Obituaries 2013

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(In alphabetical order of surname.)

Mrs Beryl Hulbert Sealy, (MMS Lucknow & Banaras 1966-1985; Head Office 1985-1991; CNI 1991-1995) died 26th September 2013, aged 77.

When I heard of my grandmother’s death, I was in Wellington, New Zealand; it was an overcast day, and surrounding me were winter plants drying in coloured bottles.

My eyes sought solace on my newly germinated  bean seedlings. Their gentle heads had just uncoiled from the shell of the seed that morning, particles of dirt still attached to their upward searching heads.

A few days later, these seedlings were quadruple their size. Their sprouting was proportional to the sinking belief of grandma’s death.

Grandma wasn’t needed physically in her garden any more. It hasn’t always been this way.

Geographical distance is something our family does very well, And yet my grandmother, along with my grandfather, were surrogate parents to me consistently appearing throughout my childhood in our four different home countries of England, New Zealand, Australia and India.

One of my earliest memories of my grandmother is from 18 years ago, when I was 5; A home-baked birthday cake with hundreds and thousands. Grandma’s proud efforts.

A few months later, Grandma was at the dining table with neat piles of maps and pamphlets of sights –  An explorer crafting the navigation of a domain of wonder.

When I was 9, in a different kitchen, she taught me how to make chapattis (indian flat breads). I remember being mesmerised by her rolling wrists, the perfect circles of flattened dough; the precision displayed in such ease.

At 11, we were in our Indian home in mid-winter morning sunlight. She as a grandmother, and she as a teacher, was demonstrating the difference between the present and past participle. I struggled with grammatical concepts and instead made light of grandma teaching me grammar.

At 17, I came to England for a few months. This time she uncovered her inner historian, gently unwrapping parcels of England, her land, serving them to me in romantic shapes, and colours studded with architecture and poetry.

Her eyes would light up as we would walk down some cobble path and she could impart the history of shambles; this history of this country she returned to as a woman of the world but intrinsically was always English.

A few years later, now I was a 20 year old, I watched her absorb a garden of spring flowers, drawing in the colours, the formations in satisfied breaths. Drawing in the life that she had given her garden. I watched the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about the perennials, the green house tomatoes, the apple tree; the harvest festival and her many jars of jam.

Three days before my grandmother suddenly died I talked to her. Without knowing at the time, that conversation with her and my grandfather, was revelational. That revelational wisdom, that is to become my future, were humbly contained in gentle articulate words to be imparted only three days before she died. In that conversation I learnt to articulate what I thought to be my grandmother’s most inspiring virtue.

My grandmother’ mind, heart and hands were reflections of each other.There was no hypocrisy. No disparity. Just a continuum.It was as if she lived her life with her hands cupped by her heart, with her cupped hands holding a reflection of her mind. What her mind spoke, her heart felt, and her hands carried out.I realise what I see in my grandmother now is a palette of talent, capability, Knowledge, wisdom, and loyalty and commitment whether it was to the church, to my grandfather, to her family, or to her many varied projects.

Back in Wellington, the seedlings were now 5 inches tall, their foetal heads now unravelling iridescent leaves. The morning I left New Zealand to come here to England I planted these flourishing seedlings in our spring garden taking solace in the knowledge my Grandmother unravelled those leaves for so many, and will continue to do so.

The world was her garden as she tread the lands of Africa, Australia, India, England. She sowed the seeds of sincere knowledge, selflessness and loyalty.And now with Beryl’s death; my grandmother, your friend, a member of our family we can be rest assured that those seeds she has planted deep within us are germinating. We must nourish them and let Grandma’s garden grow.

Deepa-Rose Sealy

Two weeks ago I attended the celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Methodist Missionary Society.  It is a great tradition and Beryl was very much a part of that tradition.  The tradition of women and men who felt called by God to cross continents and cultures and give themselves in service in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ.  

Of course there was also a dimension of adventure and this also attracted Beryl.   As soon as Beryl arrived in India she threw herself into the life and culture and this started with the learning Hindi and Beryl was a good student.  However life could be a little lonely and there is a nice story about Beryl visiting Zoe in Azamgarh in those early days.  She enjoyed their company but did ask if Zoe and the other nurses might refrain from discussing their patients’ symptoms and treatment over breakfast.

Beryl ‘s world was education.  She did some teaching and in service training but with many schools and hostels run by the church, there was ever a great need for over- all management and Beryl was the right person.  She was both practical and meticulous and a great organizer.  I paid her one short visit in India and remember her picking me up in her little car and being driven round some schools and hostels and you could see she was held in high esteem and also, to some extent in awe, because she was very much in charge.

