Thanksgiving Eucharist

Bishop Oliver Spencer Heyward

A Thanksgiving Eucharist was held at St Stephen's Church, Richmond, Victoria, on 18 December, 2003 for the life of Bishop Oliver Spencer Heyward, a man who had given so much to the Australian Church in many ways.

Bishop Philip Huggins, the Rector of the Parish Church of St Stephen's Richmond, where Bishop Oliver and his wife Peggy have worshipped for many years since living in the parish, conducted the service which was attended by many retired and active bishops and clergy as well as laity from many parts of the country.

Sons Mark and Peter Heyward read the first lesson from 1 Corinthians 13, and the second reading by Anna, Elle and Madeleine Heyward was part of a booklet written last year by Bishop Oliver particularly for his four adult grandchildren, helping them to make sense of the Christian faith. (This booklet has been published by the local parish). The Gospel of St John chapter 14:1-6 was read by Fr Des Benfield.

Nicholas, the eldest son, in his eulogy thought back on the photos on the fridge in his parents' home, reminding us of the various stages of their lives; remembering the many moves from rectories at Sorell and Richmond in Tasmania; to Christ Collge, Hobart; to Bishopscourt, Bendigo, and the growing up of the four boys, and the wonderful guidance their father had given them through this time.

Andrew Curnow, Bishop of Bendigo, and Bishop John Stewart led us in the prayers. Bishop Keith Rayner, former Primate, preached the sermon, referring to Bishop Oliver's many interests outside the Anglican Church, and the contribution he had made to ecumenical relationships, as well as to the Anglican Church. Bishop Oliver had also been Assistant to the Primate for some years.

Music during the Communion was provided by members of Bishop Oliver's family and St Stephen's congregation. Following the Committal and Final Blessing pronounced by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Peter Watson, bishops and clergy formed a guard of honour along the path.

I considered it an honour and a privilege to be present at this service, as our friendship with Bishop Oliver and his wife, Peggy and family go back to his first Parish of Sorell when my husband, Des, and I lived in that Parish. That friendship carried on through the years.

By Barbara Briggs

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