Saturday, 25 June 2016

Barry remembered

A few days after his death I received a letter from Barry Albin-Dyer (which he had written a year or so before) and which, along with a number of other such letters, has been stored  in the Albins safe, pending his passing.

I already knew about the letter because Barry had told me about it one day when we met for lunch.

It contained his wish for his memorial service to be held at St James's Church, where he was married and where he had had close links over the years, not least through being chair of governors at St James Primary School.

And so today, a year after his death, his family, his work colleagues and the many members of the local community who treasure the memory of 'Mr Bermondsey,' met for a service of thanksgiving in the church this morning.

We heard the story of an amazing life that had touched thousands of people in Bermondsey.

Barry's sons, Simon and Jon, spoke of 'Barry the Family Man', Greg at Albins told us about 'Barry the Guv'nor' and Sir Simon Hughes led us in thinking about 'Barry the Community Man.' And three of his young grandsons delighted the congregation with their wonderful memories of a beloved grandad.

At the end of the service Bishop Michael brought greetings from the Bishop of Southwark and gave the blessing. It was good to have him with us before his move to Lichfield.

In my address I spoke on John 14.1-6, a favourite passage of Barry's. Here Jesus speaks of the 'Father's house' and of himself being 'the way the truth and the life.' It speaks of the reality of heaven, of life after death.

It proclaims the truth that death is not the end and that Jesus is the way to the Father and to eternal life.

It brings us hope in the face of death and bereavement.

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