considerable pain and discomfort he faced his imminent death with calm acceptance and serenity. His Requiem Mass at St Luke’s Canton, Cardiff on February 2nd was beautiful , celebrated by Bishop David Wilbourne, the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, and attended by many robed clergy anda large congregation. Father Mark Preece, the Rector of Canton, Cardiff, introduced the service and his tribute, printed in the Order of Service, is produced here with permission. Canon Richard Hanford, a friend of Allan from boyhood, gave the homily. We thank God for Allan’s service in India and for his life and ministry.
Anne and Timothy Mark
Tribute by Canon Richard Hanford at the Funeral Mass for Father Allan Jenkins on 2nd February 2012
A scholar's wisdom comes of ample leisure; to be wise he must be relieved of other tasks. How can one become wise who follows the plough…. and whose talk is all about cattle?
Ecclus. 38: 24/5. REB.
My friends, not many of you should become teachers.
St James 3:1
I will go unto the altar of God. Psalm 43: 4
When I had the privilege of preaching at Allan Jenkins’ Ruby Anniversary of priesthood only a few short years ago, I chose three texts instead of the usual one, and somehow it just seems right to do the same thing again today. But they are different texts now, and at first sight they seem to have nothing in common, but they unite beautifully in the person of the priest, teacher and scholar, who has drawn us here today by reason of his death. Fr Mark Preece has set the scene movingly in his tribute at the beginning of the service-paper, and drawn attention to the unexpected brevity of Allan’s retirement, which we all lament. It says something about character of the man who has drawn us all here today that he approached his final call with quiet acceptance and dignity.
A funeral of a priest is often something of a surprise to those who are unfamiliar with the Church’s ways. It often seems that the rites of the Church take over in a way that is just not usual at the funeral of someone who is not in Holy Orders. There is obviously the presence of a large number of robed priests for a start. The service seems to assume that everyone is on the same wave-length, even though this really cannot be taken for granted. However, at today’s Requiem Eucharist, we can all rest in the sure knowledge that it has all been very carefully thought through, for Father Allan had made his wishes clearly known, when he knew that he had not all that long to live.
On behalf of the rest of us here, I extend our Christian sympathy and therefore our supportive love to Allan’s brother, Colin, and to the other members of the family, who have all cared for Allan with such love and devotion, and watched with him and over him during these last difficult weeks and months. Father Allan was a bachelor, and often at the funeral of a bachelor there is a sense that all is now over; and it can seem a very real and final full stop. Perhaps in some cases it is just that; but most certainly not in this particular case. No, the life and influence of the bachelor Allan Kenneth Jenkins will live on in the lives of all those to whom he ministered, in the lives of all those he taught, and also in that specialised common pool of knowledge we know as Old Testament study, in which Doctor Allan Jenkins was a distinguished figure, and a Hebraist of distinction. His book, ‘Biblical Scholarship and the Church: a sixteenth century crisis of authority’ which came out in 2007 (in collaboration with another scholar Patrick Preston) shows Allan as having a scholarly vision which took his speciality to an area well outside the normal range of classical Old Testament scholarship.
Allan and I go back to single figures. As children we lived across the road from each other at the Margam end of Port Talbot. We both fell under the influence of a remarkable young and vigorous curate at St Theodore’s Port Talbot, Father Glyn Bowen, and so did many others; and although we went to different grammar schools in the town, we had, together with some other young lads, some good ‘quality time’ together (as the saying goes), as we went to the beach, or went for long walks or bicycle rides, played canasta, samba and monopoly, and in our early teens spent an excessive amount of time in that well-known form of idle vagabondage known as train-spotting. I am fairly sure that this is the only time I have ever actually occupied the pulpit for the funeral of a boyhood friend.
