Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rubbing shoulders with the saintly

Today I had the huge honour of conducting a funeral with Colin Marchant. We were burying a woman who's died before her time who was in Colin's young adults group at West Ham Central Mission. She'd married a Bromley boy at our church 35 years ago and so her funeral service took place in our building.

Colin is a legend among baptist ministers who work in the city. A pioneer theologian practitioner committed to growing a church with and for the poor; a leading thinker in urban mission and someone who has spent pretty much his whole ministry in Newham .

It was great to catch up with him. At 80 he's still as sharp as ever, still encourages with a twinkle in his eye, speaks directly and simply. But what was great to see was the peer group of the deceased, people scattered all over the country, many of them in ministries of one sort or another, all discipled by Colin into a questing and questioning faith.

He knew their stories, had followed their progress with prayerful interest over 40+ years. Just sometimes you get a sense of being in the presence of a true saint. It was a privilege.

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