Some of you with older children at St John's might remember John Self. He was the vicar at St John's Church for many years, and during that time, he started the charity Narthex and was instrumental in building Sparkhill Foodbank, support for asylum seekers, debt advice, and much more. He was also our school's Chair of Governors for over 20 years, and was dedicated to helping the children of Sparkhill get the very best start in life.
John believed passionately that we should all love our neighbours. He championed the causes of people with little or nothing. He lived in this community, and sought to help anyone in need. He believed in the value of Service to others, and that God wanted him to do his best to look after those around him- whether they were the same as him, or very different.
John lived his life in service to others. He saw everyone as a Child of God. It didn't matter to John what religion, colour, ethnicity or nationality a person was. What mattered to John was that God loved them, and so John should love them too.
John sadly died last week after a battle with cancer. He was at home, surrounded by his family, and was at peace, ready to meet God.
I was once inspired by something John said in a collective worship. He was teaching the children about Serving others, and talked about how he had journeyed to Pakistan to help people during the floods. He quoted from Matthew 25: 37-40
"37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
John believed that deeds are more important than words, and that is how he lived his life- by giving practical love and support to others. He leaves a wife, Frances, and a family who I know would appreciate being in your prayers.