The Reverend John Jay passed away peacefully on the morning of 24 July after a long illness, aged 82 years. Please uphold his wife Ruth, their three children Debbie, Simon and Fiona, and their families in your prayers. John’s funeral will be held at St John’s, Feilding on Friday 28 July at 1.30pm. All are welcome to attend and clergy who wish to robe may do so with white stole.
Husband, Father, Priest, Spiritual Director, Cursilloist, EfMer, singer, runner of marathons, tramper of hills, gentle friend and mentor to many.
Born in Acton London on 3 August 1933, the war years shaped John as he grew up with an absent father and the bombing of England. In the midst of all this wartime hardship and uncertainty John wrote ‘It was during these early years I first became aware of my spirituality … I had a strong belief in a power greater than anything in the world that I understood as God’.
In 1952, aged 19 he was drafted into the Royal Air Force for two years. At the end of his National Service he accepted a five year commission in the RAF Supply branch. John and Ruth were married in August of 1956.
As John rose through the ranks he was often away from his family in foreign lands while Ruth and their children were at home – a home that moved frequently. He recorded he lived in six countries and visited 17 countries around the world. He attained the rank of Squadron Leader.
Wherever he was, he worshiped and took a leadership role in the various church communities on and off RAF bases.
The prospect of further family separation would bring them all to New Zealand arriving a few weeks before Christmas 1976. Firstly to Whenuapai then to RNZAF Ohakea where they lived in Feilding. 18 months later there was posting to Defence Headquarters in Wellington. John wrote ‘we were back to our old nightmare but we were determined not to live separate lives again’.
John applied for a position at Massey University as a Personnel Officer and was successful.
In Feilding and working at Massey, John and his family attended St John’s Anglican Church. Education for Ministry was completed, then John became a Mentor for a further four years. He was licensed as a Lay Reader and a Lay Minister. He was also appointed a Chaplain to the Lay Ministers in the northern part of the Wellington Diocese.
On 2 May 2000, a new chapter begun for John when he was ordained by Bishop Tom. He referred to the Wellington Cathedral as a sacred milestone on his spiritual journey. He was Priest Assistant in the Parish of Oroua from 2000 until moving to a Permission to Officiate licence in 2016. Spiritual Direction and Cursillo became a passion as did John’s ability to lead quiet reflective services in the Celtic tradition. A Bible study group at Colyton has been a constant in John’s ministry.
A humble, gentle, caring and loving man, John faced his illness and death with all the assuredness of a man who has faith and believes in a God who has kept faith with him and given him work to do. His NZPB was marked at Palm 138 ‘I will give thanks to you O Lord with all my heart’. This he did at all times. ‘Well done true and faithful servant’.
May he Rest in Peace, and Rise in Glory.