At the same service as Nick Mercer’s sermon, tributes were given by Paul’s children. This is Susannah’s tribute.
I have chosen my father’s book Faith & Festivity not for it title but for its opening dedication – “to four worship critics – Jonathan, Timothy, Susannah and Benjamin.”
For while you might imagine that on Sunday mornings after church my Father is ushered into the living room at home and told “do put your feet up, have a cup of tea…” the scene is more akin to walking into the lion’s den. My father often quips that at The Manse we devour the minister, rather than a joint of meat, at Sunday lunch, as we calve up the sermon – constructive criticism of course!
In truth, though, we are more of a fan club than group of critics. My father is unique, or at least one in a million, and it is impossible not to be won over by his passion and personality. These attributes have been allowed to shine in two very warm and dynamic churches. I’m thrilled that there are people here today from Altrincham Baptist Church, the church that I was born into and where I was surrounded by an incredibly loving and nurturing community throughout my childhood. And while I had already flown the nest when my parents came to this church, Chelmsford has come to be very much a home from home. It has been a privilege, both here and at Altrincham, to be part of such wonderful church families.
So thank you very much to all of you for what you have done for us over the years for my father, my mother and for us as a family.
While today may mark the end my father’s time as a church minister, I’m confident that is just the beginning of other things for my mother and father. We look forward to continuing our friendships with you as the story unfolds.