But Beryl was not a distant manager.  She came close to the students and was particularly concerned and caring for those students who had any disability.

At this time I was working at Mission House being responsible for all those serving overseas through the British Methodist Church and this included Beryl.  The person in the next door office to mine was responsible for selection and training.   This post suddenly became vacant and I was delighted when Beryl was head hunted and appointed as the person ideal for the job.

Selection for overseas service is not easy.  You are dealing with peoples’ sense of call and the direction of their lives.  It requires wisdom and sensitivity and Beryl had both these gifts

She was great at her job and we worked closely in partnership.  What is more she was practical and down to earth and had a no nonsense approach to life.  This combined with a lovely sense of humour made her a joy to work with.  And under girding everything Beryl had a deep faith.

Mind you she didn’t share everything with me.  So it was that one day I returned from an overseas visit to find some commotion going on in the corridor where our offices were, and when asked what it was all about I was told ‘Beryl got married yesterday’.

I have kept in touch with Beryl and Irwin over the years and it has always been a pleasure to see them.

Beryl was a great colleague and a good friend.  A person of integrity with a deep faith and a joy to be with.  She enriched my life and the lives of many and on this day we give thanks to God and we entrust her to his love.

David Cruise

 

barriescopesThe Revd Barrie D. Scopes [LMS, Bengal 1957-1970; CWM: Secretary for African and Caribbean Affairs 1975-76, General Secretary 1980-84, Secretary for Administration and Acting General Secretary 1984-90; FCI: Secretary 1992 to 2003] Died 29.10.2012 aged 80.

The Reverend Barrie Downing Scopes, who was General Secretary of the Council for World Mission shortly after its renaming and reorganisation, has returned home to the Lord. He died peacefully on Monday morning (local time) in Rochester in the UK.

Born on May 15, 1932 at Kodaikanal in South India to the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Wilfred Scopes who were missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS), the Rev. Scopes was himself a lifelong LMS missionary and staff of its successor organisation CWM. His ministry was punctuated by important transitions in the life of what would become the CWM.

A mathematics teacher by profession and a member of Trinity Congregational Church in Reading in the UK, the Rev. Barrie Scopes taught for two years in Marlow in the UK. He and his wife Elizabeth Agnes Robertson (married August 4, 1954), affectionately known as Betty, were appointed by the LMS to Bengal in 1956 where he served as missionary for 15 years. During that time, he devoted himself to educational work and the development of youth work and lay leadership in the churches.

While a missionary, the Rev. Scopes taught in the Union Christian High School, Bishnupur and served on the staff of the Siksha Sangh United Mission Boys High School from 1957 to 1967. After obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Serampore College in July 1964, he became a part-time lecturer at the Union Theological School in Behala. Besides his work teaching, he was actively involved in the life of the Church in Bengal, its councils and youth work and in relief and development work. Towards the end of his service he was particularly engaged in lay training and also played an active role in the planning and preparations for the formation of the Church of North India.

On September 1, 1971 the Congregational Council for World Mission (CCWM), which was formed through a merger in 1966 between the LMS and the Commonwealth Missionary Society (1836), appointed the Rev. Scopes as its Advocacy Secretary, a role in which he served until June 30, 1976.

With the retirement in March 1975 of the Rev. Ernest Edwards, the Rev. Scopes was asked to become the Secretary for African and Caribbean Affairs of the Council for World Mission (Congregational and Reformed), whose name came about through the incorporation into the CCWM of the foreign missions work of the Presbyterian Church of England when the denomination merged in 1972 with the Congregational Church of England and Wales, a constituent body of CCWM, to form the United Reformed Church.

In 1976 the Rev. Scopes returned to fulltime teaching in the UK, first to teach mathematics for two terms at Crown Woods School, a comprehensive school in southeast London, and then took up a teaching post at Caterham School, Surrey, which was founded for the sons of Congregational ministers.

On September 1, 1980, the Rev. Scopes was appointed General Secretary of CWM, a mere three years after the comprehensive restructuring that led to the renaming of the organisation to reflect its shift from being a Western missionary organisation to a partnership of churches in mission.

In 1984 he was appointed Secretary for Administration and Acting General Secretary. He served in the former role until 1990. September that year he commenced studies for ministry at Mansfield College, Oxford. The Rev. Scopes was ordained and inducted to the pastorate of St. Andrew's United Reformed Church, West Kilburn, London, on May 4, 1991. He was inducted to the pastorate of Heston United Reformed Church on May 2, 1993.

