Some reflections from Annette Brooke, with contributions from many members of Broadstone Methodist Church’s congregation.
I had the great privilege to enjoy Jill's friendship and support over many years. Over this time I saw how our ‘new’ church became so much more than just an attractive building with functional rooms and I saw Jill's very special contribution to this process.
‘The first thing which you noticed about Jill was her smile and the warmth and sincerity of her welcome when you arrived for the first time at Broadstone Methodist Church. She was always aware of newcomers and was there to sit and talk with them.
Jill followed up on that welcome and became a very good friend to so many people. She listened, she was genuinely interested in all that we did and that interest extended to our own family members. She made us all feel special. As one person commented, ‘Jill was the epitome of the meaning of church family. Jill made you feel unconditionally loved as if you were a member of her own ‘family.’
Jill offered an amazing ministry of care and support - personally and by phone, keeping in touch, checking how people were, being aware of people missing from church – her pastoral role was an extension to her care of a wider circle of friends and her dear family. If she heard of any illness or misfortune affecting people -they would be on her prayer list and also supported in practical ways. She put other people first.
An integral part of Jill was the importance of her faith and her ability to share that faith with others. This was manifested in her belief in prayer and her abilities to lead others in prayer.
‘There was an aura about her and I often thought that the Holy Spirit was working in her.’
She led and inspired the inclusive, popular, Cafe Church on Sunday afternoons, participated in bible study and prayer groups. She showed interest and offered so much practical support and skills to many other activities within the church – relating to all age groups – from Broadway to Stepping Stones, from flower arranging to crafts and so much more. Jill was a very modest lady making light of her many talents. More generally, she was such good company, making us smile and laugh and certainly always very elegant in appearance.
Over the years Jill had many life threatening illnesses, but she always rose above them and came back fighting with so much energy – but perhaps sharing jobs around a little. She was very good at persuading people to take on jobs which they perhaps might not have imagined would exactly suit them!
Jill devoted her life to others.
We miss her so much. Jill won’t actually be telephoning us but as we remember what she would have done and how she would have supported us, may our future lives be guided.