I got the very sad news last night (Thursday night) that Ed Garton had passed away. He died of an undiagnosed hereditary heart condition which caused him to have a heart attack.
I'm still feeling shocked by the news of Ed's death. He was one of the characters around Kerith, with an incredible servant heart. Whether it was performing in The Vigil at Easter, doing building administration, welcoming or car parking on a Sunday or just being a part of our community he always lived life with his heart on his sleeve and with an incredible passion for Christ. He had a powerful personal story of how God saved him from a life of alcohol, and was always grateful for what Christ had done for him. In many ways he was a rough diamond, but one who shone brightly for Jesus.
I went to see Ed's family this afternoon. They too are shocked and grieving at the loss of Ed, especially as Ed's mum Brenda only passed away a couple of weeks ago. However, they also reflected on what God had done in recent months in the relationship between Brenda and Ed. Few of us could forget Brenda being baptised at The Kerith Centre a couple of months ago, despite her advanced cancer, and the family spoke with pride about how Ed personally planned, spoke at and sang at her funeral service. Please be praying for Ed's dad, Daniel, and his sisters and the rest of the family as they come to terms with their loss. Also for the many people in our community who counted Ed as a friend.
The family said that in many ways Kerith had become Ed's family. They would very much like him to have a 'Kerith style' committal service and thanksgiving in Bracknell, which we will now start to plan. We will let everyone know the details as soon as we've got times and dates, hopefully early next week.
Let's remember that Ed has gone to a (much, much) better place - death has indeed lost it's sting. Hope to catch you on Sunday.