The Rev. Scopes worked on the third volume of the history of the LMS, Gales of Change: Responding To a Shifting Missionary Context, The Story of the London Missionary Society 1945-1977 as research officer and then administrator for the whole project. He obtained a Master of Arts degree through his studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge and also studied at the London Institute of Education. With his wife, the Rev. Scopes had four children: Jane, Mary, James and John the youngest.

 

The Revd Elizabeth (Betty) A. Scopes,  (LMS, Bengal 1957 - 1970 ) died  13th September 2013, aged 82.

I am sure Betty really valued and enjoyed her academic studies while she was at Cambridge but I think she would say that her involvement with Cong Soc  the student Congregational Society, as we called  it ,based at Emmanuel Church ,was a very important part of those years.

And Betty did get involved ,singing in the church choir, belonging to a student fellowship group, and latterly, being part of a preaching team taking services from time to time in nearby village churches. As well as encouraging me to get up very early on a Wednesday morning to cycle those 2 and a half miles along the Huntington Road to morning prayers at Cheshunt College, followed by breakfast.

Betty joined a “mission team” on more than one occasion, responding to invitations from  churches seeking support and encouragement.

All this came to a climax when Betty became Cong Soc President in her final, education year .She was thrilled  to have that role and regarded it as a privilege.

Being part of a strong Christian fellowship had a profound effect on us both .For Betty it sowed seeds which came to fruition when she responded to the call to the ministry many years later

We took life very seriously but not all the time. Betty had a great sense of fun, a real chuckle and infectious hearty laugh.

There was family church night at Emmanuel on Fridays with singing, dancing ,games; punting along the river on a summer Saturday afternoon trying not to get soaked to have a picnic with Cong Soc at Grantchester ,or ,very serious this ,a punt race with our friendly rivals Meth,Soc,  which usually ended a very wet affair..

Betty was introduced to the Lake District on Cong Soc Easter holidays. We hitch-hiked there, climbed pretty well everything in sight and stayed in Youth Hostels, sometimes meeting up with Meth Soc  and having a hearty hymn singing session over the washing up once we had decided which tune to sing. They had their own ideas and we thought their tunes were the wrong ones.

They were happy times .Betty was a good mimic and would often  keep us entertained .We laughed a lot.

They were good years but for Betty, of course, they had much more significance because it was at Cambridge she met Barrie.

Peter was very much a part of Cong Soc already when his younger brother appeared. Soon Barrie was drawn in, with his special gifts and graces, a twinkle in his eye and his love of teasing .Betty always said that I realised before she did, how Barrie’s interest in her was growing, and it was lovely to see the friendship blossom as it did.

So when the time came for Betty to move on from Cambridge it had become clear that, whatever the future held, she would face the years ahead with Barrie at her side .

And that is how it was.  They became Betty and Barrie---- a really remarkable couple.

Nan Watson

Although I know that she was ordained and inducted as Elizabeth Scopes it was as Betty that she quickly became known to all her friends at Wembley Park URC.

For Betty it was her first and only ministry  - for us she was our first woman minister – which I expect raised a few eyebrows among the older members – but our church was indeed  well blessed when she accepted our call in 1985

And those of us who remember her count hers as one of  finest ministries we have enjoyed

In leading worship she had an ability to make a story come alive whether it was Moses in the bulrushes.  Or the raising of Lazarus or an anecdotal illustration  - she could really tell a good story and added to that was her gift for leading prayer which  was noted in a speech by one of her secretaries as a gift that was special to her. – special to her and therefore special to us

It was perhaps a new experience for some of us.   She inspired us to pray, she taught us how to pray -   and she showed us the need to pray  constantly in our daily lives.

Regular attendance at Sunday worship during Betty’s ministry was a great privilege – a source of refreshment and renewal

And as we were fed spiritually by her Sunday after Sunday so too were we fed by her at the Manse.

