Remembering Stephen Hall

Remembering Stephen Hall

Yesterday I attended the thanksgiving service for the life of Stephen Hall, along with a friend from my city, Southend.

It was held at Danbury Mission, in the Chelmsford area. My first surprise was the magnificent building  (quite a change from when I last visited there forty odd years ago). The second surprise was I knew only a small number of the nearly 400 family, friends, work colleagues and fellow pilgrims that were there like me to not so much mourn Stephen’s passing but to rejoice in a life well lived. The service was a joyful occasion, providing a fitting send off to someone held in deep affection by many. Many adjectives describe Stephen e.g.: warm, encouraging, dutiful, faithful, godly, kind, funny.

I knew Stephen because of our shared interest in Counties, an organization that supports evangelists throughout England, and our attending the thrice yearly Essex Counties Support meeting, which he latterly chaired, and for a number of years he would preach at the church I attended (we were both members of Open Brethren churches (once resolutely referred to as assemblies)). Stephen was a man of many parts and whatever hat he wore he carried it off with distinction. A number gave their own tributes that confirmed this, whether family, member of his church that he helped lead, fellow volunteer in the community, work colleague. I was intrigued to learn that like me he worked for Marconi’s (different sites and our paths did not cross) as an engineer (in his case he worked for the same company all his working life). He was busy doing good outside work and especially in retirement e.g. with his large family, showing hospitality to many, his varied church involvement and his activities in the community where he served without ostentation or reward.

Over the years, I have had several encounters and exchanges with Stephen, albeit usually short, but all were positive. The last one, as I recall, was a year or so ago at a Counties Regional Support Meeting. I recall having a short, good humoured conversation concerning a share perspective that a fly on the wall witnessing this may see as strange and ironic behaviour (I won’t share what it was as I might offend someone) we have both observed first hand in our shared network of churches. My point is he was perceptive, had a lovely sense of humour, was winsome and approachable, and whatever his thoughts there was no hint of rancor or malice.  

Stephen will definitely leave a gap and we remember his family at this time. As I close, the above strange and sad verse in the Bible came to mind concerning one of the kings of Judah. The fact that some 400 people came along yesterday to pay their respects and bid farewell to Stephen Hall tells me that, unlike wicked King Jehoram, Stephen will be missed. Many attending were more in the senior citizen category and can expect the bell may well soon toll for them. But they can take heart that Stephen was definitely NOT an island and lived to bless others, an example we do well to follow.


One thought on “Remembering Stephen Hall

  1. John Simmons says:

    Thanks John.
    It was a very fitting tribute to Stephen.
    Glad I was able to be your chauffeur.
    “Your friend from Southend”

Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s