Today I’m writing with sorrow and shock… We’ve lost one of our brightest and best, quiet gentleman Colin Simpson, whose funeral is at 11 on Friday in Willowfield Parish.
How to describe Colin’s impact on The Dock? He was a strong supporter of the whole enterprise right from the start; Colin and Esther were some of those brave few who embarked on the Dock Walks through the wind and rain in the wilds of the emerging Titanic Quarter (along with their family leading the way on scooters!) as the Dock vision formed.
Over a year ago, he took on the leadership of the little team that plans the Sunday Night services; never has a team been led more gently but firmly! At the end of each planning meeting we would realise that without really noticing it, we had covered all the practicalities, planned and prepared everything that needed to be planned and prepared, but also had the chance to tell the stories of our lives, pray for each other, listen for guidance and dream big dreams. At the end of those meetings I would always leave encouraged and inspired.
If you’ve ever been to one of our Sunday Night services, Colin was probably the one who welcomed you, served your cup of coffee and kept an eye out for new arrivals. Colin and Esther finished each service by offering to pray with people in the Dock Prayer Garden and I know loads of people who found those prayer times immensely healing and helpful – me included!
He had a fantastic gentle way of being firm… Every time we were setting up the band with Yours Truly on the keyboards, he would listen carefully as I bashed and thumped away on the keys. “Maybe the keyboard needs to come down a little in the mix”, he would say, and I would dutifully bash and thump the keys at a mere 99% of the volume of the first run. “Maybe a little less keyboard in the mix” he would say again…. He never lost his temper no matter how many times this cycle was repeated – and I’m not sure the keyboard was EVER low enough in the mix for his satisfaction!
Colin and Esther have led us for our most memorable Sunday nights – they introduced us to ‘Lectio Divina’ and brought countless doses of inspiration to our little community. Just last week, when all seemed well with the world, Esther was speaking about the loneliness of our fractured and isolated modern world and the need for authentic, loving community. I know that the Dock gang will rise to that challenge as Esther and her family need that support, prayer and love in the days to come.