Well, all good teenage things came to an end, and we went our separate ways to university. Allan went on to King’s College London (armed with a State Scholarship) to read Physics. He had always been a scientist and mathematician, whilst most of the rest of the gang had opted for arts subjects. Indeed, while the rest of us would have said, ‘How many times have I told you (something or other)?’ Allan the mathematician would unfailingly declare: ‘I have told you n times.’ Church-wise, Allan had indeed been a good young churchman, and was an altar server, yet we were all totally taken by surprise when, towards the end of his first year at the university, it became clear to him that a scientific career was not going to be his destiny, and that he would be seeking ordination. The seeds planted by the life and example of that great and good priest Glyn Bowen had been vigorously watered (so I gather) in the London University Chaplaincy by a brilliant, albeit maverick and I can say most exasperating, Welsh priest, who was the senior chaplain there. That was Father Gordon Phillips, who some years later became for a short period the Dean of Llandaff. (I worked with him there during that time.) He it was who also convinced Allan that he should change his academic course at once, on the grounds that science was changing so fast that it would be no use to him at all, and the sooner he changed the better. Not everyone agreed with this, but time was to show that Father Phillips was right, for once Allan had made the change he revealed an almost instant flair for Oriental Languages, and indeed over the years he evolved into a Hebraist of distinction. Bishop Glyn Simon recognised this, and made sure that he was initially sent to a comparatively light parochial post at Cowbridge. He was made deacon on St James’s Day in 1964; that is why today’s Gospel reading was chosen. It was a remarkable occasion, because at what was a normal General Ordination four of those being ordained all came from St Theodore’s Port Talbot (one priest – me – and three deacons of whom Allan was one; the other two were Brian Lucas, who unfortunately cannot be here today, and the late Robert Britton), and the ordaining bishop was Bishop T M Hughes, who had himself been a curate at St Theodore’s. For part of his early time at Cowbridge Allan was in fact non-resident, for he was studying at the École Biblique in Jerusalem under the great Old Testament scholar, Père Roland de Vaux. Then after Cowbridge there came a great change, when he went out to India for about six years or so, teaching Biblical Studies at the University of Serampore, and being Warden of the students’ hostel.
And here at last my texts come in. When St James wrote ‘My friends, not many of you should become teachers’, he probably did not expect that when those words of his would be read aloud 2000 years later there would usually be some gentle chuckling. His point, though, was a real one. We shall, he said, have to answer for what we teach. In other words, teaching is a serious business, carrying the great responsibility of influencing for good or for ill those who listen to what we have to impart. Allan’s life is a classic example of one who combined in his person an almost ideal balance of the preacher and the teacher. The early Church distinguished carefully between these roles, but saw both as essential in the building up of the Christian community. Allan’s ministry in the Church of God was one of priestly ministry being exercised in both pastoral and academic spheres. In his case he could move from the one to the other with comparative ease. Not everyone can: there are pastors who preach, but find the preaching hard; and there are preachers who pastor, but perhaps find their preaching gifts easier to exercise than some of the aspects of pastoral ministry. Allan could do this, and the record of his service bears this out.
Ben Sirach in the book Ecclesiasticus generalised a bit too readily, when he wrote A scholar's wisdom comes of ample leisure; to be wise he must be relieved of other tasks. How can one become wise who follows the plough…. and whose talk is all about cattle? He had not met Allan Jenkins. Whilst Allan did not literally follow the plough and just talk about cattle, he was certainly very much at home in rural ministry, even though he himself was a townie, but he was quite able to combine this with the work of theological teaching. On his return from India this was possible first of all at Llanarth, and again later on in East Anglia, where he was Senior Tutor of the local Ministerial training course, and a part-time lecturer at Westcott House in Cambridge. In between those two posts he was Director of Studies at Chichester Theological College, the oldest theological college in the Church of England, and now, alas, closed. After several years of keeping in touch by little more than the Christmas mailing (for he was in India and I was in the Royal Navy), his stay at Chichester meant that he and I were able to be in regular contact once more, since I by then was only an hour or so away working as a Canon-Residentiary at Guildford Cathedral. It turned out that during this period we were able to see rather more of each other, because he invited me to do some lecturing and tutorial work at the college for several years on early liturgical texts. After Chichester he moved to East Anglia, and then the Church in Wales reclaimed him, and he spent eight years or so as Senior Chaplain to the University and colleges here in Cardiff. It was a major job, with many ancillary tasks: he was also in charge of the parish of St Andrew and St Teilo, the church in Cathays (the area where so many of university students lived); the diocese used him on a variety of education and theological committees; and he was much involved with the work of the South Glamorgan Health Authority particularly in connexion with the HIV/AIDS care co-ordinating team. Yet in some way, even though this was undoubtedly an important post, it turned out to be the one job in which he did not really have a serious academic teaching role. Whilst he must surely have done an inordinate amount of catechizing as a University Chaplain, in the end he felt the call to return to more specifically academic work, and so the Church in Wales lost him once more. He returned to Sussex, this time to Sidlesham, looking after this semi-rural parish on the edge of Chichester, but primarily being a tutor at the University of Chichester, and where he eventually became a Senior Lecturer. He served in the Diocese of Chichester in all for over twenty years, almost half his ministry.