Barrie and Betty were natural hosts and frequently held open house and  many of us  enjoyed being entertained at the manse – Whatever the business the mood was always lightened by Betty’s sense of humour.   Friends can recall many instance of this and one particular ‘Bettyism’ which I remember was during at Lent meeting lead by a Greek Orthodox priest.  He was talking about the use of icons in his church and Betty whispered to me. It sound like icon here and an icon there – here and ic there a con everywhere an icon’  Old macdonald etc

Betty was an ardent supporter of Women’s league ,and  of Christopher Benjamin and his work with the Gujerati community  She was a mentor to Noddy Croft when he started his ministerial training and I believe a powerful voice both in the local church set up and in the URC district

And amid all these many contributions there are two significant features of Betty’s ministry which deserve special mention

First - Betty was committed to a healing ministry and services of healing were a new experience for most of us at Wembley  They were both helpful and challenging and those of us who availed ourselves of her gifts in this field became  convinced that the laying on of her hands in healing brought us closer to God and to is healing process.

The second dramatic event in Betty’s ministry was the accident in which Mary was disabled. Betty, Barrie  and Mary herself showed us all how to accept such a life changing event with faith and fortitude  and they became a a living testimony to the words of St Paul  to the Romans - that all things work together for good for those who love God,

I know that I speak for all Betty’s friends at Wembley park that hers was a life lived to God’s glory for this we offer our immense thanks and praise and for that part of it that we at Wembley Park shared

Joan Lundie

Mum was a remarkable woman, who achieved many things during the various chapters of her life. Not only was she the first person in her family to go to university, she was also the first pupil in her school to achieve a place at Oxbridge, where she went to study mediaeval and modern languages at Girton College, Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that she met Dad and soon after they graduated, they married. After a couple of years teaching, Mum and Dad made the decision to move to India, where they worked as missionary teachers in West Bengal under the London Missionary Society. For Dad, who descended from a long line of missionaries and who himself was born in India, this must in some ways have felt like “going home”. However, Mum hadn’t been further afield than France until then and she must therefore have felt not-a-little trepidation as well as excitement when they set sail from Liverpool on the 6-week voyage to Bombay. During the voyage Mum experienced an enduring sea-sickness that turned out to be morning sickness for her pregnancy with Jane. In typical fashion, Mum threw herself whole-heartedly into life in India over the next 12 years, setting up and working in a nursery school as well as giving birth to another three children. It was a very happy time for all of us, which has left an indelible mark on our subsequent lives.

Before going to India, Mum had promised her mother that she would return to Scotland if Gran ever needed her help and, in 1969, she kept her promise, returning home with us four children and leaving Dad to continue working in India for what turned out to be almost 2 years. This was a difficult time for all of us, but particularly so for Mum. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for her leaving West Bengal – where she not only had the support of Dad, but also of servants, including a cook and an ayah (our beloved Raju) – and moving to the West Coast of Scotland to nurse her sick mother and bring up four (it has to be said, rather unruly) children on her own. Poor Gran too – if ever there was a case of “be careful what you wish for”… She must have felt like her 2-bedroomed flat had been invaded by a herd of rampaging buffalo, which systematically ransacked her home, managing to damage or destroy most of her prized possessions. To try and alleviate the sleeping arrangements (or lack thereof), Mum bought a dilapidated old caravan that was parked in the back garden, for us four children to sleep in. This wasn’t a great success… whenever it rained, which was pretty much all the time as far as we remember, the caravan leaked and dripped onto the beds where Jane and Mary slept; so many was the night when Mum was bent double with a torch, trying to block up the leaks. On top of that, 4-year-old me, scared witless by the ghost stories my darling brother whispered to me in the dark, often ended up waking poor Jane and begging her to accompany me over to Mum’s bedroom window, where we tapped persistently until Mum slid up the sash and hauled me in, to share the comfort of her bed.

Following Gran’s death, Dad returned from India and soon afterwards we moved down south to start a totally different chapter of our lives in Sidcup. Mum returned to teaching French, first part-time and then full-time at Beaverwood School for Girls in Chislehurst, which Jane and Mary – and our cousins Debbie and Margaret – all attended. I think, for all of us, the years in Sidcup were the Golden Age of our family life, crammed full of happy memories – weekend walks with our Lansdowne Road  cousins, Guy Fawkes parties at Jon & Evelyn’s house in Hampton, and the most magical and fun-filled Christmases, with all four Scopes families getting together. One of the clearest and dearest memories of Mum at this time is of her on Christmas Eve, in the kitchen in Sidcup, up to her elbows in flour from her mixing bowl, listening to the Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College on the radio, the whole house filled with the most delicious smells of baking and cooking. Christmas was jam-packed with treats and traditions and at the heart of this was Mum, with her wonderful cooking and her irrepressible sense of fun. Even when Jim and I were at our most uncommunicative-sulky-teenage worsts, locked away in our bedrooms at the top of the house with our competing music blaring, Mum would march up and hammer on the door, insisting that we come down and give the Christmas cake mixture a stir, otherwise “it wouldn’t come out right”.

