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By Gary Smee Thursday 08 May 2014 Updated: 09/05 00:55
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury joined hundreds of mourners at Worcester Cathedral to pay their respects to Denise Inge, the Bishop of Worcester's wife.
The 51-year-old, who lost her fight against cancer on Easter Sunday, was remembered on Tuesday (May 6) by a number of leading Church of England clerics including the Most Reverend Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu and almost 1,000 other people.
Bishop John was joined by their daughters Eleanor and Olivia at the service which gave thanks for Denise's life - a life which was far too short a sermon read by the Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said.
The reading, entitled Alleluia Is Our Song, described Denise as an "Easter Christian".
"It was a short journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, but it was a journey packed with purpose and meaning," he said.
"Some journeys are like that. They don’t have to be long for a lot to happen. And today we also have in mind another journey, a short one - far too short - but still packed with purpose and meaning: Denise’s journey.
"And like the journey of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Denise’s journey was one of hope, joy, pain, longing, questioning, discovering, and arriving."
The Very Rev Atkinson also spoke of the love Denise had for her husband and children.
"If all of us have shared part of that road with Denise, none of us have done so more closely, more lovingly, or more intensely than her husband and her daughters," he added.
"If Denise longed to live, it was to be wife to John and mother to Eleanor and Olivia."
The sermon also spoke of her knowledge about the priest and poet Thomas Traherne, a subject which she had become a respected authority on.
There was also laughter in the Cathedral as the Dean recited the couple's trip to Israel earlier this year.
"Three months ago, during that gracious respite of her disease, John and Denise with many others from this diocese made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land," he said.
"You have all seen the picture of Denise and John standing, hand in hand, trousers rolled up, shin-deep in the River Jordan, looking for all the world like a pair of children on holiday – which they were.
"Denise’s smile proclaims the faith of one who is not afraid of the journey’s end."
The service also saw members of Denise's church, All Saints, sing as people entered the Cathedral and Dr Helen Farish read an extract from A Tour of Bones, a book written by Denise which is set to be published in November.
At the end of the service, Denise's coffin was carried through the west door by her three brothers and brother-in-law followed by Bishop John and their daughters.
Money raised from a retiring collection will go to Berega Hospital in Tanzania.
A private burial service took place in Bredwardine, Herefordshire, on Wednesday (May 7).
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