Thursday, 25 March 2010

Annunciation light

For the feast of the Annunciation today, here is the light spilling out of the Annunciation window in St Nicolas’ earlier this week; I can imagine that this is approximately what a visit from an angel might look like.

For St Michael’s the day has been marked by the funeral of Jean Oldham, a gentle and dedicated member of the congregation for over forty years whose life made a difference to a whole range of people in her family and further away; the church is rarely so full of affection, hope, people, sadness or refreshments.

And it has had me thinking of Africa again in a way Grimsby funerals do not usually do.

As a Grimsby girl married to someone on a RAF posting in Kenya for a year, Jean worked as a Secretary for the Postmaster General in Nairobi in the early 1960s. We had a set of Kenya’s independence stamps on display in church for the funeral, the set being the one given to her and inscribed with thanks for her work without which they would not have been produced on time.

As a church member in the 1970s, Jean was only a few doors away from a Zimbabwean priest who spent a year in the parish (messages from whom have been posted her before). She was the one who went into their house to support him and his wife in coping with an English home. Twenty-five years later, when I arrived in the parish, she was still one of those behind fund raising for him, regularly asking after him, and sharing news of him with another supporting parish near Slough.

If only incarnation light spilt out like this from more of us more of the time.

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