It was Mum’s sense of humour and her sense of fun that made her such a wonderful Mum. Mind you, she was strict and strong as well – and needed to be – so we always knew where the line was and when we’d crossed it, which we relentlessly did. You could always tell when Mum’s temper was starting to flare, as she would become increasingly Scottish, usually ending up roaring something like “OCCCHH, GET OOT ME ROOAD!!!!” But the overwhelming memory of her – as so many people have commented – is of fun and laughter.

It was sometime during this period that Mum felt a calling to the ministry, but she waited until I had left home before returning to Cambridge in 1984 to study theology at Westminster College and subsequently become ordained as a minister of the United Reformed Church. It must have taken immense courage to leave the wonderful life she and Dad had created in Sidcup and “start again” as minister of Wembley Park URC, but this decision was underpinned by Dad’s loving support and encouragement, and Mum went on to serve the congregation in Wembley for 10 years, at a time of life when most people would be thinking of slowing down. After retiring, Mum supported Dad in his ministry at the URC churches in West Kilburn and Heston, before they moved to Rochester in 1997 to start their retired life together.

In some ways, Mum and Dad’s retirement was the most challenging chapter of their lives, since it quickly became dominated by ill-health; in particular, by Mum developing dementia. However, through their abiding faith and loving support of each other, they continued to lead life to the full and play active roles in both the church and the community. Although it was initially a painful process for both Mum and Dad when Mum’s dementia became such that she required full-time residential care, this was also the start of a calmer and more stable period, which enabled them to make the most of enjoying the time they spent together. And I would like here to extend my family’s heartfelt thanks to the staff and residents of Lennox Wood and Amherst Court care homes, who did so much to provide Mum with a loving, safe and dignified end to her life. I’d also like to thank Dawn for reading the Hardy poem for us earlier.

Mum achieved so much in her life, but our achievements are only part of our stories. As someone once said to me “We’re human beings, not human doings”. What I found most remarkable about Mum was that, although dementia gradually stripped her of almost all her mental faculties – short-term memory, long-term memory, even ultimately the ability to hold a conversation – what remained until the end was her love and her sense of humour. I think this says more about Mum than anything.

We are all so lucky to have known Betty Scopes, but my sisters, brother and myself are particularly blessed that she was our Mum.

John Scopes

 

The Rev Ian C Weatherall [USPG, Delhi 1950-2013; Died April 30th 2013 aged 91 years]

IAN CHARLES WEATHRALL: A SOLDIER AND A PRIEST

The medical report of 1950 assessed Ian, 28 years of age, fit for missionary work in India. Here he had committed himself to work at the Cambridge Mission of Ascension, now the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ, Delhi. It was not a new place for him as he had earlier in visited the Brotherhood House in 1945 as a young officer of the Indian Army during the war years.

Ian joined the army in 1941 and was soon transferred to the XVI-Punjab Regiment. The training for the Indian Army was not easy. He not only had to learn to work in an entirely different climate, hot and arid but had to learn Urdu and the art of commanding a Company of Indian soldier, a very different set of people than what he must have been used to in Lancashire where he was brought up. At some point of time his parents, Ian Alister Macdonald and Wilhelmina, had shifted to London. In the Punjab Regiment he was commissioned as a Captain of its Company. This led him to undertake missions in difficult terrains of the Afghan borders (western frontiers of India then) where he was a part of larger operation to counter the German instigated disturbances. The enemy's strategy was to distract the Indian army's attention to the west thereby help the Japanese to enter India from the east. The Japanese were in occupation of Burma (Myanmar now) and were knocking the doors of Nagaland. For his distinguished services in the Army during the difficult times of the Second World War he was decorated with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1975.

Ian was a deeply religious man. He desired to be a priest, but nothing could draw him away from the land which had become his karma-bhoomi. Yet the closest he could get to a regimented style of life of a disciplined soldier was a monastic community. Indeed he had already made up his mind for the Cambridge Brotherhood in Delhi. So after completing the army obligation Ian returned to the U.K. in 1946 to study theology at Kings College, Cambridge. He did a term in Cuddesdon, and he was ordained in 1947 at the glorious Winchester Cathedral. Something of this part of his life he cherished to the end. This was obvious in his habit to privately use the Cuddesdon Office book of the Hours. The time had now come for him to return to the land of his calling. For this he signed a contract in 1950 with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (later USPG and now United Society, US). In January 1950 he arrived at the Brotherhood House in Delhi, a city of magnificent history which he came to know and to love so dearly.

