Page 4 - Moravian Messenger April 2018
P. 4

The man gazed from bright eyes beneath silvery brow
Through the big modern window
Over the sea swept by gentle drizzle and mist
That seemed to draw a veil over his previous life.
He wandered in his mind back nearly seventy years
To the farm at the edge of the sea on the island.
The long days walking the moors with his dogs
As he lovingly tended his sheep
Arriving home to a warm meal to share with Joan
Who had done the washing by hand and tended the garden.
Then children came - now all far flung around the globe
None staying close to their native land.
The excitement of the autumn sale still made his heart race.
Carefully chosen members of his flock guided to the first ferry crossing,
No longer a challenge due to the bridge
But back then it was slowly over the water and down the lane
To the next crossing. Then across the field, and lanes for several miles
To the final ferry. Then onwards to the town. The whole process took three days.
After the sale, necessary items to buy and always a gift for Jean and the bairns.
Then home to the welcoming fireside and Jean's bannocks
The last time had been hard and no welcome at home for Jean had passed.
The only solution was the newly built home where he arrives with
Two black bags of possessions, a treasured photograph
And memories, so many memories and none to share them with
Except the lord above.
This is a poem I wrote for Christmas. I got the idea when on holiday in Shetland. I had passed a modern old people's home and then a ruined farm that was once on an island but there are now bridges to the mainland. It may resonate with many of the readers.
Sr Claire L. Summers
(Diaspora - Cumbria)
Jennifer R. Marsland
Memorial Moravian church in St Thomas, USVI in 2000.
Back Row: Ishmael Meyers (Senior Judge of the Territory), Arthur Marsland, Al La Borde, Rev Leon Matthias (Church Minister)
Front Row: Ed LaBorde, Jennifer Marsland, Lola Richards, Mary Francis
Sunrise: November, 1940
Jennifer was born into the Moravian church in St. Thomas, USVI, where her father, Rev. Edward Lewis, was the minister at the Memorial Church. Since the mid 90s we have visited St. Thomas several times meeting some of those she grew up with and Mary Francis for whom Brother Lewis took the wedding service.
When the family of three girls and a boy returned to Britain via service in Tobago, they settled in Oldham; Mum and Dad's home town, in 1946 just in time for that notorious winter.
Jennifer began her lifetime of service when she joined the Girl Guides at secondary school. Apart from a two year break while training to be a teacher she gave much of her time to the organisation. She even went to Sangam, The Girl Guide and Girl Scout's World Centre in India, for a month as a Tare - volunteer to you and me.
After retirement her other voluntary work included Age Concern, Meals on Wheels, Books on Wheels and Barnardo's.
Her teaching career took her from a classroom in Oldham to Deputy Head in a large Manchester Girls' Comprehensive. Many of her colleagues from those days have spoken of the respect in which Jennifer was held by both teachers and pupils.
Ever the practical person Jennifer had most of her funeral arrangements in place well before she died. Early on in her illness, myeloma, she told Sister Jane Dixon what she wanted - ‘just in case’. A service of celebration was held after her cremation. All I had to do was choose a closing hymn and the music for before and after the service. The closing music was the Hallelujah Chorus played by a pan (steel) band from Tobago.
Our nephew's wedding took place in South Africa at Marica's home Church. While there we took the opportunity to visit Elim and especially the Home, where Jennifer sponsored a girl. As a result another of Jennifer's ‘celebratory’ requests was that any donations in lieu of flowers should go to Elim Home. Including a donation from Memorial - still recovering from last September's visits by Irma and Maria - the total donated in Jennifer's memory is £1,450.
A sorely missed, loved, and respected lady who faced her long and sometimes painful illness from April 2017 with grace and fortitude.
Sunset: January 2018
Br Arthur Marsland (Husband)
© Sr Gwen Meyers

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