Another familiar figure has been taken from us by the death of Mr Henry Keen which took place just before the bells chimed for mattins on Sunday January 14. As churchwarden for nearly 20 years and as chimer for many years he was most conscientious and assiduous in the discharge of his duties, and his services to the church will long be remembered. the funeral too place, amid many tokens of respect, on January 18th. The service was choral and the music was beautifully rendered by the choir. The bells were chimed for the service and a muffled peal was rung immediately after. The following Sunday evening, in the course of his sermon on the Gospel for the day, the Vicar said: “With some this faith is only firmly grasped after many a fierce struggle, after meeting and conquering doubts and fears; to some it is given to receive it without question, in all simplicity and sincerity. Of the latter type was the faith of him whose mortal body we laid to rest on Thursday last. But his faith was none the less sure and steadfast. You know how it was shown by his deep interest in this church and everything connected with it. You know the pride he took in the church and its surroundings; if ever anything was to be done in the church or churchyard he was always ready to take his share in it. Indeed all his local interests were, as you might say, centred in the church. But it was not merely the material fabric that aroused his interest and enthusiasm – that of itself would hardly be evidence of a robust faith. He set a higher value still on the privileges of worship and communion. You know full well how, until he began to be kept away by infirmity, his place in church was hardly ever vacant; and in his communions, too, he was both regular and devout. It is a pity there are not more like him among the older men of Badsey. It is sad to see so few who are fathers worshipping here; our congregations are made up largely of women and young people. But Henry Keen was one of those who, by faith, see their duty and do it, and it should be a great comfort to those who mourn his loss to know this. He had long been losing touch with the world and the things of the world; they had gradually ceased to possess meaning or interest for him; and now we may believe that in the fuller light of Christ’s presence he is learning more and more of the meaning of those things which he knew by faith here, and we pray that he may attain at length to the light of everlasting life.”
Published in the February 1917 parish magazine.