His first appointment was as a Vicar at the Church of St. James, Kashmiri Gate in Delhi where he was much loved. People in the streets soon became acquainted with this tall man with a straight body often wearing a white cassock riding a bicycle. At St James Church he met many distinguished people. Some among these were Radhakrishnan, Jawaharlal Nehru and Queen Elizabeth and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the founder of modern Indian State along with Mahatma Gandhi. He had several meetings with him between December 1952 and January 1953 in the Church. Their discussions mainly were on religion and society. Besides the mundane work of the pastorate, the round of Sunday Services through the year and the care of the Christian flock, his contact with the leprosy patients living in slums next to the cremation grounds on the river Yamuna bank was most important. The significance of this was to unfold many decades later. The story of this work begins 1957 when two beggars affected with leprosy approached Fr Ian asking him to conduct a burial of one among them. They were Christians who had come from southern India. Fr Ian did this for them but it also opened a field of new work for him. He organized them into a community and a church. He registered their marriages, as they were until now cohabiting. Thereafter he baptized their children. He provided them regular services and helped them set up economically viable trades, poultry, on a small scale. All this he did till 1967 when he gave this responsibility to Fr Amos, who had then joined the Brotherhood.

In 1969 Fr. Ian was chosen as the Head of the Brotherhood. He remained so till 1988. In this capacity he had to oversee and help the work of other members which included organizing retreats, hosting meetings, publishing, and assisting in the diocesan churches. There were events in the Brotherhood House that were ecumenical and inter-religious. He had to see that all these were properly facilitated. However, his support to Fr Amos was the most important one. He enabled contacts with the right people at local and global levels. Most useful contacts were in the UK. The support generated from these contacts made the outreach work especially for the education of the poor children expands in a proper and effective way. He was again elected as the Head of the Brotherhood by his fraternity in 2004 and remained so till he died. These years were more challenging for him than the earlier ones. In the deepening crisis of the Brotherhood he needed to make his stand firmly understood to his brethren. When in 2005 this crisis spilled over to the Delhi Brotherhood Society he had to decide with a very clear mind what needed to be done. In a way he could not escape this responsibility as the chairman of this Society and one of its seven founding members when it was registered in 1973. In this critical juncture he supported the brethren to the hilt. He ordered the banks to freeze the accounts till the administration was duly cleaned up. There were losses in this, but he encouraged the brethren to be confident and calm. Although the decision of the brethren to settle the matters amicably caused some setbacks to the Society, he accepted it and gave his approval to the MoU they had signed.

Fr Ian's contribution to the society was well acknowledged. In 1995 he was awarded by the All India Christian Higher Education Board as an “eminent ecumenist, educator and friend of India. The synod of the Church of North India in its silver jubilee celebrations facilitated him. He actively served as a member of the governing body of the Sherwood College in Nainital, Oxford Mission in Kolkata, St. Stephen's Hospital, and Vice-Chairman of the governing body of St. Stephen's College in Delhi till he died.

He has seen historical changes in India—the world war, the quit India movement, the end of the colonial rule and the rise and establishment of the independent India. He never expressed any anguish for any of these events even about the missionaries leaving after independence. As far as he was concerned he had decided to stay on in Delhi. He was at St Stephen's Hospital for more than a year undergoing his chemotherapy and care. Here the good and the great of the city routinely visited him. His close friends and the brethren kept watch on him and were pleased with the excellent care that the hospital was providing him. Mark Tully and Gillian, his closest friends sometimes played music for him knowing that he could hear it as he kept sinking. Dr. Paul Swarup, the Priest of the Redemption Cathedral where he had regularly worshipped, gave him the last communion. As his days drew closer he became slower in speech and movements, and was confined to his bed. He breathed his last on April 30, 2013 at 4.30 pm when Ms. Nirmala Fenn was with him at his bedside. He was last of the Scottish protestant missionaries who served in Delhi and North Western India. His passing has brought an era to a close.

His funeral was held on May 4, 2013 at the Nicholas Cemetery, Delhi, and a memorial service will be held at the Cathedral Church of Redemption on June 2, 2013 at 6 pm.

