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Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh

Sunday Services at 10 am and 11.30 am

Letter from the Manse

October 2017

Dear Friends

In such a short space of time, as a family we received the news that my Dad, who had been reasonably healthy and fit, had bone cancer and was told by the medics to think in terms of weeks rather than months. This came as a shock to our whole family. Dad died four weeks and one day after that diagnosis. To someone who was mentally very alert and whose memory was good, what do you say in such circumstances?

Dad’s way was simply to accept the reality of the situation and just move on. My father was always a fixer. He mended our broken toys and was great around the house repairing things. When he became ill I thought that this was one situation he could not mend or fix. And yet in his own way he did! He took time with each of his family and prepared us for his dying. These last few weeks in many ways were the best of times but also the worst of times.

Dad was an elder in his local church and faith was important to him. He was a shy man and not one who spoke easily about spiritual matters and yet he did not have to. He simply lived his faith in a quiet and unassuming way. Both my parents have been highly supportive of my ministry and have always been there, especially through life’s difficult times. Dad’s own minister was on leave due to his own father’s death. We asked if we could take the service. With three ministers in our family we were more than able to do so! That pleased my Mum.

It is at these times in life we rediscover what really matters and what is important. Looking at the question of paying taxes last Sunday, I said, ‘In the questions about paying our taxes in the Gospel; this teaching of Jesus is not merely about paying a utility bill. It is a revelation of the way in which the unimportant things of Caesar can invade our lives to the extent that we exclude the all-important things of God.’

Over these last few weeks, as a family, we have been so appreciative of the support and love we have found from all of our church families, not least Richmond Craigmillar and Duddingston. I know that my mother has asked me to pass on to the congregation her gratitude to you, for the prayers of support, cards and flowers. Liz and I thank all of you.

Rev Dr Jim Jack