Wecome to Logia, the personal blog of Paul Hartwig. Reflections and resources to enhance understanding of what God has revealed of himself in Scripture.
Tribute to a Colleague and a Friend
Dr. Kevin Roy (left in picture)
October 10, 1948 - November 27, 2021
Is it possible to discover a 'Jonathan' after he has left this world? A week ago on this hour you slipped into the presence of your Lord. How fitting that you were out walking in the hills of Cumbria, near the Lake District, marveling at the beauty of the recent fallen snow. You stopped to talk to a friend and while sitting in his car, leaned back and were home with your Lord. Like Enoch you “walked with God, and you were not, for God took you.”
Memories of the decade we had together as colleagues teaching at the Cape Town Baptist Theological Seminary are fresh and vivid thirty years later. You were loved by all. Your winsome disposition, self-deprecating humor, and disarming smile—how could we all not be won over by your sincerity. Hubris and guile were strangers to your person.
You came to us at the Cape Town College in 1989 after nine years in the Dorothea Mission and almost a decade in the pastorate. As a consequence, the lantern of your spiritual life always burned bright and you traveled light, not distracted by the weight of any materialistic aspirations. I loved to hear you pray because you were not conversing with us but with a Father who you knew and talked with daily. The reverence with which you spoke the name “God” in lectures and in prayers struck a cord in our souls.
Your idiosyncrasies endeared you to all. You would stand before a class and during the lectures naturally fold both arms behind your back — a feat that I doubt Houdini could emulate —and then challenging gravity you would rock back and forth on your heels. When the arms were unwrapped they would at times flail out to stress a point of enthusiasm like discombobulated windmills. I remember the day I walked past your closed office door and heard a commotion. I paused for a moment and it sounded like you were finally taking a student to task. I had never heard such censure from you before. I heard no student voice and knocked on your door. Seeing no-one I enquired, “are you alright.” You replied, “Yes, and merely giving myself a good talking to.”
You loved the student’s questions and your classes were always a safe place to grow and learn. I remember well our theological discussions and search for truth and courage in our evolving political South African context. Your heart was always wide and the broken and the hurting found an advocate and champion in you. Always you were willing to dispense forgiveness and in our faculty meetings I was the hawk and you were the dove. I would often tease you with the comment that “you would give the Devil the benefit of the doubt.”
Our histories overlapped: you were born in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia); my birthplace Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). You grew up on a farm near Broken Hill and attended a Catholic private school, St. Georges, in Salisbury. I went to University a few miles away. You went to Bristol University to study Civil Engineering on a prestigious academic bursary. After a year you came back to African soil and sunshine and your life moved in a different vocational direction. Your heart was captured by the Lord and you never let go.
Although an ocean and 10,000 miles separated us these past twenty years our friendship never wavered. We stayed in touch through the gift of email and, when I returned every May to Cape Town we met for coffee at Constantiaberg. We picked up our friendship and conversation like we had seen each other yesterday. The three hours of banter, news briefs, laughter, and sharing of information evaporated as if a few minutes as we covered updates on our students across the world that we had both taught and shared stories of our friends and family. In 2016 you flew down to Cape Town and we had ten days to catch up as you taught Carson-Newman University students at Team House on the Noordhoek Beach. You were pastoring in Gauteng then and I encouraged you to retire and enjoy farm life and family in northern England. You waited a few more years because you did not want to abandon the church in transition —so typical of the Kevin Roy axiom of life — others first, Kevin second.
I always looked forward to your Christmas letters with news of the family you treasured and loved and imagined the beauty of your surrounds. I had hoped to come your way during my sabbatical in the fall of 2020 but Covid struck and threw us all off balance. In days to come I will visit the oak tree on your farm where your ashes will be sprinkled and walk down the village road that you took before walking into God’s presence. I have re-read your recent emails with tears and joy this past week, You wrote in an email in August of 2018 of the joy of settling on the farm in the Cumbria environs, “Having been born on a farm, it looks like I am going to die on one.”
Up to the last you were giving away your life in ministry to people and shepherding a flock of believers at Castle Sowerby Chapel. When you went walking you memorized Scripture and prayed. What living words were you speaking and praying on that last walk shortly before the Lord came and took you home? Your life touched your students, parishioners, and colleagues with such encouragement, friendship, and grace. Our hearts are bruised and the loss of your presence profound, but we know now you live “forever in the house of the Lord.”
. . . a 'David'
December 2, 2021
Dr. David Crutchley
Dean of Religion
Jefferson City, Tennessee, 37760