You may send in your condolence message to Father Monodeep Daniels, Secretary, Delhi Brotherhood Society, 7 Court Lane, Delhi-400054 or email: monodeepdaniel173@gmail.com

(This obituary taken from the Church of North India website)
(See also Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10030397/Father-Ian-Weatherall-last-link-to-the-British-Raj-dies-in-India.html

The Rt Rev Dr Kenneth E Gill

K GillKenneth was born and brought up in Yorkshire, and he worked in Newcastle and retired to Scotland but his heart was in India.

In the better years of his retirement he would sit in his favourite chair in the conservatory, pipe in hand but in his mind he was miles away and you only had to mention India to see him become animated.

He went to South India as a Methodist minister, together with Edna in 1957 and began life in Bangalore, the capital of what was then the state of Mysore, later to be known as Karnataka. He was ordained into the Church of South India which is a united Church comprising Anglican, Methodist, Reformed and Presbyterian traditions. It was significant that on arrival he was ordained deacon at St Mark’s Cathedral, Anglican, and Presbyter at St Andrews Church of a Church of Scotland tradition.

Ken and Edna’s first task was to learn the main local language which was Kanarese and this they did and before too long he could converse with local people and lead services in the language.

After four months they were transferred to Hassan, 120 miles west of Bangalore where Ken had responsibility not only for the town but also 11 for a wide, very pleasant rural area bordering the coffee plantations of Coorg.

There they lived in a large but antiquated bungalow with few modern amenities, bath water had to be heated over a wood fire outside the house and then carried inside in containers, and cooking was largely done over a kerosene stove. During their time in Hassan Paul, Kathryn and Lynda were born.

In 1965 they were transferred from Hassan to Tumkur, a district headquarters town some 40 miles North of Bangalore and here Kenneth assumed responsibility for not only churches but also a boys boarding home, a farm, and a workshop which produced quality furniture. It also had its own small theological college. I always think that for Kenneth this was his ideal life and I think that much of him would have liked to have spent his retirement years there.

In 1972 the very large Mysore Diocese was split into three and Kenneth was elected to be the Bishop of what was then known as the Karnataka Central diocese based on Bangalore. Being convinced that it was important that Indian nationals provide leadership for the church he announced that he would only serve for a five year term, but at the end of the five years by popular acclaim he was asked to stay on for a further two and a half years.

During his time as Bishop, the church grew in numbers, new churches were built, many new social institutions came into being and the city of Bangalore experienced enormous population growth and rapid expansion, including the massive new cricket stadium across the road from St Mark’s Cathedral where I remember sitting with Kenneth to watch India beat England, captained by Tony Greig, in 1977.

When Kenneth became Bishop the diocese had not only many churches but also large schools, hospitals, boarding homes, clinics and evangelistic and social outreach programmes, Also the United Theological College, in Bangalore, was the largest of its kind in Asia. Kenneth was the right person to have this responsibility as he had the practical organisational skills needed to manage what were often very complex and difficult situations.

Looking back over his years as Bishop I can see the following qualities -

  • He was a fine organiser, he knew the constitution inside out and he knew how to chair a meeting well, he always said that he was reluctant to take votes but instead always tried to look for a consensus. His colleagues have said he administered with a human touch.
  • He encouraged his presbyters, especially the younger ones, and several eventually reached key senior positions in the Church of South India. On Tuesday I received an email from Bishop Vasantha Kumar and Bishop P J Lawrence and their families and they speak of his care and support in their ministry and the way in which he inspired them to see their ministries in terms of evangelism and social justice.
  • He pioneered women’s ministry in the diocese, often against opposition from traditionalists and he was proud of those who came forward for ordination. There was one service where a candidate for ordination had been barred because someone had taken out a legal stay order against her, and spotting her in the congregation he called her forward and gave her a blessing, and then ordained her at a later date.
  • He worked to make provision for housing and pensions for retired presbyters who often had to end their days in impoverished circumstances.
  • He worked to support many social outreach programmes that aimed to get alongside the poorest of the poor and one good example was the training programme for leaders of children’s crèches which were situated in slums and where Edna played the leading role.

Perhaps his greatest contribution was the way in which he held the diocese together in the face of much potential disharmony. All churches have their ecclesiastical politics and in India it is so often open and aggressive and very nasty with people rushing to litigation over the slightest difference. Kenneth had to deal with a diocese in which there were fundamental splits between Tamil speaking and Kanarese speaking Christians, each wanting power. Moreover, there were also the subtle differences which are part of the complex and intricate Indian caste system.

