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Statute of Limitations Proposed for Legacy of Troubles

Statute of Limitations Proposed for Legacy of the Troubles During the Prime Minister’s Question time on 15 July, PM Johnson announced that the government would be bringing forth a statute of limitations in regard to occurencess committed before the Good Friday...

Church of England Considering Legislation Regarding Parishes Seeking Input on Proposals

Church of England Considering Legislation Regarding Parishes Seeking Input on Proposals   Input has been requested on the proposals to change the current legislation regarding parishes within the Church of England.  The review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure...

GAFCON Australia to Support Diocese for Those Forced from Anglican Church of Australia

GAFCON Australia to Support Diocese for Those Forced from Anglican Church of Australia Gafcon Australia has outlined its plan to support Anglicans who leave the Anglican Church of Australia over doctrinal revision which overturns the plain teaching of Scripture. At an...

Church of England Evangelical Council Reacts to Unorthodox Remarks by Bp of Liverpool

Church of England Evangelical Council Reacts to Unorthodox Remarks by Bishop of Liverpool The Church of England Evangelical Council has responded to a widely criticised public address and subsequent apology made last month by the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of...

Questions Out of LFF, Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir, I read the first article from Anglican Futures, regarding the document, Living In Love and Faith, [LLF] EC 8083. I found the article helpful, well presented and gives a clear overview of the document.  However, I found myself seriously disquieted and I raise...

Kenyan Bishop Appeals for Orphan Aid: Parental Deaths Due to HIV

Kenyan Bishop Appeals for Orphan Aid Parental Deaths Due to HIV  The Rt Revd John Orina Omangi, Bishop of the Kisii Missionary District in Eastern Kenya is appealing for assistance in caring for 100 children orphaned by the widespread HIV problem in the area.  Kisii...

Christianity & Craft Freemasonry, A Pastoral Guide for Christian Ministers

Christianity and Craft Freemasonry A Pastoral Guide for Christian Ministers Gerard Moate Latimer Trust, 2021 (ISBN: 9781906327705, 70pp) By 1964 a national commission of enquiry estimated the existence of 50,000 books and pamphlets on freemasonry. This literature has,...

Forgotten Reformer: Myles Coverdale

Forgotten Reformer: Miles Coverdale Geoffrey Main Self-published, 2021 (ISBN: 9781916873704, 228pp) Episcopal biographies are always an enjoyable read, not least those of bishops who are better known for their non-episcopal work. Coverdale is of course best known for...

And Just When You Thought You’d Heard Everything, Bats Communications Officer

Whilst considering reducing the number of clergy nationwide, the Church of England is advertising for someone to be employed as its, “Bats in Churches Communications Officer”.  The post, which is located in London, pays between £31,857 and £34,255 (pro rata).  The...

Pilgrim’s Proces: Baptism Depths of Meaning by Peter Sanlon

In my last column we looked at the Lord’s Supper.  Today, we take a look at the other sign our Lord Jesus instituted among us.  These signs, or sacraments, which God gives his people are both simple and profound. In their simplicity, God's grace is powerfully...

Death is Shocking

A Devotional Thought by the Editor

 

Death is shocking even when the doctors have told us there is no hope and just a matter of time.  It still shocks when it happens.  The Covid-19 Pandemic has reminded all peoples that they are vulnerable to its cold, inevitable embrace.  It is never convenient and for many it is utterly terrifying to contemplate.  For others, death holds little fear.  The process of getting dead might be the cause of some trepidation but the result, death and eternity, does not daunt them at all.

As a clergyman for over 2 decades, I have been with a lot of people at the time their heartbeat ceases.  It is not something one looks forward to, but I want to tell you about that first one.  Why?  Because it has stayed with me for these past 26 years in good times and bad.

She was a thrice retired schoolteacher. That is right…three times she had worked in a school district long enough to retire.  She was 91 when we met and 93 when she died. Martha was as devout a Christian as you could find.  She had never married because she saw herself as a missionary to the children under her care.  She has also taught Sunday School and the catechism to generations in the congregation.  She was incredibly grateful that she had been able to keep all her own teeth for 90 + years.

Her departure from this life took place in the county nursing home.  We knew it was coming.  It was inevitable because leukaemia is not something you can avoid.  The human body can only resist its advance for so long.  

The day Martha died; I had the great privilege of spending it with her.  She told me about growing up on the prairie and all that came with it.  She talked about students she had taught… many of them at that point were pensioners like herself.  She also talked about her faith.  Hers was a quiet, dignified, and filled-to- overflowing with joy and peace faith.

As the day wore on and as her breathing became shallow, she became less talkative.  We just sat there with fewer words exchanged.  At some point I became aware that the room was filling up with the staff.  Many would offer her a hug or a touch…Martha would offer a smile in thanks.

The end was near, but I did not know just how close.  She opened her eyes and saw all the crowd in the room then she said, “Mr Pierce, would you please pray the Lord’s Prayer with me?”  I took her hand and started…the nursing staff joining in.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” ….in an instant her voice went silent and the sweetest smile you have ever seen broke out on her face.  Martha was home.  Her Lord, Jesus had taken her to the place he had promised to prepare.  She had been ready for the inevitable.  Are you?

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