Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Beverley Ruddock (1947-2007)

Beverley Ruddock’s funeral today at Binfield Parish Church. She died terribly suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Beverley was the Chair of the Diocesan Council for Racial Justice, an educational psychologist with a special interest in Children with learning difficulties. Comng here from Jamaica in 1965, her professional career began in nursing before education. She was a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Berkshire. She was a canny and perceptive selector for Clergy and other vocations.

In a very full church, many kind and true things were said about Beverley — about her strong sense of justice, her refusal to give up on people or issues that affected people, her kindness and wide smile, courage and integrity. All I can add is that she also made a mean spicy chicken, that stole the show at this year’s Racial Justice barbecue here.

I hope the very inspiring service left me a little more committed to clarity and honesty about injustice in all its forms, less accommodating to bullying and pretence about real world issues, within or beyond the Church.

Bishop Richard Harries brought a poem to share, characteristically spot on.
Into the Hour by Elizabeth Jennings [from Recoveries (1964)]
was written whilst recovering from a breakdown, and talks of loss and grief,
and the journey towards wholeness through hope:
I have come into the hour of a white healing.
Grief's surgery is over and I wear

The scar of my remorse and of my feeling.

I have come into a sudden sunlit hour
When ghosts are scared to comers. I have come

Into the time when grief begins to flower

Into a new love. It had filled my room

Long before I recognised it. Now
I speak its name.
Grief finds its good way home.

The apple-blossom's handsome on the bough

And Paradise spreads round. I touch its grass.

I want to celebrate but don't know how.

I need not speak though everyone I pass

Stares at me kindly. I would put my hand

Into their hands. Now I have lost my loss

In some way I may later understand.

I hear the singing of the summer grass.

And love, I find, has no considered end,

Nor is it subject to the wilderness

Which follows death. I am not traitor to

A person or a memory. I trace

Behind that love another which is running

Around, ahead. I need not ask its meaning.

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