Friday, October 2, 2015

Audrey - singing in heaven

In May I posted about 'hymns and the elderly' because of an experience when Carol and I shared in the 80th. birthday of my former secretary at Spurgeon's College. I didn't mention her name though many of my readers will have known who I was referring to - Audrey Jones.  Well, I have just heard that dear Audrey has died and our thoughts and prayers go out to all her friends and all who will miss her.
Audrey served as Principal's Secretary at Spurgeon's for 25 years. 'Served' is the word!  She poured every fibre of her being into the task. When I arrived in1993 she shepherded me through the first months with extraordinary care.  Her encyclopedic knowledge of the college - its students, staff, donors, supporting churches - combined with her pastoral gifting which seemed sensitive to every situation proved invaluable.  She directed me where to spend my initial energies- key people to whom I needed to relate and which opportunities to say 'yes' or 'no' to!  Previously, I had never had a diary kept for me - it was unnerving but comforting as I recognized Audrey's wise leading at every turn.  Administration kept humming and, as people were in-and-out of her office with constant phone calls interrupting, I witnessed a lady expressing pastoral gifts and spiritual wisdom in every relationship.
I hope she knew how much she was treasured.  When she finally retired we tried to give her the best send-off we could with a banquet, gifts and speeches.  But I know she saw her service was primarily for the Lord and what really matters is his great "Well done!" 

Carol and I have so many memories.  In retirement Audrey visited us here in Chicago and I marveled at her continuing energy - especially when she went downtown to the city and we later witnessed her photographs!  In May I mentioned how an unusual kind of dementia prevented her from speaking or showing expression yet at her birthday party she mouthed the words when we sang 'Happy Birthday'.  The group then went on to sing some of her favorite hymns.  She joined in soundlessly but word perfect!  'Great is Thy faithfulness', 'How great Thou art', 'Thine be the glory' and 'Just as I am'.  Apparently, the last one was a particular favorite.  Before she came to Spurgeon's she worked for the evangelist Eric Hutchings and this was a great response hymn at his crusades (as with Billy Graham).   Verse, after verse, we all marveled at her freedom of expression.  Now, we rejoice that Audrey is at liberty to join in the glorious praise of heaven.  And we believe she is, with no holds barred! 

1 comment:

Debra Reid said...

Thanks Michael. It meant a lot to me to read this lovely and so appropriate tribute.