Sunday, 31 May 2015
From Bermondsey to Freetown
Today simultaneous services of thanksgiving were held in St Mark's, Freetown, Sierra Leone and in St Anne's, here in Bermondsey, for the life of Irene Tunike Archibald.
Sierra Leonean Christians hold such services 40 days after the death, taking their cue from the ascension of Jesus which took place 40 days after the resurrection.
So today, 40 days after she died, Irene was commemorated this afternoon at St Anne's (where some of her UK family are members) and at St Mark's, Freetown, where she herself was a member.
In Bermondsey we sung The Lord's My Shepherd, Ten Thousand Reasons, Blessed Assurance, When Peace like a River, and My hope is built in nothing less; her family brought tributes, God's word was read, Paul preached and I led the prayers - and following it all was a sumptuous feast of delicious Sierra Leonean food (see below) in St Anne's Hall.
Bereavement's always hard, but its tougher still when you live half a world away from the person who died, so it was good that the UK branch of Irene's family could be joined spiritually this afternoon with the African branch, even if, physically, a whole ocean separated them.