Sunday, 13 January 2008

Celebrating the life of Rob Frost

Wow! What a celebration. Around 3 hours of music and dance and drama and tribute celebrating different aspects of Rob Frost's life at Westminster Central Hall yesterday afternoon. After some singing and a welcome from Rob's two sons, Andy and Chris, the celebration began with an opening prayer and introduction from Martyn. As he said, he was there in two capacities - President of the Methodist Conference giving thanks for one of "Mr Wesley's preachers" and friend, there to remember and to take the opportunity to see Rob's life as a challenge to move forward in faith.

Then the programme was split into three key parts - Rob as a Visionary, Rob as a Mobiliser and Rob as a Conversationalist. In each of these sections we heard tributes and testimony of lives touched and changed and were touched again by music from Paul Field, Simeon Wood, a Ghanaian choir and the All Soul's Orchestra and singers, among others. There was drama and dance and poetry - written by Rob and by others. Adrian Plass, the writer, was unable to be present but he had written a piece - Letter to Rob which began - "You are in heaven now so I can be as rude as I like". Another line from that which I particularly remember suggested that what Rob and demented squirrels and Jesus had in common was the expenditure of enormous energy and passion in order to save as many nuts as possible!

These sections were followed by an address (by Martin Turner, Superintendant of Westminster Central Hall) who invited us to ask where we were in our relationship with Jesus and not just in our memories of Rob and to take our faith seriously recommitting ourselves as we celebrated Rob's life. A commissioning of those who will take forward the work of Share Jesus International took place after we heard a word from Rob's father, Ron, who spoke of his own faith commitment and that of his great gandfather, who had been a bare knuckle fighter. Jenny Impey, Co-Chair of the London Methodist District gave the blessing.

I found that it was an amazing opportunity to think of all of the ways that Rob and his work had made an impact on my own life as well as the wider work that he had been involved in. When I was 18 and at college, Ron Frost was my minister and I remember Rob coming to speak as a student minister. Over many years as a youth leader I linked in with Rob's initiatives, putting on musicals such as Daybreak and Breaking Bread, taking groups to Easter People, attending big productions of the musicals such as Hopes and Dreams and considering the missional and financial impact of Rob's work when I was a member of the Connexional Team. Just this last year Rob and I had become "facebook friends" and he wrote to me with sensible advice and concern when I said that facebook was taking over my life.

Rob wasn't tied to sharing his faith in the way he had always done it. He recognised that sometimes things had run their course - like the 20 years of Easter People. He did big things but still had time for individuals. Lots to think about, to give thanks for and to be inspired by.


3 comments:

Fat Prophet said...

Thanks for giving those who could nt be there a chance to share in the tribute to Rob Frost.

Will said...

Thank you for this thoughtful commentary (? for lack of a better word) on the memorial service and for your reflections.

Olive Morgan said...

Thank you, Ruby. I very much appreciated reading your account of that wonderful service of thanksgiving which I had hoped to attend, but in the end had to stay at home. So many people owe so much to Rob's ministry that I'm glad to know that the thanksgiving service for his life was so appropriate.