Family News from the Vicarage

This morning I shall register my father’s death. My father was born in the Rhondda Valley in 1926, and died in nursing care yesterday. In his lifetime, he has been a father, a brother, a son, an uncle, a godfather, a father-in-law, an apprentice mould-maker, an RAF corporal, a cost-accountant, an agricultural estate manager, a Baptist minister, a parish priest. More than any of these, he was a husband. He and Barbara shared 26,754 of his 34,607 days. As their vicar said to me yesterday, “you can’t think of one without the other.” There’s an old evening collect that speaks of ‘all the day long of this troublous life’ and seventy years of marriage in the grittiness of the real world certainly was no fairy tale. However, as I reflect this morning, I am reminded of the prayers I use for a newly married couple at the end of a church wedding service. It seems to me Malcolm and Barbara lived this pilgrim way with style and integrity and humility:

Faithful God, holy and eternal, source of life and spring of love, we thank and praise you for bringing N and N to this day, and we pray for them.

Lord of life and love:
hear our prayer.

May their marriage be life-giving and life-long, enriched by your presence and strengthened by your grace; may they bring comfort and confidence to each other in faithfulness and trust.

Lord of life and love:
hear our prayer.

May the hospitality of their home bring refreshment and joy to all around them; may their love overflow to neighbours in need and embrace those in distress.

Lord of life and love:
hear our prayer.

May they discern in your word order and purpose for their lives; and may the power of your Holy Spirit lead them in truth and defend them in adversity.

Lord of life and love:
hear our prayer.

May they nurture their family with devotion, see their children grow in body, mind and spirit and come at last to the end of their lives with hearts content and in joyful anticipation of heaven.

Lord of life and love:
hear our prayer.


Well done, good and faithful servants.


  1. A lovely tribute Sarah. Our love and prayers to you , Chris and all the family in your loss. Keith and Maria

  2. Dear Sarah, So much love and sympathy. A beautiful expression of his life and what a full life.
    God bless and comfort you and your lovely brothers. Cym Rhonda!
    Jean and Roy

  3. A fine tribute to them both. I wish I had known them. Several here are praying for you and the family.
    Our love and prayers, Judy

  4. Dear Sarah, my condolences on the death of your beloved Dad to be with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing with us your reflections, the collect and the wedding prayers.

    Lots of love and God bless you and Chris, Ruth Hardman

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your brothers at this sad time.
    I too am the son of a Welshman, and your tribute reminds me so much of my own parents – you could not think of one without the other. They were married 60 years and whenever you heard the name of one of them you always expected it to be followed by the other.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing the blessing that your parents have been as individuals and as Barbara & Malcolm, a couple in Jesus. We pray the secure comfort and warmth of His abiding presence for you, Sarah.
    With love, Glenys & David.

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