Today I heard the sad news that my old Sunday School Teacher passed away and I felt compelled to write something about her.
Firstly, I must state that my relationship with Church and religion is fairly lapsed but there was a time when I attended a local Church almost every week.
The area of London I lived in was fairly affluent some 40 years ago and has become more so as the years have gone by. It had the distinction of having a large Afro-Caribbean community and as such was a vibrant and interesting place to grow up in.
My Sunday School Teacher, who I will call Mrs G was from Jamaica and had come to England in the 1950's I think. She was a wonderful lady. Despite not having a great deal of formal education, I can tell you that Oxford and Cambridge theologians could have come to Mrs G for advice about the Bible. She was a very clever lady and didn't stand for much nonsense.
Her Sunday School was fun and interesting and looking back I wish I had appreciated it more. It was certainly more interesting than the service that droned on when the Sunday School departed to their classroom after the second hymn!
At the Sunday School I was the only white child and was not made to feel different or excluded in any way. It was perhaps the simple belief of Mrs G's that we were all God's children that helped me to view my fellow man as just that, without the first thinking of race, creed or colour.
My fondest memories of Mrs G was when we had Church Fetes or special evenings. At these Mrs G would entertain us with songs from the Caribbean and if we were very lucky the chance to sample some Caribbean cooking.
To my shame I hadn't spoken to Mrs G since heading off to university a long time ago. I have however thought of her from time to time and always had fond memories of attending Sunday School. Finding out that she has passed on took me on a journey back into the past. My past. If there is a Heaven, I suspect Mrs G is making it a much more vibrant and interesting place to be, bossing everyone around and welcomed with open arms.