Angela with a halo?
Here is the picture which Angie took of herself towards the end her time this summer in the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. The blogpost linked to this was typical Angie - seeing God in all things. Seeing not the horror of cancer, but the healing power of God's love. This is the Angie we all knew. An Angie who was angry and passionate and just. An Angie who picked me up from the station only a few weeks ago and chatted over theology while we walked back to their manse who enthused over a service about the Bible and discussed the Heretics Corner she was developing in the local churches. An Angie who encouraged and shared and empowered others before putting herself and her own considerable intellect first.Angie has a halo! So appropriate in many ways but so wrong for her family, for Methodist theology, for those who were her friends.
Angela Shier Jones was a contemporary Methodist theologian of incredible importance.
She had published a number of works exploring the polity and practice of the Church with some considerable focus on fresh expressions and contemporary ecclesiology.
She was passionate about seeing British Methodism embrace more closely its cousin across the pond, the United Methodist Church, and worked to foster those international ties.
Angela's blog, The Kneeler, was often written as a conversation between her and God - sometimes used for an outpouring of her frustration with the Methodist Church which she knew could do better. But an outpouring not of bitterness or invective but of love and concern. Like Jesus crying over Jerusalem, so Angie cried over the Church she was called to serve. I hope that someone somewhere can do something to distil the knowledge that is there.
She was an internationally renowned theologian, but most importantly a normal circuit minister - one of Mr Wesley's Helpers.
Her passion was to see people extend their theology - to express their love of God, to see God's love shared with the world. She used arts, creativity, movies, technology, publishing and writing to do all she could to empower the ordinary people in and out of the pews.
Having said all that, Angela described herself thus:
New Malden, London, United Kingdom
One of Mr Wesley's Helpers in the London District of the British Methodist Church. All the opinions expressed in this blog are my own and there is no guarantee that Mr Wesley (or the British Methodist Church) would necessarily approve.
Angela has been fighting cancer for ages now...sadly she passed away at 0510 this morning.
She will be sadly missed.
I'll let Angela herself close off this blogpost with a quote from her other blog, Suffering Grace, which explored her own feelings after being diagnosed with incurable cancer.
Life and Death are gifts from God, and the knowledge of both are means of grace. Just because we dont like death, doesn't make it wrong or evil! It is not a mistake, a flaw, or a failure to die.
Death is NOT a sign of God's displeasure. Neither did it result from any human wrong doing. It is not a punishment for any real or imagined sin either now or in some distant mythical past.
Death is a part of God's gift of 'being' - whether we like it or not!
Life and death are inseparable - without life there is no death, but without death there is no life!
This is at the heart of the Good News.
Without incarnation there is no crucifixion, without crucifixion there is no resurrection.
The sad truth is that those who dont know they are dying, probably dont know that they are alive either.
Until we meet again, Angie, you will be sadly missed.
Lots of love,