Memorial Service held today for the late Dr. David Jenkins
A congregation of over 500 people, including senior members of the Church of England, turned out this morning, 27 Sept 2016, to bid farewell to the former Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins.
Often described as a ‘Bishop for the Common Man’, David Jenkins was perhaps best known publicly for his outspoken views during the miners’ strikes. This solidarity with the miners and passion to fight for the rights of the working classes, earned him great popularity among local people.
His mining connections were reflected in today’s funeral service at Durham Cathedral, where the Durham Miners’ Association band (and associates) played several pieces including Gresford – the miners’ hymn, traditionally played at the funerals of miners. A guard of honour was also formed, made up of banners from local former mining communities.
The sermon was delivered by The Bishop of Ripon, The Right Reverend James Bell, who said: “David’s tireless concern was to make the reality of God and therefore the offer of hope, accessible to anyone and everyone. He was determined to interpret and apply the teaching of the New Testament – as he would say – to “ordinary pilgrims today,” in a simple and down to earth way.”
The former Bishop of Durham was described as: “courteous and critical; passionate and provocative; impatient and prophetic, full of warmth and wit and wisdom; abounding in humanity, honesty and integrity.”
The sermon also paid tribute to David as a family man – a devoted husband, loving father and cherished grandfather and great-grandfather. Bishop James quoted David’s daughter Becca, saying: “I know that whatever he was in public, my father could not have been without my mother. Together they were a formidable pair until her death in 2008.” Bishop James went on to add: “David took delight in his family and their achievements. The family was hugely important to him throughout his life and not least in these latter days.”
The service was punctuated with beautiful music provided by the Durham Cathedral Choir, including I lift up mine eyes unto the hills by Henry Walford Davies, Collegium Regale by Herbert Howells and Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Hymns during the service included Holy, Holy, Holy! And Praise to the Holiest in the height.
The service in the Cathedral was followed by a private service at Durham Crematorium. In due course, the mortal remains of David and his late wife Mollie will be interred in Durham Cathedral.