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Friday, May 5, 2017
The Beginning of Farewell to Betty – 5 May 2017, Anno Domini
Dear Friends and Members of the Family of God in the AOC:
As I write this letter, my dearest friend, and long-time Matron of the Anglican Orthodox Communion, is slowly fading away from this life much as a tiny star on the distant horizon. She has fought the good fight and has “heard the owl call her name” as Margaret Craven says in her book by
the same title. In speaking of the Kwakiutl Indians of Vancouver Island, she would describe Mrs. Betty Hoffman as one of the “Salmon People” who are “born in the fresh streams of the mountain waters and flow with the current as fingerlings to the sea. After they travel the world over a lifetime in many sea waters, they return to the place where they began fighting the strong white-water currents to return home to final nest. Valiantly they fight, and crash against stones and timbers. Some are able to return to the very pool of water in which their lives began, but others suffer so much hurt in the struggle that they perish at last in the turbulent waters and are carried, tail first (still facing the current), back out to sea.”
Well, Betty has travelled the globe in the service of her Lord. She has fought so many hard battles, and she has well borne the scars and wounds of those battles. She has carried on when hope seemed forlorn, but never capitulating to the enemy at the gates, and the Lord has granted her a gracious victory. Though her blessed soul is fading, moment by moment as I write, she is going down with her lights burning brightly. The same Lord who breathed the breath of life into Betty’s soul long ago as a bouncing baby girl, now stands at the ready to receive her tired and fevered soul into His opulent Mansions on High.
I am facing this impending occasion with mixed emotions: mournful sorrow at losing such a dear friend and fellow servant; and a mystical joy in knowing her future disposition with the Lord. If we mourn at Betty’s good-bye, we mourn not for Betty, but for ourselves. She goes to meet the smiling face of her Lord and Savior, and we remain to continue the march, and to wage the war of the righteous, here below.
There are so many fond memories that are stored in my mind of Betty: sitting with her and Rev. Jack Arnold on the shores of Lake Victoria in Africa drinking our fine, rationed cups of coffee before heading out to the bush country; or climbing the terraced mountain cemetery of Bishop Masaway in the Philippine Islands where Betty broke the heel from her shoe (Yes, she wore high heels while mountain climbing); or the treacherous sea travel from Guadecanal to Isabel Island in the Solomon Islands chain. These are memories that punctuate a rich, abundant, and happy memory of Betty.
Betty has passed beyond the arm of man to help, but she is now fully in the Hands of her Father, and our Father; her Lord and our Lord.
Betty courageously put up a strong front and an enthusiastic fight while her body was wracked with increasing pain and frailty over these past months. Finally, over the past few hours, that last supposed enemy of man (death) has gotten the upper hand and is making his advances known. But for Betty, who believed without a shadow of doubt, that death held no penalty for her in Christ, has stood undaunted by his approach. As pain has grown to a very high level, she has required increasing amounts of pain-killing morphine, Slowly, her carriage is leaving the station of life on earth and destined for a far better life beyond the Gates of Splendor. While she yet lives in a growing stupor of pain and distant consciousness, I wish to take my hat off to Mrs. Betty Hoffman – National Secretary of the Anglican Orthodox Communion, in a final salute to a soldier who has done her duty as God has given her the Light to see that duty. We will meet again on the far shores of Jordan Banks. Peace and comfort in the latter day, Betty.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (Rev 14:13)