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Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Rev’d Jack Evans

An address given by the Bishop of Southwell on 27th May 1971 at the funeral service in Woodborough for the Reverend Canon A J Evans.

Jack Evans

This crowded Parish Church filled with people from all walks of life bears witness to the affection in which Jack Evans was held within this County. We today are here to commit to God the human remains of a holy man of God,  faithful Parish Priest, a devoted husband, an Englishman with a deep love of the countryside and a burning concern for the welfare of those who work in the Country, particularly the farming community and the Country Parson.

Jack Evans was the epitome of all that was best in the Ministry exercised in the Church of England's parochial system, which has served this Country so well in the past, and will, I pray, continue to serve it well in the future.

Left: Jack at a scout camp in 1951

He was the Parson in the midst of his people, caring for them and respected by them; he lived close to God and brought others close to God as a result. Others may have won greater preferment in the Church but no-one could have exercised a greater spiritual influence in his cure.

It is right for us to admire and copy great servants of God, the Bible enjoins this on us; they are our practical illustrations of the truths we seek to proclaim. Let all of us here remember these three truths that Jack Evans so eminently taught us.

Firstly: he lived a full life involved in the life of the community. Anything to do with the life of the countryside commanded his full interest. It is very easy in these days of agnosticism for the parson to be ignored as the representative of an unreal order of things.

No-one could ignore Jack Evans; no-one could feel after meeting him that the church was aloof from the daily concerns of men, no-one could fail to feel that the earth is the lords and the fullness thereof. The Church exists to bring the world to God, and it denies its calling unless it is intimately and lovingly concerned with the day to day lives of ordinary people.

Jack Evans was our supreme example; he was at home at the Newark Show as in his church; to him both could be the gates of heaven.

Jack at the unveiling ceremony to mark the additional inscriptions on the War Memorial 1952

With a party of ladies of the Mother's Union Woodborough in 1951

Secondly:  Jack Evans had no time for anyone who was "on the make"; he never coveted for himself material comfort, and he was quick to pour scorn on those who were always trying to look after themselves first and foremost. He could make ordinary simple things look beautiful and he despised affluence. In this day of greed and grasping competition we need more men like him to remind us day by day that life does not consist in the abundance of the things which we possess, and that it is more blessed to give than to receive. He could fight fearlessly for the rights of others, particularly the less influential and less well off but he never fought for himself. He taught us to sit lightly to the things of this world and to be content.

Thirdly: we must copy his zest for life, his joy, life was never dull when he was around. I first met him ten years ago on a cricket field and he kept this and other enthusiasms alive to the end. There is altogether too little joy in people's hearts nowadays. It was St Francis of Assisi who reminded us that joy comes from the peace of heart engendered by continual prayer. Joy comes from trust in our heavenly Father. Nothing can shake the joy of those who know and love and trust God. Such a man was Jack Evans. It was fun to be in his company. Even this occasion rings with the joy of the Lord because there can be no sorrow in the death of a Christian, only sorrow for us who will miss him so much in the future  The love and prayers of us all must and surely will be with Ruth, his devoted wife, whom we commend to God's most gracious keeping in the days ahead. For Jack Evans and for the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, thanks be to God.




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