But, says the psalmist (and here is the third text), I will go unto the altar of God; and that is the place where the undergirding of all this ministry was to be found. It is worth remembering that Allan’s total change of direction was not from science to semitic languages; it was from being a scientist to being a priest. His other academic abilities had yet to be discovered. While the rest of all thought that Allan Jenkins would be a scientist, God knew better, and caught him before he went too far down that road. The call of God, or, perhaps better the Invitation of God (for he does not despise his own gift to us of free will), comes with an R.S.V.P. attached. It may take a long time to make the reply, but sooner or later it has to be done, and in Allan’s case such a change of course could not have been easy. Something similar no doubt must have occupied his mind as he contemplated going overseas. [I remember a missionary bishop saying many years ago that he had spent two miserable years in his first curacy, wondering whether or not he should go out to the UMCA in Central Africa; the call was not welcome but it was insistent, and for those two years his very un-Isaianic reply was ‘Here am I, send him.’ (But eventually he went.) ] Constantly in life we are all in receipt of a daily invitation from God to live a full and fulfilled Christian life; but from time to time that Invitation seems to come by Special Delivery, and we are aware that a very special call has come, and we instinctively know what our response must be.
At Allan’s 40th anniversary of priesthood I quoted from George Herbert’s strange little poem ‘Aaron.’ I am going to do so again, but this time a different verse:
Christ is my only head,
My alone-only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me even dead,
That to the old man I may rest
And be in Him new drest.
Those words curiously relate to the call of God, both to the priesthood, and now on the occasion of Allan’s last call in this life. In Herbert’s poem we see a picture of consecration, a true offering of life, and it is that sort of thing that we are doing at Allan’s Requiem. There is a beauty of priestly ministry, which is sometimes transparently obvious in the lives and ministries of some who have responded to the call of God to serve him in this way. It is Candlemas Day today: the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, with Our Lady and St Joseph also making the offerings required by the Jewish Law. This is Allan’s time of Presentation in the place where there is no Temple made with hands. What does Allan now bring to the glorified Christ, not trusting in his own righteousness, but only in God’s manifold and great mercy? Perhaps the Epiphany hymn is a help here:
‘Truth in its beauty and love in its tenderness:
These are the offerings to lay at his shrine’
– in this case that means a lifetime of priestly servant-ministry.
God wanted Allan to be a priest; and Allan eventually replied, if not exactly in these words, ‘Behold, the servant of the Lord; be it unto me, according to thy word.’
‘Truth in its beauty’: the work of a scholar and teacher.
‘Love in its tenderness’: the work of the pastor and priest.
To change poets for a moment. Those of you who know Gerard Manley Hopkins’ lovely sonnet ‘As kingfishers catch fire’ may remember how in it all our nature and all our attributes speak, and they all spell out this: ‘What I do is me: for that I came.’ But then come the strange and wonderful lines – the first two perhaps not all that easy to follow, but the next line is electrifyingly clear:
‘I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is – Christ.’
By ‘the just man’ Hopkins means ‘the Christian’, who radiates out in the eyes of God not just his own inborn unique character (which the first part of the sonnet actually stresses) but the true reality of Christ, since the grace of God in Jesus Christ is active in him. What Hopkins is telling us is that it is the task of the Christian, it is the task of the whole Church, and very specifically it is the task of the priest, to be Jesus, to make him present, and to make him known and loved in the world. And it is within that context that Allan was called to be servant, pastor, scholar, teacher, guide, and (as all priests know) to a peculiar pastoral and eucharistic intimacy with Jesus in his Passion, to enter His heart, to live within His consecration and His self-offering. It was the feast of St John Bosco two days ago; on the eve of his ordination his mother said to him ‘To say Mass is to begin to suffer.’ That is where the crunch comes; such a call is absolute and knows no half-measures: For in one’s priesthood one is either crucified with Christ, or sadly one gives up the struggle.
