Funeral Reflections

We hope the following reflections from the funeral of Dorothea Wedgwood Clarke, founder of San Andres in Asuncion helps you catch a glimpse of a life lived to the glory of God.

Dear friends,

We thought you’d be interested to receive an account of Thea’s wonderful funeral, at St. Paul’s Church, Ryde on the !sle of Wight, last Friday.

The service, all arranged by Thea in 2009, was beautifully led by Rev. Peter Pimentel, with the hymns “Great Is Thy faithfulness”, “Psalm 23” (to Crimond) and “Beauty For Brokenness” and the reading from Revelation 21: 1-7, chosen by Glenys Williams.

Christopher Wedgwood, Thea’s brother, who had put in a great deal of work to make the occasion so special, read out various appreciative messages he had received from different people who had known and loved Thea.  There were comments on Thea’s enthusiasm and many practical gifts; her generosity; her creativity;  her many adventures worldwide, after she left Paraguay and travelled as an itinerant missionary; her positive outlook on life and lack of complaining even in her final sufferings in her Care Home; and above all her passionate love for and commitment to Jesus. Eileen gave a tribute on her contribution to Paraguayan education, and Molly read some quotations from C S Lewis’s “The Last Battle” with her final suffering in mind.

Rev. Peter Pimentel based his short address on Zephaniah 3: 17, stressing God’s love and delight in those who love him, as Thea so deeply did.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you in his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

We were quite nervous about having to participate in the service, but from the beginning, when Rev. Peter Pimentel said that we were present to celebrate a very remarkable life, there was such a note of joy and appreciation of Thea’s love for Jesus and her zest for life in all its fullness, that it was a privilege to take part.  There were about 50 people present, including family and people with past links to the South American Missionary Society – Philip and Rosemary Tadman,  Nicky Harmer, Mandy Lines, and Helen Sohns.  There were also many friends from different places and people from the Priory and the Care Home, where Thea had spent her later years.

The service was followed by the cremation, and as we entered the chapel, a recording of the St. Andrew’s School hymn sung in 2003 by the children was played.  This was a song very much loved by Thea, and in her final months, Christopher and she sang it together often. After a solemn Commendation of Thea to the Lord, in Hebrew and English, the curtains round the coffin closed to a wonderful rendering of the whole of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”  It was such a fitting ending and new beginning of a very remarkable life!


Molly & Eileen