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Archive for September, 2011

Wally, Theo and Harold

At the beginning of his book “The Pure Stream”, Theo’s history of St Canice’s, he placed a picture of this church interior under the title “The Centre of our Parish”, and these words:

This is where we are baptised, confirmed and receive Holy Communion,

where we are married and where our body lies before it is buried in the churchyard.

 

We need this centre all our lives,

We need to maintain it.

 

I don’t know if they were his own words, or whether he found them somewhere, but it seems to me that they express very well Theo’s relationship with this building, with this community, and through them with God. He served this parish as a devoted member of Select Vestry, as Churchwarden, as Parochial Nominator. He ran the Stewardship scheme, which not only kept the parish financially viable but also drew all kinds of people into the community. Rectors come and go; “Mr Robinson” was the cheerful familiar face of St Canice’s for many, and I’m sure he was the reason why giving was so generous. He put his experience as an auctioneer at the parish’s disposal, dealing with questions of land and property as they arose; helping to build the parish centre, finding tenants to rent it, and using it himself as a member of the Bowls Club. His passing leaves a tremendous hole in the fabric of the parish which will be hard to repair.

 

He helped maintain this church, in order to use it. Sunday by Sunday he was in his seat, and if he occasionally switched the hearing-aid off during the sermon who can blame him? Like so many members of the Church of Ireland, his religious life was private but real; he was not ostentatious in his piety, but he worshipped and made his communion and showed the quality of his faith in his work and in his kindness.

 

Last Monday, curiously enough, was the feast day for a 7th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus. Is that strange, or what? Now the name Theodore means “gift of God”. I’m sure Theo would have had a bit of a laugh to think he was “God’s gift”; and Joan would have put him right if he’d started to believe it. But of course God’s gift is exactly what he was to his family and friends, and a really good gift too. Now the time has come to give him back to God who gave him, which we do with sadness, love and gratitude. Here, at the centre of our parish, in the hallowed place that Theo loved and served, we bid him farewell as he journeys beyond our sight to God the centre of all.

 

To Don, Linda and Sandra, and all the family, our heart-felt sympathy.

Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.

 

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