When guests become friends

Lives Shared, Lives Transformed

A few words about Barrie Renwick.

Here at Scargill we really do mean it when we say our home is your home, here you are welcome. Sometimes we meet a person once, they have a lovely stay, we serve them as best we can, and they go on their way. More often though we have the joy of welcoming our guests back through our doors time and again. And it is often this extended relationship which gives us an opportunity as Community to form deeper friendships with our guests. Barrie Renwick was one such guest and sadly when we heard the news of his death in the New Year it was only natural that we would want to be a part of his send off as we had so often had the pleasure of welcoming him.

Despite many other commitments Michyla and I were able to go to Barrie Renwick’s Thanksgiving Service last week.

It obviously was an occasion filled with sadness, and with great thanksgiving for Barrie was a lovely man who loved God.

I was given the opportunity to say a few words in tribute to Barrie, and below is what I said:

Since Scargill re-opened, back in 2010, Barrie became a regular guest. And when I say a regular guest, I mean at least 8 visits a year. We enjoyed his visits and Barrie in many ways became an extended part of our Community. I was told that he loved the silliness and fun. He enjoyed Community life and being part of it. Barrie was one for banter, and I would foolishly take him on, and often lose. Last year Scargill did a Railway week and it was to Barrie almost a heavenly combination. All we needed was some singing and a bit of cricket and it would have been totally sorted.

And talking of cricket, Bishop Chris Edmondson also wanted me to pass on his love and appreciation of Barrie: Chris having known him first as a guest at Lee Abbey (where Chris was Warden), and then Scargill, and would sometimes bump into him at cricket matches at Headingley!’ Barrie would often speak to Chris saying that Scargill and Lee Abbey were like a ‘home from home’.

Barrie was a great encourager, he often came to listen to me and generally speaking you always knew what Barrie thought or felt. Barrie and I would laugh together often.

What Barrie loved was friendship. And friends were very important to him. In that friendship he was kind and warm, and would often take a fellow guest out to visit a local attraction or tea shop, if we weren’t feeding them enough cake.

It was a privilege to know Barrie and I counted him as a friend coming back home to visit. We will miss him dearly. And of course, Barrie was not just a good friend to us, he was a friend of Jesus. He entered wholeheartedly into worship. His prayers were honest and sincere; he was open about his struggles. I am reminded of those words from Jesus that we find in John’s gospel, saying ‘I no longer call you servants but I call you friends’. Barrie and Jesus were and are good friends.  I would imagine that they are now enjoying heavenly banter together. I am not sure who will win! Perhaps Barrie has met his match.

P Stone

This was posted on 30 January 2018.

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