Annice Olive Rose Bourke, widow of Father Philip Bourke, died at her home at Blackheath, on 12 July 2009 aged 88 years.
Annice Barlow was born at Kidderminster, on 6 February 1921. She was the eldest daughter of William Frederick and Rosanna (née Ward) Barlow. Two further siblings followed, Nellie (1922) and Lionel (1925). Educated at the New Meeting House School and Kidderminster High School, she matriculated in July 1937. In 1939 she met Desmond Bourke, a young officer with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was stationed in Kidderminster. They remained in touch throughout the war until he returned to civilian life at the end of 1945 and, having fallen in love at an early stage, she waited for him faithfully.
On 20 March 1948 Annice and Desmond were married and set up home in a flat at 7 West Grove overlooking Blackheath. In 1940 she joined the Civil Service. The Barlows were not a well-off family so they knew that if they wanted something they would have to work for it. In 1954 she passed her Advanced level General Certificate of Education in English Economic History, Economics and British Constitution, which qualified her for admission to the London School of Economics (University of London), from which she graduated with a B.Sc. (Economics) in 1959. In December 1961 she purchased the house in 22 Broad Walk, Blackheath, which was to be their home for the rest of their life. Annice’s promotions within the staff of the Air Ministry and her achievement in studying for and obtaining her degree were not inconsiderable achievements in an era when women had to struggle hard to make their mark in the world. So – in those days before sexual-equality legislation or women-only lists – we can be sure that those who did reach their goals, did so solely through hard work and undoubted ability. From March 1966 to March 1968 she was one of the three civilians and the only woman assigned by the Ministry of Defence (Air) to work on the F111 project at Fort Worth, Texas. The F111 were all-weather attack aircraft capable of low-level penetration of enemy defences to deliver ordnance on the target. They first came into production in July 1967 and remained in service with the USAF until 1998. Annice’s secondment, to work for two years in the USA, was a mark of her superiors’ high regard for her accomplishments. In April 1978 she transferred to the Parliamentary Commission for Adminstration, where she remained until her retirement in June 1981.
Yet Annice’s civil service career never stopped her from her personal commitment to her friends, family and neighbours. If at times her organisational skills somewhat overwhelmed those to whom they were directed who were jollied along with her own brand of no-nonsense, practical, common-sense; the motive was always a desire to be of service, to give of her best, to be useful. Her undoubted abilities and remarkable energy were placed at the disposal of others with selfless dedication. Her brother, Lionel Barlow, who had lived at home with his mother until she suffered a stroke and then with his elder sister, moved to London early in 1971. Whilst he lived in his own flat near to his sister, she and Desmond kept a motherly watch over him. When, early in 1984 he began showing symptoms of what turned out to be the early onset of dementia, Annice took charge of his medical care and arranged his early retirement from the civil service. By 1986 he was in permanent psychiatric care and developed terminal cancer, from which he died in 1987.
In 1976 Desmond was received into the Orthodox Church and was ordained as a deacon serving at the former Blackheath Parish, eventually being ordained as a priest with the name of Father Philip in November 1979 at the hands of Metropolitan Seraphim. He was to serve for the next fourteen years as the parish priest, overseeing the transfer of worship to Charlton in May 1989. He continued faithfully although his health was failing and he suffered a heart attack during a serious surgical operation in November 1992. He finally retired as parish priest on his seventy-fifth birthday in April 1993 and was elevated to the position of Hegoumenos on 25 July 1994.
Annice also came from a family with a strong Christian tradition from which she never wavered. Brought up a Baptist, her family and social life centred on the Church so it is not surprising that she and Desmond first met at a church tennis club. When he made the decision to become Orthodox and to be ordained, it was primarily her loyalty and support for him that led her to become Orthodox too. Throughout his ministry she was a constant and faithful prop, insisting that time was set aside each week to prepare his Sunday homily, organising the annual Christmas tea party and sharing in the practical pastoral care for members of the congregation who were not so fortunately placed and visiting church members when they were in hospital. For many years Annice personally paid for and provided the wine, charcoal and incense and any other necessities for the Charlton Parish.
