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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following story contains images of deceased persons.

The daily news about COVID-19 is a current reminder of our mortality, and that life is finite. Recently we (Bishop Mark and Monica Short) have said goodbye to several precious friends who have enriched our lives. Like many other people, one of our traditions, when someone dear passes, is to reflect on what they have spoken into our lives. At the time of writing this, three more friends have been promoted to glory.

Isabel Bennett

Isabel Bennett. Photo provided by Lloyd Bennett. Used with permission.

Isabel Bennett (1940-2020). Isabel grew up in a Christian family, attended her local church, was a school teacher and married her wonderful childhood sweetheart The Reverend Lloyd Bennett. Isabel and Lloyd own a residence in the Snowy Mountains. Isabel deeply loved Jindabyne and its local church. Isabel repeatedly shared stories with us about the local church, the people there, the landscape, its history and was excited about the town and church’s future. She desired for everyone there to know Jesus. Additionally, Isabel was gentle and patient – always making us feel loved. She constantly had our beautiful Diocese’s best interests in her heart.

Doug Orr

Doug Orr. Photo provided by Frances Orr. Used with permission.

Doug Orr (1944-2020). Doug attended his local church, had several careers including being a successful CEO and married his delightful childhood sweetheart Frances. Rural churches were one of Doug’s heartbeats. Doug and Frances skilfully coordinated the Bush Church Aid nomads and loved rural Australia. Doug and Frances organised for the nomads to have a gathering in Junee, part of which was to minister to the local Anglican church there. In our conversations at the time about this conference, we repeatedly noticed Doug’s godly gentleness and patience with us. Doug always made us feel loved. Doug wanted the absolute best for Junee Anglican church. He especially wanted to support the local minister and family.

Rob Grinton

Rob Grinton. Photo provided by Mavis Grinton. Used with permission.

Rob Grinton (1931-2020) attended his local Anglican church in Turvey Park and was a highlyskilled electrician. He married the love of his life the wonderful Mavis Grinton. Rob loved South Wagga Wagga Anglican Church and faithfully cared for this church for decades. We remember talking to Rob regularly such as while he sat patiently and watched concrete dry at the church so that it was not damaged by human hand or by an animal. In these moments, Rob narrated with warmth in his eyes and a cheeky smile the history of the church to us. Rob too was always patient and gentle with us, and in practical ways continually ensured our well-being when we were living in Wagga Wagga. Rob made us feel loved. Rob wanted the local Anglican church to grow and for everyone to know Jesus, flourish and be happy.

The local rural Anglican church is the reason we know and treasure Isabel, Doug and Rob. Isabel, Doug and Rob helped us understand how the local church is wonderful and worth working hard for – warts and all. They showed us what it is like to feel Christian love and how to share this love through God’s church. We (Mark and Monica) pray that we will emulate Isabel, Doug and Rob’s example of loving God, loving His church and loving our neighbours. May God bless the families of Isabel, Doug and Rob.

by Bishop Mark and Monica Short

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