He suffered many unpleasant personal attacks. There were threats against him and his family. On one occasion he was prevented from coming back to England with his family for Christmas because he had to attend a court case. But somehow he managed to face all this and to remain impartial, and in the end many of his enemies became friends.

Over the years in India he acquired many skills. He learned to plan and design and build new properties. He discovered how to do accounts and make the books balance. He learned a lot about farming and animal husbandry. He could take a car engine to pieces and put it together again - a valuable skill in India where breakdowns miles away from anywhere were very common.

On one occasion he was called to a village where a wild panther was causing fear and disruption and with a rather antiquated shot gun he managed to dispatch it.

He wrote histories of the Tumkur Institution and also the definitive history of the diocese from its earliest days and partly because of these and other publications, he was awarded a Lambeth Honorary Master’s Degree and on his final visit to India an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Serampore.

And so we could go on. His little autobiography was entitled “A multi-faceted ministry” and what I have said shows some of these facets. For example: the warm hospitality that Ken and Edna offered to hundreds of different people from India and other countries in the Bishop’s House. And if you have never experienced Edna’s cooking, especially her Indian food, you don’t know what you have missed!

So Kenneth, the Methodist Minister, Kenneth the missionary, Kenneth the bishop but above all Kenneth the man, this is who we will remember and thank God for.

Rev Donald Frith.

Kenneth Gill: A Multi-faceted Ministry, Asia Trading Corporation, Bangalore, 2008

The Revd Roy Pape

PapeComing from Primitive Methodist stock in Derbyshire, Roy read English at St Mary’s College, then Theology at Richmond (1957-60), before going to Yale University for a post-graduate degree. After a brief probationary spell in Cornwall, in 1962 Roy and Jill went to the Central Karnataka Diocese of the Church of South India. Sent to work with congregations in the Kolar Gold Field, they were working both in English and Tamil. During this period Roy was considerably influenced by a fine Indian minister, the Revd Thomas David. From the beginning, a deep love of India developed.

Roy’s theological competence was quickly recognised, and in 1965 he was sent to the United Theological College, Bangalore where later he was appointed as Assistant Professor and where he taught until 1976. It was there, at UTC, that Roy blossomed. Reports from colleagues and students make it clear that he was an outstandingly effective teacher. “The best teacher I have ever known,” was the verdict of a senior American colleague.

And here’s the witness of a now globally recognised theologian: “Theology is poetry”– that statement of my teacher Dr Pape, stayed with me right through my doctoral work at Harvard. Roy’s teaching was marked by outstanding passion (humour too) as well as great clarity: “He made even the doctrine of the Trinity interesting.” Most important though, was the personal attention he gave to each student. A number have spoken too of the generous hospitality offered in their home by Roy and Jill.

Obviously Roy himself was in turn indebted to a wide range of Indian people that he came to know and love. There were fellow-teachers at UTC, among them the powerful Principal, Dr Russell Chandran. Roy used to delight in recalling how Russell would, in his gruff way, dismiss English theology as ‘that English goody-goody way of God-talk!’ Roy especially loved the writing of a convert to Christian faith, the Bengali leader of the Brahmo Samaj movement, Keshab Chander Sen, and has written an important ‘re-appraisal’ of Sen’s thought (see the Internet). It took courage to make this stand, as at least one senior teacher at UTC, and a number of leading missionary figures, rejected Sen’s thinking as ‘un-Christian’, but I cannot take this point further here. Though Sen was the focus of his concern for various forms of indigenous God-talk, Roy’s concern was far more inclusive, especially as he discussed such issues with Arvind Nirmal, seen by some as a father of Dalit Theology. When Arvind was at Oxford, and found himself in a spot of trouble with the police, it was to his close friend Roy he turned for help. In turn, it was Arvind who helped develop Roy’s love of indigenous worship and lyrics. While at UTC, there was the delight of Liz and Chris being added to the Pape’s family.

On returning to Britain in 1976, Roy’s ministry at Newark, Derby and Loughborough was greatly appreciated. Ever a faithful pastor to all, he was also able to engage effectively in various forms of interfaith ministry. Both Kenneth Cracknell (contemporary at Richmond) and Martin Forward, write of Roy’s important contribution to their work for national interfaith committees: e.g. the document entitled ‘Can we pray with people of another faith?’ was drafted largely by Roy. Roy was gifted with great sensitivity for the other: as teacher he was sensitive to each student’s need; as minister, sensitive to the special demands of each community context; and especially as theologian compelled by the need to engage in depth with indigenous ways of faith-talk.

Eric Lott

 

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