Where we are and where we will be

Where we are and where we will be
The idea of Edinburgh is a combination of place, soul and symbolic leadership of a nation

Monday, 16 February 2009

A sad day filled with tears and laughter

"Since God is of Heaven and earth
how can I keep from singing?"

No politics today as more fundamental things are on my mind. I attended the funeral this afternoon of an old friend and fellow Iona Community member Rev. Richard Baxter. Famed for his ability to have a song for every moment, Richard was a man of contradictions; an ex commando who became a campaigner against trident (including getting arrested several times), an irreverent man who was deeply respectful of tradition and ritual, a brilliant singer who knew the power of silence.

He spent 15 years in Malawi, helping to fight the British Colonial attempts to create a "Central Africa Federation" out of what was then Nyasaland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Instead, Malawi was formed and Richard help create their education system. He hasd such an influence on that country that that a letter of deep sympathy was read out at the funeral written by Malawi's High Commissioner on behalf of the President Bingu Wa Mutharika.

Committed to the Ecumenical movement, Richard believed in the strength of diversity. He was a very serious man, committed to social justice in every action who was always full of fun and laughter. A talented artist he would brighten up many a boring meeting with a wee cartoon quickly sketched and passed round on a scrap of paper!

I worked with him when I was assistant minister at South Leith Parish Church. He was a massive support to me as I struggled with the strictures of church, institution and faithfulness. I owe him a great deal.

There were well over 500 people there today laughing and crying as we laid to rest a great man whom we will all miss terribly. My thoughts and prayers are with Richards wife Ray and their family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am shocked and saddened by this news. Richard was always my idea of how a Grandfather should look like; always cheerful with a lightness of spirit and nestling in the back was an absolute steel backbone of authenticity and realness. Very sad indeed.
Tom Britton

Surgery Times

1st Wed @ Piershill Library, 30 Piershill Terrace.
2nd Wed @ Craigentinny Community Centre, Loaning Rd.
3rd Wed @ Duddingston Primary School, Duddingston Rd.

All 7:15pm -7:45pm

and the last Sat. Lochend YWCA, 198 Restalrig Road South
12noon -1pm

(no appointment needed, all during school terms)
Printed and Published by Ewan Aitken on behalf of the Edinburgh Labour Party, 78 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9NH