It was with great sadness that we learned of John’s illness and subsequent death on March 5th 2016. Many people gathered to celebrate his life at Berinsfield Church and I was honoured to give thanks for his work and witness to the Mothers’ Union in his years of “retirement”. Personally I don’t think John ever “retired” as I am certain his family would agree!
The Mothers’ Union have reason to be proud and grateful for the work John did as a member both in Ely diocese and especially here in this diocese. Originally John became a “Muscle Man”, wearing the tie which enabled him to claim a free cup of tea at any MU meeting. The term was used as the first two letters of muscle are MU, and the men sporting the tie were “supporters” – they helped with all the jobs the MU ladies found arduous – putting up tables, setting out the chairs, and lots more!! John was a great support to Gloria, who at that time was Branch Leader. When Gloria and John moved to Oxford diocese to retire, it was not long before John became a speaker for the Mothers’ Union, initially telling us all about the Church Army, and then gradually adding more subjects. John and Gloria led Quiet Days together, and one I recall was entitled “Poetry and Prayer”.
In 2008 John became a full member of the Mothers’ Union, and in 2010 he was encouraged to join the team on the Action and Outreach Unit as he was particularly interested in the World Wide aspect of our work. He was a very enthusiastic member of the Unit which he served until the end of 2015. One thing in particular for which we shall remember John was his encouragement to members to each provide a Christmas card for the Chaplain at HMP Bullingdon to send to every prisoner enabling them to receive a Christmas greeting; some times their only card. More recently we also donated cards for Mothering Sunday which the prisoner was able to send to either his Mum or alternatively to someone who had had a maternal influence in his life. At John’s funeral the Chaplain told us how much these cards were appreciated. In the last Triennium John also took on the role of Training Officer, as a member of the Fundraising & Communications Unit which was perfect for him and much appreciated by all with whom he came in contact.
I personally am indebted to John and to Gloria for all their help, their encouragement, their friendship and their prayers during my term of office as Diocesan President. They were a wonderful team and our hearts go out to Gloria as she faces each day with our Lord at her side, in sure and certain knowledge that John is at peace with his Lord whom he served so faithfully.
Thank you, John it truly was a privilege to know you.