Dr. Prudence Owen. Dr. Glyn Owen became the senior minister of Knox in 1974. He was a Welshman who ministered in Ireland and England, his preaching ministry has attracted many young people who came to Christ in the counter-culture Jesus Movement, and who were longing for solid biblical teaching. The multiculturalism of early Knox once again began to be very much in evidence. Dr. Owen was greatly appreciated as a pastoral counsellor, while his loyal associate George Lowe went graciously in and out among the congregation, and in a special long-range way became a pastor to the missionaries. Dr. Owen retired in the mid-1980s. Dr. Glyn Owen died in November 2017. Pru, his faithful wife, followed him on January 25, 2020.
Cathy, the youngest grandchild of the late Prudence Owen gave this memorial at Mrs. Owen's funeral.
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
"Hello, I am Cathy, the youngest grandchild of the late Prudence Owen. I was surprised and very pleased to discover that my Uncle Trevor and I had thought of the same Bible passage when we thought of a reading for Nana today. I remember once after reading with Nana about how there will be no more suffering in heaven and trumpets will sound asking her in my silly way "Nana, do you like trumpets?" You see, Nana, humble and continually focused on others, never liked to answer questions about herself, so I would often teasingly pry. She, after respectfully pondering this trumpet sounding as if it I'd posed a reasonable question, nodded, half-smiled and answered with the understated enthusiasm and cautious glee which was so truly Prudence, "I don't mind them in that setting." It was the closest I'd ever seen to her having a wild moment, and for me, it was delightful!
"Of course, I haven't known for Nana all of her long life - from her formative years in Wales, to her early days in medical school, to her life as a young wife and mother - but I do know that it was certainly full. It's hard to think of Nana without thinking of her late husband, that is my grandfather, the Reverend Jonathan Glyn Owen, or affectionately, Glyn. They were so much in love, they were inseparable. Indeed, as they aged they managed to possess only a single set of 5 senses between the two of them, what with Nana losing her hearing and Grandpa losing his sight. Their lives became an interwoven fabric of love cantered upon family, each other, church and God. In thinking of Nana and Grandpa being reunited in Heaven, it is like the return to home for them. In Welsh, Hirith, is the nostalgic feeling encompassing a yearning to return home, and I am sure that this is how they have longed for each other. Prue will be welcomed so warmly by Glyn in Heaven with his lilting Welsh song voice and a jolly lift of his cane as he smiles, laughs and invites her home in his arms again to begin their daily promenade.
"Stop to think of it for a second. 69 years. Many of us haven't even lived that long. But they had 69 of marriage. 69 years of mornings, afternoons, nights. 69 years of her pouring his tea, filling his belly, her lovely fussing ensuring his care and well-being. This unending devotion is one of the greatest teachings of Nana's life: how to love long. AND, how to love by doing. Quite simply, Love until the end of time. Indeed, the learning of such loyalty and love in action she has clearly passed on to her three children, each of whom is here celebrating and grieving her today. Love and loyalty they have each returned. Carys, who has made arrangements and sacrifices over the years to visit as often as possible with Trevor, from overseas in Ireland. Every inconvenient trip, every lengthy plane ride - love in action. Marilyn, with her tasty plethora of dinners and desserts served. With her dedication to continuously brightening the corner she's in and sharing, even through her own persistent health challenges - love in action. Andrew, with his ongoing commitment and concern for Nana, involved and attentive to her daily care, year upon year. With all the drives, time and effort he spent - love in action. For all of this love received, Prudence was no doubt was humbled and grateful.
"Well, not only did Nana love God, her husband and her family, but truly - and almost equally - she loved and adored food! Now, no one could possibly say she wasn't understanding and catering toward her husband. However, there were many dinners where Nana gently reminded Glyn to come on now and wrap up grace time before the meals got cold. You could see when she sort of experienced a light-hearted decision-making turmoil between respectfully letting the pastor pray, and sensibly urging we get on with enjoying a hot meal. Sweets were a daily necessity. Turtles, toffees, cookies. I know I miss her Anzac biscuits already and only hope to be able to re-create those glorious oat slices one day. Prue never liked to be the centre of attention, so one could almost miss the fact that she was actually exceedingly intelligent, even in her old age. My cousin Ceri remembers her being able to give you 27 ways to get to Macy's, and to be able to inform you about the politics and weather in countries many of us had never even heard of. Even still in her 90s, she would remember to ask me very specific questions pertaining to my odd and unusual life such as what precisely did I do during my job on chicken farms, or how was driving in the winter snow, or what exactly was my dog doing during an ordinary day. As a blind and deaf elder, she still cleverly knew the words to many hymns and songs, she could recognize my mother by the touch of her hands, and even with very little hearing, identified the individual organist at her husband's funeral service.
"In zooming out and looking on the fullness of Prudence and her life journey, it is a lot to fully comprehend. I was thinking of how we view what comprises a strong woman in today's modern culture. Visions of independence, charm, multi-tasking, extroversion and workaholism come to mind. Prudence, however, has lived a far greater and truer strength than this. Devoted to God and to a purpose-driven life, her strength takes fruition in her servitude. She was faithful to God and her husband. She was present and attentive, and focused mindfully on one task or conversation at a time. She was not perfect, and was at times matter of fact and non-emotional, but you always knew she cared. She showed up, she prayed for you, and if you had anything going on at all to be concerned about, she would never forget to worry about you, bite her lip and voice an empathetic 'Oh dear dear dear dear.' She had a deep beauty that was not fleeting, but came from a caring heart full of concern. She would converse, yes, but she would also listen, and take time to understand what you had said to the best of her ability. Consistent to who she was and steadfast to what she loved, her morals and integrity didn't change with time. Being many things to many people, she was daughter, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife, neighbour, Christian, friend. It is not Miss Modern Independent, but this understated Welsh wonder, aging patiently with her thin frame and bruised legs, and with the faith to surrender to another's care, who is truly one of the strongest women I know. Personally, I am very grateful to Nana for all she has been to so many people, and most especially, for the incredible children she has raised.
"I hope you all have at least as many warm memories of Prudence as have I, and I welcome you to share them with me or with each other, as we honour her earthly journey and go through this period of grief and transition. Please continue to cherish her warmly in all your hearts. One last thing is that I wanted to remind everyone of is how very much Prudence had always liked having visitors. She may never quite say it outright, but you could tell she was most pleased whenever you came by as she never wanted a visit to end. And so on behalf of Prue, and all her family, we thank you kindly for being here to both celebrate and share our love with each other today and we ask that just as Prudence would and as she would delight in you doing, please do stay and thoroughly enjoy some tea and sweeties after the service. Finally, I'd just like to take a moment to recognize and think of the family members overseas who are not with us in person today, but who are closely with us in spirit. Please take comfort today knowing that Prue is suffering no more, and is finally able to hear -yes to HEAR with her ears- and even cautiously delight in the resounding blare of the trumpets as she is welcomed to her heavenly home with Glyn."