Renée's Testimony

From my earliest memories I have always believed in God.

My family believed in God and as a little girl, living in Elton Bury, I was sent to Wood Street Methodist Church with my sister Jean. We went on the Whit walks and one year I was maid of honour and carried the Queen’s train.

One vivid experience I had as a youngster thinking about God was when I went to a corner shop in Elton, Bury called Hambeys. I had in my hand a penny with the image of Britannia on, and I remember thinking this is not like God, God is much greater than this. Then as I became a teenager I stopped going to church, but I never stopped believing. I still believed in God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

In due time I married, and with the hustle and bustle of married life I never did find the time to go to church. Sometimes I would pray, and I sent my children to Sunday school, but for many years I did not go to church.

By this time my family had grown up, and I was living in Ramsbottom. One day my daughter said something that was to change my relationship with God forever:

“Mum, there is a church open by the railway, and I believe they are inviting people to go and hear Billy Graham and I am going to ask to go.” Linda did ask and went on the coach and on the way was in conversation with a young lady called Louise. When Linda came back she decided to start going to church each week. This Linda did.

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Tribute From Gary, Angela, Laura & Richard

We have very fond memories of Renee & also of her husband Bill, they were a lovely caring couple who will be sadly missed by all.

To us as a family, Renee & Bill were very much instrumental in locating our long lost Ukrainian Mother & Grandmother, whom we were able to know for eighteen months, until she sadly passed away. We will always remember the blessing we received through their support at that time & be forever grateful.

Tribute From Tony Flanders

It has been my privilege to get to know Renee over the past 7 years. Even though she has been unable to attend church in that time, it has been good to be able to visit her in her home and get to know her. Certainly, the impression I gained from most of my visits was that she can talk!!

From stories concerning: her singing in church, to being passed over as the Sunday school queen; her love of the bird life, to watching people walk on Holcombe hill: her memories of the war, to memories of her overseas travel; there never was a dull moment! However, another significant impression was that of contentment, despite her evident suffering. Renee was content in God, content in all His goodness, content in the gift of her loving family, and content concerning her future hope in Christ.

Tribute From Les and Anne Yates

It has been our joy to have known Renee and to have been able to enjoy fellowship with her over many years. Though we have not been able to see much of Renee over the last few years, on account of circumstances affecting both of us, we will always have fond memories of the fellowship we shared both in home visits and the church meetings in better days.

We shall miss Renee. The loss of lifelong Christian friends such as John Olive, Raymond and Muriel Gregory, Charles and now Renee leaves a void that can never really be filled. Our hope, however, is that one day we will all be reunited to share unbroken fellowship for an eternity in a realm free from pain, disease and suffering.

Renee’s contribution to the fellowship may not have been as noticeable as some of the more public ministries, but one of the ways Renee showed her love and care was, in what I would describe as, a ‘Dorcas’ ministry. Dorcas, you will remember, was the lady who lovingly made clothes and other items for many in the community and when she died was missed by all. Renee would spend hours embroidering framed pictures which would include texts of scripture which she would share with her brothers and sisters in Christ.

Here are two examples given to Ann and me which have given us much encouragement over the years.

Dorcas was raised from the dead and restored to her friends through the ministry of Peter, a foretaste of what will happen to Renee on the last Day.

Tribute From Rob Stredder

Visiting Renée was always a pleasure for me. I was always greeted with the warmth of her smile and the words “Eeh hello Rob”. She spoke about her family with great affection and often thanked the Lord for them. Conversation was always easy with Renée and she would always reflect on how blessed she was. A phrase that always readily flowed was “The Lord is good to me”.

We read and spoke about her favourite psalm 23 many times which she always found a great encouragement. She was confident that the Lord was her Shepherd and that she would dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The last time I visited her was sadly a couple of days before she went to be with the Lord and was struggling to converse due to the declining health. As I left, her eyes followed me as I walked round to the other side of the hospital bed. I leaned over and kissed her on the head and said, “Renée – I’ll see you on the other side”. She gave a smile of assurance as if to say, “You certainly will”.

Tribute From Jemimah

“Warm, friendly, welcoming” are the words that come to mind when someone says “Renee”. Every time I visited her I always came back with a smile. I will miss her very much.

Tribute From Yvonne Kinsey

I first met Renee when, as a new believer, I spent my Saturday afternoons serving tea and coffee to patients at the Cottage Hospital in Ramsbottom. Renee was one of a lovely group of nurses and staff who worked there at the time.