‘I will go unto the altar of God.’ Those words from Psalm 43, were, until quite modern times, said in the rite of Preparation at the foot of the altar steps at every Eucharist in the western tradition, and they were said at three different points during the Preparation. It is not fanciful to think that the three times point to three aspects of that intention: ‘I will go unto the altar of God’ (says the priest) to plead in Christ the merits of his one perfect sacrifice; ‘I will go unto the altar of God’ that I may be a holy and living sacrifice to God in this life; and ‘I will go unto the altar of God’ because you have called me to do so. The former Archbishop of Wales, Dr John Morgan, once told an altar server of his in Brecon who was contemplating ordination, ‘Never forget that the only real reason for becoming a priest is that you feel called to offer the holy sacrifice at the altar.’ (For almost everything else can be done by someone else.) The joys and sorrows of the life of a priest all meet there.
Here at the altar we thank God upon every remembrance of Allan, and pray now that he may rest in the peace of the Lord he loved and served so well. Allan now returns in his priesthood for it to be absorbed for ever into the eternal priesthood of Christ. In the providence of God, it is for this very reason that he has come, in Christ, and in his priesthood, to the hour of his death. And now, with Christ, and in Christ, he can truly say, ‘Father, glorify thy name.’
So let us go back to George Herbert, and give him the last word. Perhaps he will forgive us, if we change the last-but-one word, and instead of ‘Aaron’ read something else, as Allan Kenneth Jenkins, priest, ‘enters into his rest.’ So:
Holy in my head,
Perfect and light in my dear breast;
My doctrine tuned by Christ who is not dead,
But lives in me while I do rest.
Come, people, Allan’s drest.
We shall all miss this quiet, scholarly and lovely priest. May he rest in peace, and rise in glory.
Dr Alice Musgrave, OBE, 13 June 1912 - 27 September 2011
Born in Liverpool on 13 June 1912, Alice was the second child of Caleb Shera Musgrave who was a language teacher, and Lillian Isabel Park who was herself the daughter of Rev John Oliver Park, one-time president of the Irish Methodist Conference.
In 1913 the family went to Germany so that Caleb could study German. They were still there when war broke out in August 1914, their departure being delayed because Alice’s mother had scarlet fever. They travelled down the Rhine, but, when they reached the border, her father was taken off the boat (he was interned at Ruhleben on the outskirts of Berlin for most of the First World War).
Alice’s mother returned to Ireland with the two children, and lived with her parents - her father John Oliver Park was then minister at Waterford. Soon Alice’s sister was born, and named “Hope” for the hope that her father would come home. Subsequently the Parks moved to Cork, and for a time Alice continued to live with them whilst her mother took Alice’s older brother Ivan and Hope with her as she went to keep house for Alice’s other grandpa, Thomas Musgrave, also in Cork.
The family remained in Ireland until the end of the First World War when Alice’s father was finally able to return. He took up a post as a modern languages teacher at the Whitgift School, Croydon, where he spent the rest of his working life. Their home was at 54 Sydenham Road and, for more than 40 years, this was a staging post for friends and relations passing to and from Ireland and through London to places all over the globe.
The family had a strong tradition of Wesleyan Methodism on both sides. Alice’s grandfather Thomas Musgrave had been married to Sarah Jane Laird, and three of her sisters had married Methodist ministers. Other uncles and aunts were involved in missionary service, for example Alice’s aunt, Helen Park, became a head teacher in what was then Ceylon.
From a young age Alice had missionary work in mind, and decided that she should become a doctor. As soon as she could she went to train at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Meanwhile Ivan became a Methodist minister, and in 1936 set sail for Hong Kong to join the South China Mission. Alice set off for India in 1938, and wrote vivid letters home. Here is her description of her journey through the Suez Canal: “When you were getting thoroughly bored with all the sand, all of a sudden you would come to a perfect picture, a bungalow or two, some palm trees, and camels. It was a queer sensation sitting and watching it. It was almost impossible to believe it was real. It was as if it was slowly being passed across a screen in front of you, for the boat was keeping to the same steady speed and everything was so still. ”
Alice had a week with her Aunt Helen in Ceylon before continuing to Madras for a few months’ medical induction and Tamil language training. She then moved to the hospital at Ikkadu village, not far from Madras, where she worked for several years. In 1943 she came home on furlough, but on VJ Day in 1945 she was in India as a patient at Kalyani hospital. She stayed there for 3 months, initially with suspected diphtheria (a diagnosis she did not believe herself) and then with TB. Afterwards she worked for a time in Mysore District, as the climate there was considered better for her health than Madras.
