“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” - Psalm 116:15
While I was in Petaling Jaya, I received the shocking news from Bishop Rennis that our Chancellor, Richard Magnus has passed away. It was heart-breaking for bishop as Richard had been a close friend and steady spiritual pillar for so many years. Richard was someone you could lean on for words of wisdom or encouragement.
If you have read the papers, you will know of his roles in the nation. In our Diocese, he has served as the Registrar and Chancellor for many years. This often involved legal advice and various other important roles.
Somehow Richard, though a very busy man, was able to make time for almost anyone he knew. Great with using text messages, we have kept in touch through the years. Sometimes he would have requests such as tips for preaching or to seek my advice on a theological point. Most times, he will forward to me thoughts, articles or talks to encourage me.
Richard can be strong in his views too and we have crossed swords on a number of issues but never to the point of threatening our friendship in Christ and mutual respect. He was a genuine listener and would continue to reflect on my disagreements even after he had expressed his views. There will be times when he could be persuaded.
As a person who is junior to him, I found this to be liberating and the door remain opened for me to contribute honestly, which continued even up to recent times.
Richard was a son of the renewal of the 70’s and he often expressed his longing for a continual experience of the life of in the Spirit in the Church today. There was a simplicity, an almost childlikeness in his faith and love for our Lord Jesus. Yet, he was also a person who read deeply and widely. I can recall him reflecting on some heavy readings when we were sharing a meal.
Through the years, he continued to take an interest in my ministry development. When I was in the Cathedral, he will turn up in our AGM unannounced just to show his supportive presence as a Chancellor. As some of you know, he worshipped and served in St Hilda’s Church.
He will be sorely missed by many of us in the Diocese. His humble and encouraging presence in our Synod Meetings and Diocesan events will be missed. He has set an inspiring example, for both our clergy and lay leaders.
Much has been said in recent days on his rich contributions to the nation. Do read and be encouraged.
Rest well, Richard, from the good work and legacy you have left behind. In Christ, we will meet again.