Page 4 - Moravian Messenger July 2019
P. 4

Michael John Rea Obituary 25 October 1934 - 16 May 2019
Michael John Rea, known to many as Mick or Mike, but to me he was always Michael. Br Tony Harvey presented this wonderful (abridged) tribute to him at his funeral, bringing to life a wonderful man who I have known and loved since 1979.
Mick was born 25 October 1934, older brother to Brian, with father Les and mother Lillian. Mick went to Long Eaton Grammar School and there met Janet Smith who lived in Long Eaton. They were married at Long Eaton Methodist Church in 1956 and they took up residency in 'Hillside', Ockbrook.
Apart from Janet there were two things in Mick's life which consumed him; his work and his church. Mick pursued a path in engineering, studying at Derby Tech and later employed by Celanese in Spondon which became Courtaulds and began a career working in machine shops, the drawing office and progressively into the world of textile engineering. He then took a post at Slack and Parr in Kegworth and ultimately became a director. His work took him to Sweden, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and India.
Mick and Janet worked with children and set up a youth fellowship for teenagers called Meeting Point. They did many things; pushing a bed around Ockbrook and Borrowash to advertise the church garden party; bowling, cinema, ice- skating, midnight hikes, Harvest Suppers, even a sponsored walk to help purchase a tractor for Kudjugalo in Tanzania.
An opportunity opened as the Church introduced what was then called the Supplementary Ministry, now non- stipendiary. Mick was accepted and ordained in 1974 and accepted a call to serve the Priors Marston congregation. Each Friday, Mick and Janet would pack their car with everything needed (including the cat) and drive down to take services, run Sunday School, visit members in the village and those in hospital in places like Banbury, Rugby and Coventry. Mick and Janet served Priors Marston from 1974 right up to its closure in 2003. Along the way Woodford and Eydon were added and then Mick's final call was to Leicester.
found himself doing things which his previous hectic schedule had made difficult; more short breaks away from home definitely did him good. It seemed that Kathy was someone he would actually listen to and take some advice from. But sadly his health declined.
In his final days in hospital his last words to me, as we shook hands, were, 'Be Strong'. I loved him dearly, but Michael Rea could be an infuriating man. If things weren't perfect then they had to be made perfect. He was an avid hoarder and took 'Don't throw that away, there might be a use for it', to a new level. But I would like to think that if someone were standing at my funeral and if that person were to say, 'You know, he was a bit like Michael Rea', I would be immensely
proud. Br Tony Harvey For me, Michael was the one who brought
me to faith, through his love of nature and the created world and he helped to show me how my life could be transformed by the unconditional love of Christ. He and Janet nurtured me through my faith journey to the point where, 30 years on, I discussed with him my sense of call. His encouragement and wisdom remain with me now and it was a great joy to me that he was present at my consecration in March. In 2013 he offered me the opportunity to travel with him to one of his favourite places, India, and I have wonderful memories of sharing this experience with him, visiting Rajpur and many of the places he had travelled to for his work. Many may think of Michael as a very serious person, but to me he was a father, a colleague and a mentor for 40 years and two things will always remain with me; his wonderful dry sense of humour and his sense of caring for the least and the lost and those he chose to call family.
Sr Jane Dixon
Minister of Lower Wyke and Wellhouse Congregations
Mick continued as a director of a company, travelling abroad, whilst serving congregations some sixty miles away. Mick also served on the Finance Committee for many years, on the Provincial Youth and other committees. Mick and Janet were also on Summer School staff for several years. He was active in local ecumenical groups, pioneering the Christian Fellowship in the villages of Ockbrook and Borrowash and was also a magistrate.
In his sixties Mick set up his own consultancy business and found preaching appointments in the South Derbyshire Methodist circuit and assisted at the Methodist Church in Ticknall. In Ockbrook, he took on the work of property steward for the congregation and Unitas property agent on the Settlement. He fell ill in Spain requiring surgery to his heart on his return. He slowly recovered but sadly Janet was diagnosed with a liver condition and after a hard-fought battle Janet died in 2009. Mick was determined to carry on anything that he and Janet had been involved with: the luncheon club that had been running in Ockbrook and Borrowash for many years and lifts for the Women's Fellowship. After some time, he found companionship with Kathy and a relationship blossomed and Mick
© Sr Jane Dixon

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