After a couple of years she was fully recovered and returned to Ikkadu, and later she became superintendent at Nagari village hospital. This second period in the Madras District lasted more than 20 years, with a break of 3 or 4 years in England in the early 1960s to care for her elderly parents in Croydon. From 1970 she was Medical Superintendent at the Christina Rainy Hospital in the city of Madras. Here her role was mainly managerial, but with a particular emphasis, as always, on training Indian doctors and nurses.
In 1975 Alice was awarded an OBE for “medical and welfare services to the community in South India”. This was a great honour but she seemed dismissive of her achievements: the driving force for her was to offer health and healing in the name of Jesus. A letter to nurses that she wrote on this subject emphasises the need for faith, humility, patience and prayer. Her personal spirituality had deepened as a result of her decision to join the Order of Sisters of the Church of South India, in which she committed herself alongside Indian Christians to a disciplined life of prayer and service.
Some notes for a talk give more details of Alice’s work. She took as her theme John 10 v. 10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. The talk focuses particularly on children, on ante-natal clinics, hospital deliveries, a premature baby nursery. She emphasises “every baby a WANTED baby”. Then her notes move on to community health and the Madras Christian Council of Social Service, with immunisation programmes, slum clearance, sanitation blocks, dispensaries and social workers. The Rainy Hospital had a programme feeding up to 200 pre-school children daily. She lists village dispensaries, including weekly visits to Sholavaram by the hospital doctors and Sunday services there. The notes conclude with leprosy, covering reconstructive surgery and the adoption of babies. Alice was herself directly involved in raising two children who were abandoned at hospital, and in later years she described one as her “adopted son”. She was delighted to see him again when she made a very happy visit to India in 1988.
As Alice’s nephews and niece were growing up, letters from Alice would arrive regularly, and they remember her coming home on furlough with saris, beautifully worked brass bowls and elephant ornaments with ivory tusks. She would dearly have liked to share more fully in their childhood, and used a cine camera to capture it.
Alice continued to serve as a doctor after the age at which she could have retired, returning home in 1976. Her sister Hope had always treasured her Irish nationality, and Alice moved with her to Dun Laoghaire, where they had many happy years as part of the Methodist community. At the age of 64 she offered her services to the Social Aid Centre at the Dublin Central Mission, soon becoming a valued member of staff and only retiring for a second time 14 years later. She remained extremely active until an advanced age - her niece remembers walking into Dun Laoghaire with her when she was nearing 90, with her commenting that she was starting to slow down and that people were overtaking her! Her activity in the church included local preaching, which she continued until she was 91.
Hope was less fortunate with her health, and Alice was very supportive of her, but eventually Alice’s sight began to fail and she and Hope agreed to move to Mount Tabor Care Centre in Sandymount when Alice was 92. It was a wrench to give up independent living, but Alice coped stoically, and continued to support Hope. Hope’s loss in 2008, following Ivan’s death in 2006, left Alice as the only surviving member of her immediate family, and the last of all her cousins. This was hard for her, but she delighted in visits from a variety of friends and family members, and frequently surprised them with memories, sudden sharp insights, and flashes of humour. In June 2011 she celebrated her 99th birthday, and there is a real sense in which her death marks the end of an era.
The Revd Roy Newell [MMS, Madras 1963-1972 and Samoa 2001-2003] Died 10.05.2012 aged 77.
SPECIAL TRIBUTE – The Revd Roy David Newell
17th March 1935 ~ 10th May 2012
“All my hope on God is founded; He doth still my trust renew. Me through change and chance He guideth, only good and only true. God unknown, He alone calls my heart to be his own.” These words, sung at Roy’s funeral on 31st May 2012 in the United Reformed Church in Burnham-on-Crouch, give us the measure of the man. The second hymn, which he often chose, encapsulates his committed response to Jesus’ question as posed by John Bell: “Will you come and follow me?” Roy was quite prepared to risk the hostile stare, to let the blinded see, to set the prisoners free and to kiss the leprosy sufferer clean. He spent his life doing all of this and much more. Appropriately the service ended with these words: “ ‘Tis Jesus the first and the last whose Spirit shall guide us safe home; we’ll praise him for all that is past, and trust him for all that’s to come.’ Singing that hymn surrounded by ‘our Methodist people’ was a truly moving moment, quite unforgettable, all of which echoed and re-echoed the faith and integrity which was the life of Roy Newell.