Her tireless support Father Philip as we knew him throughout their fifty-seven years of marriage was illustrated by her loving care for him as his health gradually declined. Through her energy and resolution they were still able to take foreign holidays together which would otherwise have been impossible for him, thus maintaining a precious quality of life, which would otherwise have been impossible. Well into her eighth decade Annice was not only looking after her neighbour’s garden as well as her own and when death carried off a neighbour, she was ready at hand to assist with the practical funeral arrangements.
When Father Philip died on 25 January 2005 she brought her organisational skills to good effect in sorting out his affairs but she felt his loss keenly. Her life lost its purpose and her decline – both physical and mental – accelerated. For a time she accompanied Abba Seraphim to ecumenical services and meetings in London, but her increasing deafness (from which she had suffered from childhood) sometimes made it difficult for her to engage. Although she became confused and anxious – which left her vulnerable and obsessed with imagined problems – and her deafness increased her isolation, she nevertheless maintained a strong personal dignity and was fiercely independent, scorning doctors and social workers. Before her husband’s death they had considered moving into sheltered housing, but nothing they saw measured up to her exacting standards. She loved their home in Broad Walk and was immensely proud that she had bought it herself from the fruits of her hard work “I want to die in my own home” was a constant refrain and although she was alone when Death came, her wish was granted. She knew her powers were failing and was prepared for death. Indeed she had started annotating her address book to indicate who should be notified of her death. Even here her dry humour shows through, “Better notify Saga or you will be buried with paper” and near the end, “I’ll try to get a new diary before I peg out!”
Annice Bourke was a woman of strong character and principals. Once she put her hand to the plough, there was no turning back. She delighted in being of service and she gave of her best without reserve. She loved her work, she was fiercely patriotic and saw her role as a civil servant as a duty to her country, which she discharged to the full. Whether it was the Baptist Church in Kidderminster, the British Orthodox Church at Charlton or the Girls’ Venture Corps, she was always ready to volunteer to be of practical help and support. Yet beneath the bustle and organisation there was considerable kindness and generosity. Her enormous energy was at the disposal of those around her and she was never happier than undertaking whatever was asked of her and doing it with drive and efficiency.
Dorothy Eugenie Whitfield, died at Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, 14 September 2009 aged 88 years.
Known as “Peggy” by her family, Dorothy Eugenie was the daughter of Eugene Bagot Hatherly (1860-1935) and his second wife, Nellie Isabel Bloggs (1882-1943). She was born at Wallasey in Cheshire on 26 June 1921. Her father, Eugene, was the fourth son of Protopresbyter Stephen Hatherly (1827-1905), the first Englishman to be ordained as a priest in the Greek Orthodox Church. Having been born and educated in Liverpool, where his father had founded the Greek Seamen’s Church, Eugene worked as a ship-owner’s clerk and as a foreign correspondent. There were no children from his first marriage to Cora Florence Cooper (married at Birkenhead in 1896) but from his second marriage to Nellie Isabel Bloggs (1882-1943) he had the one daughter.
While still a youngster, the family moved to London, but it proved a difficult time. Eugene died unexpectedly in 1935 at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital where he was having a rodent ulcer removed. As there had been a recent outbreak of diphtheria he was vaccinated but died from anaphalactic shock. The family was under financial pressure at the time as Eugene’s wife suffered from thyroid problems, which were then poorly understood and believed to be symptoms of mental abnormality. Shortly before his death Eugene had taken one of his father’s fine ikons with a commemorative inscription to an art dealer to be restored, but as on-one knew where he had taken it, it was lost to the family. Peggy was only fourteen at the time but was left with a sick mother and her father’s debts, partly incurred for medical bills. This necessitated selling their two properties in Anerley Hill, South-east London and she passed from relation to relation.
