I heard the news this morning that our beloved sister in the Lord, Helen Roseveare, had passed into the Lord’s closer presence. I had the privilege of knowing Helen since coming to the diocese twenty years ago, though my wife Liz remembered her as a leader in WEC camps in her youth. But Helen was the kind of person everyone felt they knew, because of her writings and inspirational stories of missionary work in the Congo.
Helen was in every way the archetypal missionary. She was warm, relational, resilient and utterly focussed on serving the Lord. In the Diocese of Down and Dromore we honoured her with a Spirit of Patrick award at a most memorable event in Down Cathedral in 2009. She was also presented with Maundy money by the Queen in Armagh Cathedral. In truth, no honour or award was more important to her than serving her Master, Jesus Christ. His glory was what mattered above all else.
Helen was a member of St Elizabeth’s Church in Dundonald, which she dearly loved. Her funeral service will be there on Tuesday at noon. She was a deeply committed evangelical, since a life–transforming conversion experience while at University. For her, faith meant transformation of life. But she was also (and I don’t exaggerate here) one of the most honest people I have ever met. She would tell of her doubts and challenges, had a real awareness of her humanity, and didn’t much like woozy sentimentality! I greatly liked that side of her. I remember her being asked to speak at ‘Summer Madness’ to thousands of young people in her latter years, in the midst of spotlights and booming music. She stepped on the stage, spoke powerfully of her experience of God and had all of them eating out of her hand!
Helen, you will be greatly missed. The world is a better place because of you. You were unique, and will be an inspiration to generations after you to live fully for the Lord to the very end.