Thursday, 9 May 2013

"Come on up. We haven't started yet - we are getting more chairs!"

Nearly twenty years ago we were standing on the steps leading up to the Gibraltar Methodist Church. This church  is situated above the shops at top of the main street. As a family, we were arguing because we were late (or so we thought) for the church service where the school choir was due to sing. Our eldest son should have been there at 10 am and it was now 10.15. We were discussing if we could make it to the Anglican Cathedral instead - as that service started at 10.30. We had turned to go down the stairs when a head popped up over the upstairs rails and said, "Come on up. We haven't started yet - we are getting more chairs!" and this is how we met the minister. We couldn't escape, so we went on up and attended our first service in a Methodist church. It proved to be a life changing moment for my husband. A fire was lit and he came out saying that it was if the minister had been talking to him personally.

This minister went on to baptise and confirm my husband, to support his training as a methodist lay preacher when we returned to England and to laugh when the Church of England demanded that my husband was confirmed again but by a bishop this time! This minister was not at all offended and told my husband to get on with it because, as a Methodist minister, he had confirmed more Anglicans into the Methodist church. This minister had no problem seeing that my husband was being called to serve in the Church of England.

While serving alongside the Royal Marines, my husband was based near to where the minister and his wife lived when they returned to England.  He enjoyed their hospitality and company on many occasions - so important when he was living away from the family. He was encouraged in his Methodist lay preacher training and this minister saw my husband's call to ministry begin to grow. He was an extraordinarily gifted minister who could relate the scriptures to modern living. He made it relevant.

And so, next week, my husband - The Rector@6, will speak at this minister's funeral - a short tribute to a man whose wise and gifted words - changed the course of my husband's whole life (.....and mine).


  1. What a privilege and opportunity to give thanks.

  2. It's a lovely story - and imagine the greeting your husband will get when he too is promoted to glory!

  3. It's always amazing to see how the unexpected becomes part of the bigger plan. Jx