Her first job with Ingersolls, but she worked as a cashier in the Army & Navy Stores. At the outbreak of she secured a very responsible job in the War Office involved in helping prisoners of war and their families. She had begun to feel a call to missionary work and decided that this could best be fulfilled through nursing. She then embarked on seven years of training, serving as a theatre nurse at East Grinstead Hospital, where reco0nstructive surgery was being pioneered. She then worked for a while as a District Midwife in Uckfield, East Sussex. Thus fully qualified she was accepted as a medical missionary under the auspices of the Universities Mission to Central Africa, later to become the USPG (c.1857–1965) a missionary society established by members of the Anglican Church within the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and Dublin. It was the first such society to be founded by the “high Anglican” branch of the church, and the first to devolve authority to a bishop in the field rather than to a home committee. It had been founded in response to a plea by David Livingstone and established the mission stations that grew to be the bishoprics of Zanzibar and Nyasaland (later Malawi), and pioneered the training of black African priests.
From 1955 Peggy was in charge of a small mission hospital, St. Luke’s, at Msoro Mission station in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Here she met David Charles Whitfield, who had worked for two years in the Lay Administration. They returned to England and were married at Skelton in Cleveland on 28 May 1970. In 1971 they settled in Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria, moving to Crackenthorpe in 1974 and returning to Appleby in 1997.
It was only in her retirement that Dorothy became interested in learning more about her grandfather’s ministry and established contact with Abba Seraphim, who was able to enlighten her about his history. She was delighted to learn that the British Orthodox now owned and maintained her grandparents’ grave in Bournemouth.
The Right Rev’d Dr. Eric Waldram Kemp, former Anglican Bishop of Chichester, died on 28 November 2009 aged 94 years.
Eric Kemp was born at Waltham, Lincolnshire, on 27 April 1915 and educated at Brigg Grammar School and Exeter College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. Originally intending to follow a legal career, he entered St. Stephen’s House, Oxford, to train for the Anglican ministry. He served as curate of St. Luke’s, Southampton, until it suffered damage during the war; before joining the staff of the well known Anglican Catholic centre, Pusey House, at Oxford. In 1943 he became chaplain of St. John’s College and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, later moving to Exeter College as Fellow, Chaplain and lecturer in Medieval History and Theology. As an authority on canon law he served for a number of years as a proctor for Oxford to the Convocation of Canterbury. He was appointed Dean of Worcester Cathedral 1969-1974 before being consecrated as Bishop of Chichester in 1974.
His years at Chichester coincided with the General Synod’s decision to ordain women to the priesthood, of which he was an opponent and he found himself both praised and criticised for his staunch defence of the Anglo-Catholic position. In 1975 a rule requiring bishops to retire at seventy was introduced by the General Synod, but as Bishop Eric was already in position he was exempt from it and continued in office until 2001, when he was a spritely eighty-six, before doing so. The significant was noted in the funeral address by the Very Reverend Richard Eyre:
“But of course, a watershed came with the decision of the General Synod that women could be ordained to the priesthood. Eric had found support in the Church’s tradition for the making of women deacons, but his historical understanding and his ecumenical concern made him a firm , even passionate, opponent of the priesting of women. Nevertheless, within the limits imposed by this, he made every effort to deal justly with the issue and with those who held different views from his own. If neither he nor his suffragans ordained women as priests, it was not impossible for women priests to function and hold office in the diocese. At the same time he was looked to as the figure amongst the bishops to give lead and encouragement to those opposed to the priesting of women. It was the consciousness of his role in this matter which was beyond doubt chiefly responsible for his decision to prolong his tenure of the see of Chichester far beyond the limit which had become mandatory after the date of his consecration. No doubt also he felt that having waited so long, he would wish to exercise an episcopate of more than eleven years, buttressed by the fact that his powers of work and concentration were still those of a much younger man.”