It was around that time her daughter Linda had started attending the church and had become a Christian. What a surprise it was to see Renee come to church with Linda as I didn’t know they were related! It wasn’t long before Renee was baptised and we became sisters in the Lord.

As Renee became less mobile, it was my privilege and joy to pick her up for church on Sundays and chat about the Lord and His word. In later years wherever I visited her; in her home, respite care, Linda’s house or in hospital, she was always peaceful and content, trusting in the Lord Jesus. She enjoyed sharing stories about her grandchildren and great grandchildren – I surprised Ryan once in school when I told him I knew about Renee and him sneaking Linda’s biscuits from the bottom of the fridge!

Renee had such a cheerful, thankful disposition and a deep love for her family and her Saviour. For me, her life was a living example of the Bible verse:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

Tribute From Maureen Fleming

One of the many gifts the Lord gave Renee was embroidery and this is a lovely picture of her work, which she kindly did for me. My memories of Renee will always be of a much loved Christian lady who is now with her precious Saviour.

God bless you Renee

Tribute From Jim Hoyle

Some of my earliest memories of Renée centred around the Mums and Tots group at the church. Renée helped out in the kitchen. Maureen and I took our youngest grandchild Kathryn regularly. I recall Benedict, Oliver’s son, he was about the same age, 3 to 4 years old. Sometime later Oliver, (our pastor), set up visiting groups across our congregation. Renée was in my group. So, with Oliver, we started to visit Renée and her husband Bill regularly at their home near Nutall Park, Ramsbottom. Bills health was in decline which left Renée, Linda (her daughter) and family providing care for him.

I remember Renée, with all these concerns of life, saying, “I thank the lord every night for his help during the day”. Bill was called home to the Lord. Renée’s health also began to decline and Linda moved her mum to her home, near Holcombe Brook. It was here that on my visits I learned so much about Renée. She was about 11 years old when World War II started in 1939, (I was about five years old). Her vivid memories of the war and “getting on in the midst of danger,” showed me lady of considerable stamina, strength and resolve. Years after the war ended, Russia was opening up its borders to visitors! Remée always wanted to visit Russia so booked her ticket! I asked her “is it not dangerous?” She answered, “No, not in the least.” and went!

By this time Tony and Maggie had joined the church. Tony’s pastoral care helped Renée considerably. We had regular updates from Linda on her mums condition. Renée always showed that continuing deep trust and faith in the grace of God and the Lord’s care for his loved ones! And now? “Forever with the Lord.” Amen so let it be!

Tribute From Sarah Sharples

Renee has been a special sister to me since I joined the church. Her warmth and kindness shone out and her joy and trust in the Lord were such an encouragement. I’m so thankful to have known Renee and look forward to being together again, praising our wonderful Saviour. ‘You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.’ Psalm 16v.11

Tribute From Oliver

I will always remember Renee for her loving disposition and deep concern for others. Soon after joining the church as minister we bought a house on Bury New Road, which was only a stone’s throw from Renee. She was so welcoming and loving towards us as a family and clearly very concerned that we should feel a part of the community. She greatly valued the emphasis on church life and building a church community where everyone felt loved and valued, even if they did not “fit the mould” of usual expectations. She would always go out of her way to welcome the outsider and make sure everyone felt “at home” with us.

When Renee could no longer worship with us for health reasons, she was greatly concerned to let us know that this was “my church”; that she still belonged; that she was with us in spirit even if not in the flesh. She would tell stories of her time with the believers here and remember with manifest pleasure days of worship, witness and fellowship in the Lord.

Renee was a profoundly thankful and contented lady, always appreciative of the loving care given by her daughter Linda and the support of the church.

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Oliver’s Sermon Notes

Over the years I have taken a number of funerals and I always seek to bring a message that springs out of the life of the person we are remembering. In the days leading up to the funeral, I think about their lives, the times I spent with them and the memories of others, and I write down some headings which then form the structure of my message.

However, with Renee, I have not been able to get beyond a single heading. I have tried to expand my thinking to other things and broaden my perspective, but each time I have done so I realised that they were all sub-headings in reality. In the end I have had to settle for a single word that speaks the fullness of Renee’s life; a single word that plums the depths of her remarkable character; a single word that tells us everything we really need to know about her.

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