In Memoriam

We are sad to announce the death of Kit Widdows, Vice Chair of Sea of Faith Trustees.

Members of the Board, gathered in London on December 8th were shocked to hear that Kit Widdows, who had sent his apologies for the meeting, had died very suddenly that morning in Newcastle. He had been presenting a paper to the North East group "Breathing Space" which he had helped to found.

Kit came relatively late to membership of SoF -- though still only 61 when he died.

Educated at Bradford Grammar School he began studying natural sciences at Trinity College Cambridge eventually gaining a First in Physics -- a subject which introduced him to one of his keenest hobbies -- astronomy. (His other being stamp-collecting, whereby he amassed a huge collection which boasted an example of every UK stamp ever issued).

From physics he moved to theology, "Divinity" as it was called. In this he got another degree though not another First. (He perhaps disagreed with too much, it is said). This last saw him tutored by some eminent persons, the first Harry Williams, the second a certain Don Cupitt of Emmanuel.

Asked why the change from physics to theology, and eventually a life in Ordained Ministry, Kit would say that in the late 60s (the time of John Robinson) theology was every bit as exciting as physics.

After the usual sort of curacies and other parish posts (and a spell as chaplain to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham) Kit became Area Dean in Halifax. His next and final post was as Master of the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Newcastle upon Tyne, where I knew him for twelve years.

Kit turned the church from one with a small congregation and an uncertain future to a thriving community playing a key role in the life of the city centre. This was done not through stressing old-time dogmas but rather through preaching a vigorous and learned mix of a modern and pragmatic Gospel message, closely linked to such campaigns as Fair Trade and Jubilee 2000.

Some years ago Kit helped found "Breathing Space", a forum for debate for those of varying faiths and none -- one which attracted some leading speakers from the national and even international stage, Bishop John Spong amongst them.

Kit will be much missed by his own community in Newcastle -- a close personal friend to many -- and by a large group of friends and co-workers within the Network.

by John Pearson, Secretary to Sea of Faith Network Trust

Read the tribute to Kit from the Halifax Evening Courier...

Kit's novel The Fourth Witness...

Reviewed in Sofia



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