He was in the best tradition of Anglican scholar bishops and was a warm and kindly pastor in spite of his shyness and many priests came to love and appreciate him. In 1993 he responded to a request by Abba Seraphim for a suitable place of worship in West Sussex, by offering him the use of Trotton Church near Petersfield, which hosted Orthodox worship for some fifteen years.
Archpriest Michael Claude Harper, formerly Dean of the British Antiochian Orthodox Deanery, died on 7 January 2010 aged 78 years.
He was born into a nominally Anglican family in 1931, his father being an entrepreneur at Smithfield Market selling produce to shipping companies and shops; whilst his Irish mother worked as a beautician with Elizabeth Arden. He and his three sisters living in Welbeck Street and worshipped at St. Mark’s, North Audley Street. They were strongly influenced by their evangelical nanny who took him to a lot of Baptist churches and encouraged his prayer life. He was educated at St. Faith’s at Cambridge under the headmastership of W.G. Butler, until they were evacuated to Devon, then Gresham School followed by a scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he initially read law. Although a committed member of the Christian Union he underwent a conversion experience during the eucharist in King’s College Chapel and followed this by theological training at Ridley Hall when Cyril Bowles was Principal. He and Jeanne met at an Inter-Varsity Fellowship to Norwich in 1951, when she was C.U. Secretary at the Royal Academy of Music.
After ordination as a deacon in 1955 and priest in 1956 he served as curate at St. Barnabas, Clapham Common, under Canon Reg Bazirre, who’d served as a missionary in China, before becoming one of John Stott’s curate at All Souls, Lang ham Place, where for six years (1958-1964) his special responsibility was for the commercial world and shops in the parish. In 1962 he became one of the leading Anglican figures in the charismatic revival and went on to work as General Secretary (1964-1972) and Director (1972-75) of the Fountain Trust, an ecumenical agency formed to the renewal. Although this widened his ecumenical experience it didn’t bring him into contact with Orthodoxy until 1975. He became honorary curate of Holy Trinity, Hounslow (1975-1980). In 1980 the Fountain Truist was voluntarily wound-up and the Harpers moved to Haywards Heath, where he was licensed to officiate in the diocese of Chichester and in 1984 made a Canon and Prebendary of Chichester Cathedral in 1984. In 1984 he became Executive Director of SOMA (Sharing Ministries Abroad), an Anglican based mission agency with a charismatic and evangelical approach. Over the next few years he encountered Fr. Peter Gilquist and visited Orthodox communities in Cyprus, Egypt, Jerusalem and Finland but his attraction to Orthodoxy came quite late. The issue of the ordination of women as priests and the general liberal drift in Anglicanism revealed Orthodoxy as a serious option and in 1993 he became Chairman of Pilgrimage to Orthodoxy.
In 1995 the Antiochian Patriarchate established the British Antiochian Orthodox Deanery under Bishop (after 2000, Metropolitan) Gabriel Saliby (1925-2007), Patriarchal Vicar for Western Europe. Michael Harper was the first to be received and re-ordained and was appointed Dean. At the outset there were nine parishes. In 2002 he became a director of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge. Elevated to the rank of Archpriest on 24 September 2005, during the Deanery’s tenth anniversary celebrations. Ill health led to his resignation as Dean shortly before his death, by which time there were fourteen parishes and eight missions.
He was the author of a number of books about the Charismatic Renewal and later Orthodoxy: As at the beginning: The Twentieth century Pentecostal revival (1965); Spiritual Warfare (1970); None Can Guess (1971); Walk in the Spirit (1968); Glory in the Church: A guidebook to Christian renewal: Advent to Whitsunday (1974); A New Way of Living … How the Church of the Redeemer, Houston, found a new life-style (1973); Let My People Grow (1977); Power for the Body of Christ (1981); The True Light (1997); Equal and Different: Male and Female in Church and Family (1997) and A Faith Fulfilled (1999).
The funeral took place at St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in London on 14 January. Father Simon Smyth attended as representative of Abba Seraphim, who was in India, whilst Father Peter Farrington attended as the Secretary of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches.