A moving service was held in the stone and thatch Chapel of Holy Trinity, Kalk Bay, on Sunday 29 January 2012 in honour of and thanksgiving for its Priest, Fr. Ronald E Phillips, who, after ten and half years at Holy Trinity, leaves at the end of February for further studies in the USA.
Fr Ron arrived at Holy Trinity in August 2001. The tributes paid to him and the size of the congregation attending the Farewell Service testified to the popularity of this very special man of God, known for his compassion, humility, humanity and his incredible care for and dedication towards both his parishioners and many others in the wider community. Members of the Muslim community in Kalk Bay attended the service.
Apart from a few members of Fr Ron’s immediate family, congregants from previous Parishes in which he worked and Parishioners and friends of Holy Trinity, the service was also attended by the Archdeacon of Kalk Bay, the Venerable Clifford Jones, the non-stipendiary and retired Clergy of the Parish, the now retired Dean of Cape Town, Canon Rowan Smith, Bishop Geoff Davies, our “Green Bishop”,
http://scenicsouth.co.za//2011/11/our-green-bishop-geoff-davies-honoured-with-top-environmental-award/ ) as well as some other Clergy and Lay Ministers who filled the beautiful mosaic and tiled Sanctuary.
The sublime voices of the choir of the Parish of Christ the King, Rocklands, where Fr. Ron served as Priest-in-Charge for a brief time, filled the historic chapel to the rafters in songs of praise and worship, the introductory hymn being Holy art Thou, the exquisite Largo from “Xerxes” by George Frederic Handel. (See below). Later a solo, ‘Designer Original’ dedicated to Fr. Ron by Christine Abrahams raised goose bumps and a tear to many an eye in the Congregation.
Fr Ron’s tribute of thanksgiving and brief homily, presented with his characteristic humour, elicited much laughter from the congregation and at times brought a lump to the throat.
We first met Fr Ron when he presided at the Memorial Service of my dad 8 years ago. He barely knew us as a family, my parents having just moved to Fish Hoek. His compassion towards our mom in her new state of widowhood led her, a Catholic, to become a member of his church. He proved a pillar of support when she too succumbed swiftly to terminal illness last year. His support of my brother and me has been tremendous, although neither of us is a churchgoer. It has been a privilege knowing him.
After the service a spread worthy of royalty was laid on by the Parishioners in the beautiful Rectory Garden. The music was provided by a marimba band from St. Mark’s Church in Lavender Hill who enchanted with their delightful performance outside the church before the Service started.
Fr Ron, we, along with so many others, will miss you but we wish you a most memorable time in the USA , good health and fulfilment and a safe return to our shores.
Father Ron features in an earlier article: http://scenicsouth.co.za//2011/12/fr-ron-phillips-leaves-holy-trinity-church-kalk-bay/
For a beautiful rendition of the Largo from Xerxes by Handel click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vmO-AF4NbA