Roy was born in Farnworth, Bolton, in Lancashire and lived in an end terrace house, with his Mum, Maggie, his Dad, William, and his brother Arthur. In 1951, he and Jo became friends through the Youth Missionary Association. That is also where they both became inspired to work abroad later on. They were married in 1960, part way through Roy’s theological studies at Hartley Victoria College. In 1963 they sailed for India with their toddler, David. Pamela was born in India in 1965 and in 1970, Jo and Roy took a big decision to adopt an Indian child after Roy had visited a children’s home where he felt moved to do something to make a difference. They adopted Sushila and later Peter.
Soon after that, they all returned to the UK and Roy went back into circuit for a couple of years until he was invited to work in London at the East End Mission in Commercial Road with its many challenges. After 7 years, he was invited to Deptford Mission and amongst many other things worked hard to raise money for its work with disabled people, bussing them into clubs and giving them at least one time in the week in which they could get out and socialise. He then moved to Rotherham to work with Industrial Mission in South Yorkshire for 9 years and in ‘retirement’, went to Samoa for two years as a Piula College lecturer at the invitation of the Methodist Church in Samoa. Initially he had been in 1997, during a Sabbatical, to research the life of his great uncle James Newell, a LMS missionary there (1880 – 1910) and a friend of Robert Louis Stevenson.
While in Stepney, Roy was invited to join the Rotary Club. Later, he did sponsored bike rides from Deptford to Burnham and to Sussex for Rotary charities. He was touched when recently, he was honoured by the Burnham Club, as a Paul Harris Fellow “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.” During their eight years in India this is precisely what Roy and Jo did. They were greatly loved, and still are, by their Indian friends and colleagues. Roy’s work included church extension through the Avadi Mission and industrial mission in the rapidly expanding factories of Madras. To be better equipped for this work Roy returned to England in 1967 with the family, where he studied industrial mission and sociology in William Temple College, Rugby. He then returned to India to be part of the industrial team in Madras, becoming, amongst other things, chaplain at St George’s School and port chaplain for the Mission to Seamen. He also became the presbyter of St. Mary’s Church in Fort St. George – the oldest former Anglican church East of Suez.
Roy loved cars and motorbikes, and he had learned how to maintain them in a Saturday job, while at school. This stood him in good stead in India, especially in industrial mission. When he went missing for a while you had only to look for two feet protruding from beneath a clapped-out van! Working with Roy in Christian Service to Industrial Society, was a joy. Rev Felix Sugirtharaj was director and Roy was his deputy. The team included factory managers, trades unionists, factory workers and presbyters – Lutheran and Church of South India. Managers’ meetings, health and safety, family budgetting, Bible studies, Industrial Harvest services, May Day services for Labour Day, in-service training lasting a month for theological students, joint meetings with other teams in Durgapur, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Mumbai – all of these were the order of the day. Halcyon days indeed, in which Roy was in his element.
Working alongside him, one discovered that though he didn’t suffer fools gladly, especially sycophantic Bible-bashers, he was incredibly patient with all sorts of people. His sense of humour was abundant. He could always see the funny side of things with his wry smile and muted, chuckling laughter. Roy was able to talk to people from all walks of life and treat them as equal. He was as much at home in the managing director’s office as he was discussing divorce with the crane drivers or having a cosy chat with the shop stewards. In later life while working in Sheffield his son David was surprised once when Roy asked him about good beers! “Dad was teetotal, but we found out that he was doing research so that he could have a subject to discuss with shop-floor workers!”
Roy touched the lives of many people. Mark Twain once said "Let us endeavour so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." Roy did just that. He preached his last sermon on Easter Sunday 8th April, but his whole life was a sermon. To work with him was to learn the real meaning of integrity and one wonders when we shall see his like again.
Roy Newell 17.3.35 to 10.5.12
Roy was proud of his roots in Bolton, where he lived with his parents and older brother in an end-of-terrace house, next door to his maternal grandparents. In common with most families in Lancashire there were connections with the cotton industry. The family was immersed in the life of the local Methodist church, where Roy became involved in JMA (Junior Missionary Association), YML (Young Men’s League) and YMA (Youth Missionary Association), a firm foundation for his interest in the world church.
