Many of us are still coming to terms with the sudden passing of the Venerable Bruce Horton. While we can find comfort in the knowledge that Bruce is at peace and he had a sure and certain hope of the resurrection, his physical presence in our church community will be greatly missed and I have no doubt that there will be a legacy that he will leave us that will equip us for the next part of our journey together as a church.
Bruce had a long and fruitful ministry impacting the lives of many that stretched far beyond our local church here in Robina. We will fondly remember him leading us in worship, preaching and teaching. While he was a faithful servant of God in his calling to be ‘up front’, I saw that his most impactful ministry was alongside others, myself included.
Bruce had a particular passion for ensuring that people were connected to each other and was a catalyst for encouraging others to stay connected, to reconnect and to build connections. As he distributed Holy Communion he would often encourage couples, family members or friends who have come to church together to receive communion alongside each other.
Bruce not only knew the power of being alongside one another, he actively encouraged us to be alongside each other. Bruce planted this seed of pastoral passion in our community and entrusted us to continue its nurture. Can we stand alongside each other, encourage others to stand alongside us and can we seek to find someone who needs another to stand beside them?
I know that Bruce faithfully and regularly read the scriptures and prayed privately as well as saying the ‘Daily Offices’ from the Anglican Prayer Book, but Bruce also recognised his need and the importance of reading and exploring the scriptures and praying together with others. Most Mondays and Fridays you would find Bruce in the chapel for Morning Prayer and while there was often at least as much conversation as there was praying and reading scripture, these were rich times for both Bruce and those of us who were privileged to share this time with him.
I know that one of Bruce’s hardest decisions was to stop leading a Bible Study on a Wednesday morning which was simply known as “Bruce’s Bible Study”. But the hunger never left him, some of you will know that Bruce was concocting plans with Norma Edwards to do a Lenten Study this year.
Bruce’s hunger to explore scripture with others and his need to pray together with others is something that I hope we too might be able to nurture in both our private and gathered lives. Bruce was always encouraging of people gathering together in any way – even those things that we do that he didn’t personally connect with – he would always find an encouraging word to ensure that I understood that it was the meeting together around scripture and prayer that was the main thing even if he didn’t always like the style or content.
I pray this year, particularly was we dig into our theme: Truth for our time, Truth for all time, that we too will develop a Bruce like hunger to not only read scripture and pray privately but also seek to find ways to do it alongside others. I pray we would find an encouraging word for all who seek to develop this hunger, even if the time or style doesn’t quite suit us. I pray that Bruce’s life, his ministry, his influence and his love would continue to prompt and inspire us to deepen our relationship with God and with each other.
Rest in peace and rise in glory my dear friend.