The Very Revd Jeremy Winston, Dean of Newport Cathedral, who died after only a few weeks in office, was an “outstanding individual” who “still had so much left to do”.
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies, paid tribute to Fr Jeremy’s deep faith, hospitality and humour in his address to seven hundred hushed mourners who packed into Newport Cathedral today for a Requiem funeral service. As Fr Jeremy had requested, “The Sparrow’s Prayer”, written by Lord Hailsham, formed part of the address, words which look forward in hope and faith to a glorious life beyond death.
Fr Jeremy became ill shortly after he was installed as Dean in September this year. He died last week just as he was due to begin treatment for a brain tumour. He was 57.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, sent a personal letter to the Cathedral expressing his own shock and grief.
The Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Dominic Walker OGS, presided at the Requiem Mass which was also relayed to three hundred people gathered in St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, where Fr Jeremy was Vicar for eighteen years.
The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, was one of seven bishops among the mourners. Civic dignitaries included the Mayor of Newport, the Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, the High Sheriff of Gwent, the Lord Lieutenant for Gwent, and Lord Rowe-Beddoe of the Representative Body of the Church in Wales.
After the Commendation, the Cathedral Choir sang ‘The Souls of the Righteous’, a piece composed by Cathedral Organist, Christopher Barton, in memory of Dean Jeremy.
Then, more than a hundred clergy and lay ministers from around Wales lined the path from the west door of Newport Cathedral as Fr Jeremy’s coffin was carried out to the waiting hearse. The coffin was taken to lie overnight in St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, which will remain open into the evening for local people to pay their last respects.
In his address, Bishop John said, “Jeremy Winston – Father Jeremy to so many, Dean Jeremy for such a cruelly short time, ‘The Winston’ to some of us, Uncle Jeremy to others, but today simply Jeremy – was an outstanding individual in so many ways. He was one of the best friends and colleagues for which anyone could wish, and there is so much in his life that we prize.”
He added, “Today we are devastated. Devastated at a life cut short so swiftly, so aggressively and (without denying so many things already achieved) so wastefully.”
But, he said, Jeremy’s Christian faith gives us comfort and hope. “It’s no fairy tale, trouble-free faith which hides us from the dark things of life and death, and pretends that they’re not there. Rather, it enables us to journey and deal with things like thanks and sorrow, anticipation and anger. It enables us today to grieve, but not without hope.”
Fr Jeremy will be buried at a private service tomorrow, Thursday 1st December.
There will be a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Fr Jeremy at St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, on Saturday 21 January at 11.30am.