He followed his brother, Arthur, to Bolton School where Arthur was well-known as the school organist.
In 1954 Roy went to Manchester University where his calling to the ministry took hold. After gaining his BA, he taught for a year; completed Local Preachers’ studies and candidated for the ministry. His final interviews were in Bristol, to which he travelled by motor-bike. On the way he had an accident, due to the carelessness of a construction company. He went to hospital, the motor bike to a garage and they were “fixed”! Nothing daunted, he arrived in Bristol, patched up!
He started at Hartley Victoria College in 1958, near enough to home to develop his friendship with Jo, a member of the YMA. Her absence for two years, in Southlands College, had made hearts grow fonder and their relationship blossomed. During this time, Roy decided he wanted to offer to work in the Church of South India and Jo was happy to concur. They married in 1960, a year before Roy graduated with his BD.
Instead of going straight to India, as expected, Roy was asked to go to Hoyland, for practical experience in circuit. He was received into Full Connexion at the Methodist Conference in Blackpool in July 1963.Two years on, the Newells sailed with their son David, who learned to walk on the P&O SS Chusan.
After two terms in Bangalore in Language School where they learned Tamil, Roy was ordained a Presbyter of CSI in St George’s Cathedral Madras on April 26th 1964. He was then asked to work in Avadi and City Missions in Madras. During this time the need for Christian Service to Industrial Society ( CSIS) was apparent. Pamela was born in 1965 and was baptised in a village church which had been built in a week! While on furlough, Roy did a year’s course to equip him for work in CSIS and they returned to Madras in 1968.
The second period in Madras was a time of varied work: in Adyar working amongst parishioners, some of whom were professors of a local college; presbyter of a village congregation nearby; presbyter–in-charge of St. Mary’s Church, the Fort (the oldest former Anglican church east of Suez); chaplain to St George’s school and Missions to Seamen chaplain; at the same time as being deputy director of CSIS.
Roy and Jo decided to adopt an Indian baby in 1970. When Sushila was just 17 months old, 5-day-old Peter also joined the family. When they were 17 and 16, Roy and Jo took them back to see India, the country of their birth, which of course, they did not remember, It was an experience none of them will forget.
On returning to Britain in 1972, Roy was asked to go to Rainham in Essex, by the minister-in-charge of the London Mission. Although this turned out to be a case of mistaken identity with his namesake, who had had the same experience when invited to Yorkshire, it was the foundation for Roy’s subsequent work. For each position after that he was “head-hunted”, in today’s jargon. From 1974, he worked for 7 years at the East End Mission, with secondary school children, including Bengali boys. Later, working alongside two Bengali women, he added a new project with Bengali girls. He also enjoyed lecturing in Religious Studies for A-level students doing social work in the Mission.
That led to his being asked to become superintendent of Deptford Mission, where the work was among elderly and disabled people. During his 11 years there, the church became a welcoming place for many West African members.
Roy loved the countryside with holidays taken in a trailer tent and later a camper van. He cycled and walked whenever possible. With the support of his Rotary friends in Deptford he did several sponsored cycle rides for a charity in India, started by a missionary colleague.
After 18 years in Inner London, thinking that a change from city life would be good, he was taken aback when invited to become a full-time Industrial Chaplain with the ecumenical Industrial Mission in South Yorkshire. He was always proud that he was ordained in the Church of South India, so this opportunity meant that life came full circle. Living in Rotherham, instead of Sheffield was a little removed from city life! During that 9 years, Jo ‘s involvement in the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women opened up an opportunity for Roy to go for his 1997 Sabbatical, to Samoa, where his great-uncle, James Edward Newell, had been an LMS missionary from 1880 to 1910.
Instead of retiring, or as Methodists say, “sitting down” in 2001, he and Jo went to Samoa, at the invitation of the Methodist Church there. In Piula Theological College, Roy lectured about the changing role of the church in the modern world.
From 2003, they have lived in Burnham-on-Crouch, their place of “retreat” from the East End, over the years. Roy preached regularly in the Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend/Leigh-on-Sea circuits, alongside his involvement in the local URC/ Methodist church, particularly during the recent interregnum. It was in that church that over 150 people gathered for a Thanksgiving service, wonderfully led by younger members of the family and the URC minister. Roy had lived with leukaemia since 2010 and died peacefully at home on May 10th. As a Methodist, singing was an integral part of his life and the family was touched when the Burnham Music Group, of which he had been a member, dedicated their concert to him, two days after his death. He was cherished and is deeply missed by his wife, children, in-laws, 12 grandchildren, extended family and many friends.
