Rosemary Elizabeth Bird, 1933-2010
Rosemary Elizabeth Bird died on January 10, aged 76, at St. Benet’s Nursing Home, Newton Abbot.
Rosemary’s parents, with their children, lived in Sutton, Surrey, and Rosemary attended Sutton High School from where she went on to train and work as a physiotherapist in major London hospitals
Attending Westminster Chapel, she sat under the outstanding ministry of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. She made many friends, and it was there that she met Elizabeth Braund, and so began a creative, pioneering partnership in the gospel of these two women, that has spanned more than half-a-century, and spread from inner London, Battersea, to Dartmoor, and its remote regions.
The story recounted in various magazine issues over the past years brings to light how these two women, neither of whom had any especial training in youth work, had learned to cope with the situations, the people, and the children whom they virtually lived among and had come to be able to meet their crying needs. Providence House, in Clapham Junction, south London, and East Shallowford Farm, on Dartmoor, Devon, work among inner city young people and families.
The effects of this ongoing work are there to be seen, but, most clearly of all, the heart of this whole project was to be seen in the early morning prayer meetings that were held for all who had a concern for what was going on .
It was in these prayer meetings (before the workers had to disperse to their different jobs) that the Heart of the Matter came to be understood — ‘that this was a distinctively Christian project that brought the presence of the God of mercy and grace alongside young people and families, and the old too, who in turn came to recognise something precious in what was emerging here’.
And as the Heart of the Matter was nurtured then, so the Heart of the Matter remains at the centre of the whole story today.