Obituary: Janet An­der­son, Church of Scot­land Dea­con

The Oban Times - - ANNOUNCEMENTS -

Born: Septem­ber 1, 1948 Died: Novem­ber 20, 2018

On Novem­ber 27, Janet’s fam­ily and friends from near and far gath­ered at Ashaig ceme­tery in south Skye to pay trib­ute to a unique per­son who has left be­hind her so many changed peo­ple and places through­out Scot­land.

Al­ready feel­ing deep stir­rings to help oth­ers, which was to be­come the theme of her life, Janet set out from home and went to Rostrevor in County Down, North­ern Ire­land, to the then newly es­tab­lished cen­tre for Chris­tian re­newal and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion to be part of the com­mu­nity there. These were for­ma­tive times for her.

In 1979, hav­ing been chal­lenged to con­sider serv­ing God in that way, she was com­mis­sioned as a dea­coness in the Church of Scot­land, serv­ing at first in Hill­house parish in Hamil­ton, be­fore mov­ing in 1982 to Ruc­hazie in north Glas­gow where she would stay un­til 2004. In those 22 years, she spent her­self tire­lessly for the com­mu­nity and col­lected around her a wide cir­cle of friends.

She was truly ec­u­meni­cal in her out­look and prac­tice, and could see through to the things that united. There, in that chal­leng­ing part of the city, she put all her ef­forts into help­ing the less for­tu­nate and bring­ing peo­ple to­gether.

She was in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the Ruc­hazie, Gartham­lock and Craigend Credit Union, which she chaired for many years. She worked tire­lessly for the credit union, giv­ing peo­ple the con­fi­dence to keep it go­ing them­selves, mak­ing it a real force for up­ward so­cial mo­bil­ity. Un­der her guid­ance, it moved out of the church to have its own shop front.

Those who would never have gained ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices were now be­ing helped to be­come fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent and many were set free from the tyranny of poverty and loan sharks. Janet was also in­volved in be­gin­ning and de­vel­op­ing the Ruc­hazie Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, bring­ing health and com­fort to those pre­vi­ously liv­ing in damp and draughty con­di­tions.

Janet’s life of ser­vice was marked by her com­plete lack of self glory. She de­clined the be­stowal of an MBE for her ser­vices. And it was this very hu­mil­ity, com­bined with her de­sire to serve oth­ers, that made her life speak so pow­er­fully, in­clud­ing her com­plete in­de­pen­dence of mind and fear­less­ness to say it as she saw it.

Af­ter Ruc­hazie, she had spells work­ing at Ari­saig, Mal­laig and the Small Isles, and then in the Parish of Reay, Strathy and Hal­ladale in Caith­ness, from where she re­tired back to the fam­ily home in Break­ish, south Skye.

In re­tire­ment, she car­ried on in the same vein of faith­ful ser­vice, ac­tively in­volved in the Pres­bytery of Lochcar­ron and Skye and also serv­ing as an NHS chap­lain in Broad­ford Hos­pi­tal. There are many fam­i­lies on the is­land who could tell their own sto­ries of how Janet helped them and their loved ones through dif­fi­cult times.

When she re­ceived news of her own ill health, she car­ried on life as we knew she would, step­ping in to try­ing days with her usual hon­esty and courage.

In Janet’s pass­ing many have lost a great com­pan­ion and de­voted friend. But to those same peo­ple her life still speaks and pro­vides an ex­am­ple of prac­ti­cal, per­sis­tent love.

‘In re­tire­ment, she car­ried on in the same vein of faith­ful ser­vice, ac­tively in­volved in the Pres­bytery of Lochcar­ron and Skye and also serv­ing as an NHS chap­lain’

Janet An­der­son.

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