Miss Mary Ullyott [USPG Ranchi, Diocese of Chota Nagpur, 1953-1972] Died 17.10.2011, aged 87.
Mary Ullyott , who died on 17 October, aged 87, had spent almost 20 years of her life as a missionary with the USPG (known as the SPG at that time) in India. In the 1940s, she embarked on a legal career in Barnsley. By all accounts, she had a successful career before her until she decided to enter the teaching profession instead. She trained in Manchester on an emergency scheme set up to address the shortage of teachers after the war, and taught there.
Mary offered for missionary service in 1951, and trained at the College of the Ascension in Birmingham in 1952-53. She left Britain for the Indian diocese of Chota Nagpur, and arrived at Ranchi at the end of 1953. She spent most of 1954 at St Agnes’s Middle School, Itki, before returning to Ranchi, where she remained for the rest of her time in India. She was warden of St Margaret’s High School Hostel for Girls from 1954 to 1971, and was involved administratively and in teaching at both St Margaret’s and St Agnes’s schools. She managed the diocesan bookshop for a time, and her final work was to superintend the Ranchi School for the Blind. In 1972, after almost 20 years in India, she was forced by ill-health to return to the UK. She settled in Godalming, in Surrey, where she busied herself in the life of the Church, as well as ecumenically holding different voluntary and paid positions.
Mary showed her missionary zeal until the day before she died. She was not, however, a “hard-sell” evangelist, but spent much time working quietly behind the scenes to involve people in the structures, services, and rhythms of church life. It is fitting that her last service was a Eucharist at St James’, Midhopestones, which she loved, on the Sunday before she died. Involvement in church life was for her the recipe for the best kind of living. As part of that life, she gave out endless leaflets, made countless posters to advertise events — including things going on at Mirfield (which was also a significant part of her life) — and distributed hundreds, if not thousands, of parish magazines.
Throughout her life, she was devoted to the Eucharist and to daily Morning and Evening Prayer, and always fasted on Fridays. Her devotion at times put others to shame, including the clergy in the Penistone Parish and Team Ministry. She would quietly and yet pointedly ask parishioners where they had been when they had not recently been to church - often pricking a conscience, at the price of annoying them! But Mary was often irritatingly right on many different issues. Sometimes incumbents just had to eat humble pie.
Mary did not, however, see ritual as an end in itself. She worked tirelessly for others’ good, more often than not outside the church and in the community. She took the final words of the mass, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” as a personal mandate for mission. She lived simply, almost monastically, and unquestionably denied herself a different lifestyle because of her deep commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus. Her days were spent visiting the elderly. To do this, she was always hopping on and off buses all over the place throughout her early, mid, and late 80s. Not a minute was ever wasted.
Mary was an intensely private person. She never revealed much about her life as a missionary in India, or spoke about her family. If you asked her how she was, she would always answer: “Getting on.” She meant “getting on” in terms of having plenty to do, getting on with it, and making the most of every minute of every day. I have a lasting image of Mary with a neat pair of trainers, a walking stick, a white hat, and a rucksack on her back, always ready to go somewhere or do something, a woman “on a mission”, as it were. She was practical through and through. She travelled lightly and sensibly, and yet somehow, like Mary Poppins, had everything she and others needed, in her rucksack.
In all of this, there was a thread of holiness, of God’s active presence in the world shining through. She was special. Yes, she annoyed and irritated; but she was deeply spiritual and firmly engaged with what she believed to be God’s mission through the work of his Church.
On the day Mary died, her bag was packed, and she was all ready to go on holiday to Morecambe. Her breakfast was ready, prepared the night before on her kitchen table. But, in another sense, she was always ready to go. She went about with a firm, unshakeable faith, and believed that she was working this out by the way she lived. In a sense, she lived each day as if it were her last, because she packed so much into it. Unquestionably, she was a woman who took up her cross and followed the Lord in whatever she did and wherever she went. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
The Revd David Hopkin,
St John the Baptist Church, Penistone
Reproduced from the Church Times of 18 November 2011 by permission of the Editor.