James Varley Dearden 1922 -2014
Yesterday it was a privilege to attend the memorial service for Jim. vicar of Holt Trinity, Huddersfield from before I joined that congregation to 1987.
Jim brought a failing church back from one with serious problems and in danger of being closed to one which was thriving. Jim’s approach to leadership was quiet, no standing up and announcing big plans, but quietly encouraging people to get on with it. His focus was always on Jesus.
This was a memorial service not a funeral. There was no body as Jim had given his to medical research. At the service we heard from people who had been touched by Jim in his ministry, and before that as a an officer in the Royal Signals.
We heard of his conversion to Christianity at Lee Abbey in Devon. leaving the army in 1960 to train for ministry in the Church of England, his curacy in Hull and as Vicar in Huddersfield. After retirement, Jim became the chaplain at the newly opened Kirkwood Hospice, and his involment in keeping Scargill hose open.
In his final years, Jim was happy to go into a home because this would give him the opportunity to speak to people about Jesus again.
I can remember long conversations about our mutual love of the music of Mahalia Jackson.
Jim Dearden, more than one of th good guys, one of the best. I count it as a privilege to have known him.
Whether people knew him as Jim, or Jimmy or as Maj James Dearden, all who knew him had been touched.
I finish with one of Jim’s phrases:
We do not need a lot of faith, we need a little faith in a big God.