It doesn't seem right that Immanuel is no longer with us, the irony of his name sticks in my throat this evening; at this time of year as we come to terms with his death.
Immanuel moved to Poplar Corps when were there with his wife and became a valuable member and pillar of our congregation. He was a solid member of the church, a true support to our ministry, someone who to spend time with made a difference to you, a member of a small congregation that developed in his front room first in Bethnal Green then Bow - above all he was a valued friend. Someone to laugh with, to feel totally relaxed in the presence of his generosity.
He taught me far more than he will ever realise, his wisdom impacting me deeper than he ever intended. His favoured prayer phrases are indelibly embedded on my memory - and as a 'mother hen gathers her chicks under her wing' may God in his love and mercy gather Immanuel's young family to him as they come to terms of life without their father and husband.
There have been many Africans in my life that have called me brother - Immanuel was truly that to me and I to him - I'll miss him. His life has been like that of a 'mustard seed - that so small grows into the largest of trees' there will be many that will miss him.
He will rise again...