From the Cathedral: Vale - Jeffrey Michael Langdon Parsons
On Thursday 16 July some eighty people came to the Cathedral for a Requiem Eucharist commending to God, Jeffrey Michael Langdon Parsons, Dean of Hobart 1980-1983, whose death came the preceding week after a two-year battle with cancer.
Jeffrey was sixty-three when he died, younger than the four surviving holders of the office of Dean of Hobart, past and present.
The eulogy was given by Dan McNeill who gave an outline of Jeffrey's life and career from his birth in Adelaide; priestly training at St John's College, Morpeth during the wardenship of Robert Davies; study in Wales and his appointments, and especially his exemplary chaplaincy at St Michael's Collegiate School, to which Dan had appointed him.
Jeffrey came to the Cathedral when much of the church in both its Anglican and Roman Catholic manifestations was moving to a renewal of life through a renewal of liturgy. The great Anglican tradition from the Reformation was for its liturgical life to be the expression of faith, to use the words of the Book of Common Prayer, 'in such a language and order as is most easy and plain for the understanding both of the readers and hearers', and not just the acculturated few. Revisions of the Prayer Book and the inclusiveness of the assembled people around a nave altar (rather than the candlelit end of a tunnel) were the outcomes of this thought and practice which became widespread in the 1970s.
In his recent Pentecost sermon at Pusey House, Oxford, the Archbishop of York (David Hope) said that the early Christians were characterised by 'kindness, forbearance, long-suffering'. Many may recall the kindness, decency, acceptance and infectious optimism of Jeffrey Parsons. His gifts of ministry with children are recalled fondly by many at the Cathedral, as they are from St Michael's Collegiate School and Cranbrook School, Sydney (where he also served as Deputy Headmaster).
Jeffrey's Deanship was brief but his personality has unforgettably enriched the lives of many. After many difficulties and setbacks throughout his life, and not only in his health, Jeffrey Parsons rests in peace; may perpetual light shine on him and the sustaining love of his Lord be with his wife Marjorie, sons Scott and Tim and their families.
By Stuart Blackler