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by Rosalind Lund
from Signs of the Times, No. 37 - Apr 2010
My mother, Christina, and I have been much moved and touched by the tributes to my father expressed in Signs of the Times and elsewhere. However, I feel I must put a couple of things straight.
My grandparents, Mary and Herbert Pettit (Christina's parents), joined MCU during the 1920s. They were both brought up Congregationalist, but on moving to the village of Boughton in Northamptonshire following their marriage in 1918, they became active members of their local parish church. My grandmother served on the PCC and my grandfather sang in the choir, regularly read the Lesson and was Churchwarden for many years. MCU gave them an opportunity to engage with their faith on an intellectual level which informed their lives and ministry.
My mother and father started going to conferences during the 1960s when my grandmother became too frail to continue going, in order to accompany my grandfather. I went to my first conference in 1967 and was excited by the opportunity to hear lectures which were academically demanding - I even considered reading Theology at university. But my father said theology is something that can be done any time - "you could always take it up seriously later in life" - little did I realise then that he hoped one day to become a priest.
As Richard Truss and Nick Henderson have said so clearly, Simon delighted in his membership of the MCU and the many friends he made there. He loved the challenge of conference and I am sure it gave him a flavour of what he might expect when he finally got to theological college - he spent a year at Queen's College, Birmingham. He was also proud to serve the Union for many years on the Council and on Standing Committee as Vice Chair. It gave him enormous pleasure last year to be invited to become a Vice President of the Union which he had served for so long and in so many ways.
Simon and Christina were very sad to miss the last two conferences due to declining health - a highlight of the year for them when they looked forward to meeting old friends, make new ones and enjoy tackling the important issues in life.
Rosalind Lund is Modern Church Vice-Chair of Council.