Please see below the Homily
Each of us has a story to tell, namely, the story of our life. Everybody’s story is unique and deserves to be listened to with respect.
Sadly, all our stories end in death. The day a person dies we began to tell that person’s story. I am sure this is true for all of us here today since we heard the news of Carol’s death on 9 th April. Her life is all laid out before us, with its joys and sorrows, successes, and failures. It is like a book which is suddenly thrown open for all to read.
I have had the privilege of knowing Carol for all the time I have been here in Wakefield since 1997. At that time, she was a Reader at Ryhill, then she trained on the Wakefield Ministry Scheme, was ordained as Curate at St Paul’s Hanging Heaton. When the incumbent moved on there was demands from the parishioners for Carol to appointed as their new Vicar. The Bishop agreed and Carol stayed at Hanging Heaton until she retired. Since then she has been helping out at Thornhill and Whitley Lower.
Carol was an amazing lady from the I first met her to our last goodbye. We had very happy times together especially in the Italian Lakes and our favourite city Venice. She always put other people before herself sometimes causing great hurt to herself. She was a “What Iffer” however we always crossed the bridges and arrived! She was a super lady and I just loved being a part of her life and will miss her greatly.
I will miss my mum so much I thought that when I moved back to Ossett we would have so much more time together. My nickname for mum was Biddy and I was the only one that called her this. It started when I was 13 and she bought her self some slippers with bobbles on the front and I told her that they were Old Biddy Slippers and the name Biddy stuck. She has been so supportive over the last couple of years especially when I really did need a mum in the true sense of the word.
My earliest memory of my Grandma was her love of reading and through the years we would often share books the Harry Potter series was a particular favourite of ours and we would read them in tandem so we could talk about them with each passing chapter. I remember her trying to explain to a stubborn 12 year old me that it's pronounced Hermione and NOT Hermi-One. I definitely got my competitive streak from my Grandma!! As soon as a borard game or deck of cards came out the gloves came off and I have so many fond memories of sitting round a table laughing over how she would always win. Once there a time when there was a mix up and Grandma ended up playing to a different set of rules and playing a completely different game to the rest of us and she still won! I couldn't wait to introduce her to my now husband Matt. I knew that she would love him as much as he would love her.
A message from Matt (Carol's favourite) – I will always remember the kind support she offered from the first time we met, always willing to help and offer advice for our wedding. She was especially generous when telling Amy to share her birthday presents with me. She was fiercely competitive at cards, loved her dogs and most of all her Granddaughter. She was a very special woman who I will miss and think of daily.
In the gospel reading Mary and Martha, are distraught by the death of their dear brother Lazarus. But Jesus said to them ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live. This is the greatest statement in the Gospel. It means that Jesus holds the key to life and death. This at the heart of our Christian faith.
So today our hearts too are heavy with sadness and sorrow; we have all lost a good friend. Equally surely there must be great thankfulness and praise to God who created Carol and gave her to us. Our sympathy is with Roy and Tracey, Amy and Matt, Carol’s Sister Margaret, her brother Edward and Sister Winifred who can’t be here today. Their families, and many friends. And many others who could not be here today because of the current restrictions.
Carol has shown us and many others during her lifetime how love can be practised in ordinary, everyday ways. She was one of those generous people who find their deepest satisfaction in life in offering hospitality to other people. Those who love unselfishly become agents of God's love and providence. They also become witnesses to Christ's love and that is the most important task in the world.
I am utterly convinced, however, that Carol would not wish us to spend too much time in grief and sadness but rather celebrating and living more fully and joyfully the resurrection life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, seeking to be drawn ourselves and to draw others more deeply towards the heart of God’s eternal love, into whose safe keeping we now entrust Carol.