Following Jackie’s home-call, it was the desire of the Church at Chatteris that an encomium in memory of her should be placed on our website. We recognise the great loss that Robert has suffered, and the emotional cost too of writing this tribute to Jackie.
21ST DECEMBER 1954 – 19TH APRIL 2015
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). These famous words from the book of Proverbs have often been quoted by Christian husbands who are profoundly grateful to God for the wife to whom He has united them. But I am not ashamed to quote them here as I feel they are a fitting tribute to the Jackie I knew and loved. We were married for nearly 25 years and sometimes used to wonder what, apart from our mutual attraction to each other, brought us together, as our interests were so different. We came to the conclusion that it was our common love for the Lord which united us.
Following Jackie’s death, many have commented on her courage in the face of adversity. She experienced numerous hard knocks during her life, but whatever problems came to her, she faced them realistically and found a way of rising to each new challenge. She lost her first husband in a road accident and had to bring up two small children on her own. She suffered from ill- health for much of the time that I knew her, and, in her final years, she had to come to terms with cancer. Yet despite these difficulties, trusting in the Lord, she got on with the life He had given her, with resourcefulness and resilience. She was never reluctant to step out and do things outside of her comfort zone. Despite leaving school at 15, she relished the challenge of higher education in the form of the theological studies we both undertook from 1997 to 2000, and she graduated with a BA Hons. Despite health problems, she took up scuba diving in 2009, and thrived on the experience. Despite terminal cancer she did a skydive in 2014 to increase awareness of the disease and raise money for Addenbrooke’s Oncology Unit.
The Lord was central to Jackie’s life. No matter how hard things became, her constant desire was for fellowship with Him. She was always much saddened when she was prevented from gathering with our church family for worship on the Lord’s Day, or meeting for Bible study and prayer. She was unfailing in her support of me in the ups and downs of life in God’s service. She made up for so many of my shortcomings as a pastor, and to enable the ministry to run smoothly she undertook a variety of tasks, including some which she felt inadequate to perform. Although insistent that, for my own well-being, I took the full amount of my leave allocation, there was no carping about the time that ministry took out of our life together. The needs of the church always came first with Jackie.
Jackie has fought the good fight, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith and there is laid up for her a crown of righteousness. Although in this life I have lost a wonderful wife, and am thus irreparably diminished, I rejoice that in the life to come we will be together once more and for ever.
Pastor Robert Read
As Church members we would testify to Jackie’s many qualities that suited her to be a pastor’s wife. She was such a valuable help-meet for Robert, both as a wife, and as a support and encouragement for Robert in his pastoral rôle. She was sure of the Lord’s purpose in the establishment of an evangelical witness in Chatteris, and we would thank Him for the Church that now exists, and Jackie’s God-given skills and talents that helped in its foundation.