Lives Well Lived
As you may know my mother died last week and on Friday we have her Thanksgiving Service. Sally Wallace, very kindly, has offered to write the blog this week. Alison and I are very grateful for her reflections. Here they are:
We give thanks this week for the life of June Flowers, David's mother. Her service of remembrance and thanksgiving is this Friday 10th November, 1pm Moortown Baptist Church. At this time also Michael, David's father, has cancer, is on strong medication and is very frail.
As a church it is an important time to pray for our leaders David and Alison. In the book of Hebrews we are encouraged to 'remember our leaders' (13:7) and to pray for them (13:18). We are encouraged to consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. David and Alison are our leaders, but also this week we give thanks for June and Michael who were leaders in various churches in Leeds and led the holiday at Ashburnham for many years.
Over the past few weeks many have been sharing the influence that June and Michael had on their lives on a Facebook group. It has been incredible to read story after story of a couple faithfully serving Jesus and reflecting him in their lives. It was wonderful that David and the family were able to share some of those memories with his mother in her last days and weeks. Many people have been encouraged and challenged reading the stories. If you are getting this email, you can request access to the group and read more.
June and Michael Flowers served in Bangladesh as missionaries for over 10 years when their family of 5 children were small, returning to Leeds when David, the eldest, was 11 years old. His father became a consultant surgeon in the A&E department at Leeds General Infirmary, and his mother June taught RE for a number of years at Allerton High school. They lived in Far Headingley and then in a house opposite the Moortown Baptist Church where they helped as leaders and June was a pastoral worker. Michael and June went to some of the first UK conferences led by John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard. They then led many into an openness to the Holy Spirit and worship.
Michael and June led a church youth group and took them to Ashburnham for holidays, starting what is still the biannual holiday that many at Leeds Vineyard continue to go to. Many of those original 'youth group' still come to the Ashburnham holiday now with their children, friends and churches of their own. Michael and June led church plants from Moortown Baptist called Street Lane Fellowship and then Chapel Allerton Baptist church. They continued to support work in Bangladesh organising trips for others to see the work they remained involved in. Many of us at Leeds Vineyard have known June and Michael over their time in Leeds.
It feels to me like Michael and June are part of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12v1 that are exhorting us to throw off everything that hinders and to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. They had many talents, but they used them well, and hearing the testimony I have been giving thanks for their influence but have also been challenged to use my talents well. It is not so much about how much I have been given, or whether it is the same as their gifting, but that I honour God by using the gifts he has given me.
Why not spend some time this week giving thanks for June and Michael and praying for David and Alison and their family?