Sermons from St Faith's   

Alan Morgan - 'A Gentleman - and a Gentle Man'

Fr Dennis Smith, requiem mass for Alan Morgan, R.I.P. Monday, 8th. February, 2016

Whether as a member of the Borough Architect’s Office working for Bootle Council or in retirement, any conversation with Alan would immediately have alerted you to the fact that his native roots lay in East Lancashire – I think somewhere in the Burnley area had been the family home. At some stage Alan and his widowed mum came to live in Netherton, and so began his deep and much-valued connection with St Oswald’s Church, where for a number of years he sang in the choir and was a much-respected Scout Leader of the church troop.

Alan came to us at St Faith’s in the mid 1980s and was soon welcomed into our own choir. During Fr Ged Callacher’s time as Director of Music Alan was presented with the Royal School of Church Music Long Service Award for his 30 years as a chorister. Fr George Gilford, who had known Alan as a friend from their Netherton days together, has told me that choir members both here and at St Oswald’s who served with Alan, remember him for his lovely baritone voice, along with his pronunciation of Latin with a distinctive Lancashire accent! More importantly, says George, he will be remembered for his warm and gentle nature.

Alan always had a penchant for ‘High Church’ liturgy – ‘smells and bells’ as he put it, so he always felt at home here in St Faith’s. Apart from his musical contributions Alan’s willingness to share and take part in the Sunday liturgy will always be remembered. He was an exceptionally good reader of lessons during the mass and was particularly gifted at leading the intercessions – his clear, confident and powerful voice added much to the worship which played so important a part in his devotional and committed discipleship.

Only last week Christine Spence reminded me of the home-made bun loaves which Alan would bring to church to sell in support of fund-raising, and I had totally forgotten another of Alan’s contributions, which was his popular quince and elderberry wine! He liked to play his part and do as much as he could for the church which had become so important a part of his life.

For many years Alan lived at home with his widowed mother, but after her death he eventually moved from Netherton and bought a house in Aughton, near Ormskirk. Fr George told me that visitors to the house were entertained by Alan playing his two-manual electronic organ. This could often be hear outside – the windows rattling as you approached the house. Alan would be sat at his beloved organ, thumbing through Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised, and playing his favourite tunes.

For many years now, whenever we have seen Alan sitting in his pew at the Sung Mass on a Sunday. we have seen him next to his most dear and faithful friend, Philip. I’ve always found it hard to think of the one witho9ut the other. God blessed Alan with a wonderful gift for friendship, and many of us here today are extremely grateful that we have been able to count him as a very dear and much valued friend.

I’ve already referred to Alan’s warm and gentle manner – he was indeed a ‘gentleman’ in every sense of the word – kindness, courtesy, thoughtfulness and generosity exuded from him in spades, and he was truly as nice and lovely a person as one could ever wish to meet.

In the past two or three years it has been sad to see the increasing deterioration in Alan’s mental health and to observe his diminishing capacity to cope with his circumstances. It is to his dear friend Philip’s great credit that in the midst of this confusion and bewilderment for him, Alan has been able to have the care and support of one who hast stayed with him to the end, and whose unfailing love and care has never faltered. Today, in this mass of requiem, we bid a very fond and affectionate adieu to our much loved and very dear brother-in-Christ. We give thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings he bestowed upon our very special friend, for the cherished memories we shall always have of him and for the enormous pleasure and joy which has been ours to have known him.

May he rest in God’s peace and be raised in his glory.


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