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Tribute to The Revd Paul Yiend

 

Revd Paul Yiend RIP - Thanksgiving - Sep 19

 

On Friday evening, 20th September, a packed church near Namur, Belgium gave thanks for the life of Paul Yiend.   The week before Paul had passed away peacefully at his home in Andenne. Paul had been suffering from a brain tumour for the last three years. Paul decided to give his body to science.

Paul’s Thanksgiving Service in the Eglise Protestante Evangélique in Huy, near Andenne and Namur, was a beautiful, rich ecumenical celebration with diverse music and heartfelt, warm testimonies and the Eucharist in French. The music and service order had been put together by Paul, and his widow, Annick.

Colleagues and friends in the Diocese share some of their memories of Paul in this tribute to his life and ministry:

Paul was the Chaplain of Liège for nineteen years, between 2000-2019.  Prior to that, he had served at Holy Trinity Brussels as Assistant Chaplain (1999-2000), and he is remembered fondly by those who knew him.

A long-time friend remembers Paul’s time at Holy Trinity:

“His personal modesty cloaked great inner resources, a considerable intellect and a personality full of care and warmth. His self-effacing personality made it easy to miss him. But when the occasion arose for one-on-one, it became apparent that here was a man of profound Christian faith and personal substance. This I first discovered when a few moments’ chat during a social evening developed into an extended discussion as Paul’s personal depth, sympathy for his fellows and care for those around him became apparent. He and Annick became a much-loved part of the Holy Trinity community.”

Paul also loved ecumenism.  For many years, Paul was the Anglican co-Chair of the Belgian Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee.  One contemporary recalls: 

“He took great joy in finding ways that every denomination worked for the growth of God’s Kingdom. As always, he did this by building relationships and loving people, not through publishing doctrinal tracts, etc.”

Another colleague recalls Paul’s contribution, and gastronomic generosity …

“He was always a sane and friendly voice at the Anglican Churches in Belgium (ACB) meetings and archdeaconry synod, and he once hosted a memorable ACB meeting in Liège, at which the most impressive lunch ever experienced in the ACB was served. In contrast, the following ACB meeting was hosted in Leuven, where we imposed a ‘cheese sandwich, one each’ discipline.”

Paul’s passion was to witness to Christ in his daily life, and evangelising others through his daily interactions.  One long-term colleague of Paul recalls his worship, guitar playing and preaching:

“As a new arrival to the Archdeaconry of North-West Europe deep in the preceding episcopacy, I once noted while awaiting Morning Prayer in the austere chapel of the Theological Training Centre of Antwerp that someone had left a simple guitar leaning against the lectern.   What might this mean?   Eventually a tall bearded man dressed in a woolen jumper rose to lead us in prayer, reflection and song.  This was my cue to meet Paul and led to our spending most archdeaconry synod dinners together with some contact in Liège through the years.”

Another colleague describes Paul’s sense of spirituality:

“Paul was an Anglican by surprise and quietly struggled with the gap between the humble Jesus he loved, the essential gospel, and the concerns of institution.  He applied himself academically to understanding the Neo-Pentecostal movement of the previous century in which he was formed to reflect on how God moves in the world and his church.  He loved the congregation he served in Liège and the many challenges that came with that pastoral assignment.”

During his time as chaplain in Liège, Paul developed his academic studies, including at KU Leuven, where a contemporary student remembers that Paul’s experienced, reflective personality contributed greatly to discussion.

Beyond his ministry, Paul’s creativity extended to woodwork and building with which he developed the family home for Annick, Ivan and Amy and a guest house.  As one friend remarked, “He served a carpenter and he was a carpenter.”  Paul was described as a gentle, caring man, a deep listener, and someone whose laughter will be missed.

Paul’s health deteriorated over the past three years.  Those who knew him described Paul’s calm acceptance as his earthly life was drawing to its end, as noted by many who spoke at his Thanksgiving Service. 

One colleague says of Paul: “His approach to his own impending death was one of openness to God’s power and purposes, love for his family and acceptance of whatever path was meant for him. This is a cliché, but some clichés are true, but his life as he was dying was humbling.”

Another friend says:

“For me his peace and joy gave me a glorious glimpse of Resurrection life. I have the deepest admiration for Paul’s wife Annick and for the children Amy and Ivan who together form such a wonderful family.”

Paul has been a great friend and colleague and we thank our Lord for Paul’s life, friendship, ministry and witness. 

We keep Annick, Ivan and Amy, and the congregation in Liège in our prayers.

Paul Vrolijk

Archdeacon of North-West Europe