Pilgrimpace's Blog

john hull
August 19, 2015, 6:58 pm
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A couple of days ago I went to the Funeral of my friend John Hull.

Here are a scattering of memories and reflections in tribute.


Over the last couple of decades, John has been a real friend and someone who has pushed my thinking and my action.  I first met him when I was a new Curate.  One of the first things I had to do was help develop and run a Confirmation Course; it had to be good – two of John’s boys were on it; we were teaching the children of the Professor of Religious Education.  Since then, we have met regularly for lunches where we have drunk red wine, laughed outrageously, asked very good and penetrating questions, put work and plans under scrutiny.  John helped me a lot when I was asked to be Chaplain with Deaf People and I was new and trying not to blunder too much as a hearing person in the Deaf world.  Since then he has been a real ally, someone I could think with in relation to work in estate churches, someone who embodied critical solidarity.

There is a very good factual obituary of John here.  My friend Keith Hebden gives a characteristically passionate one here.  His books What Prevents Christian Adults from Learning?, Touching the Rock and Towards the Prophetic Church are ones I return to and nourish me.  If you haven’t read them, please do.

It was a big Funeral – fittingly, there was a long queue to get in.

Words and phrases and stories fill my mind:

the place of encounter is holy ground

blaspheming the Money-God

the story of him and his brother learning to swear, taught by a parrot in a cage outside the pub which they poked into action


At the end of the Service, Marilyn gave us each a card. It had a picture of the Cross at Queens Foundation covered in snow with John’s favourite poem (wish I’d talked poetry with him):

Now i lay(with everywhere around)
me(the great dim deep sound
of rain;and of always and of nowhere)and
what a gently welcoming darkestness–

now i lay me down(in a most steep
more than music)feeling that sunlight is
(life and day are)only loaned:whereas
night is given(night and death and the rain

are given;and given is how beautifully snow)

now i lay me down to dream of(nothing
i or any somebody or you
can begin to begin to imagine)

something which nobody may keep.
now i lay me down to dream of Spring

-ee cummings

Go well John. Buen Camino!

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Reblogged this on Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings and commented:
Back in 1988 I was ordained a minister in the Church of England in Birmingham, England. The very next day I attended a meeting of clergy from parishes in the city centre and the speaker was the Dean of Education at Birmingham University, Professor John Hull. He spoke of a meeting between the University Vice Chancellor and the Faculty Deans. He told us that the Vice Chancellor had informed the Deans that the only word in the University that had any meaning any longer was money. On the way out of the meeting a colleague took him aside. “You’re a Christian,” he said. “I want to come to church with you this Sunday. After that meeting I feel dirty.” For the rest of his life John made sure that people would know that a witness to Christ meant a denial of the Money God.
Please read this fine appreciation of this passionate disciple of Christ. Delight too in the wonderful poem by e.e cummings . Rest in peace, John, and Rise in glory.

Comment by stephencwinter

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