I DONT KNOW WHETHER Janet and Phil Ketteringham ever owned a Welcome mat during their forty-year marriage to date, but I do know that anyone who ever met them – or theirs – has needed no such quaint assurance. For “Welcome” must have been written into the DNA of this extraordinary couple. A huge gathering of their family and friends celebrated their Ruby Wedding anniversary with them tonight; their lovely daughters, son and grandchildren, together with their families, siblings, friends from way back, and their most recent friends too.
And – basking in the warmth of a great love – there cannot have been a person present who didn’t feel that they were honoured members of one large family. Janet and Phil Ketteringham are amongst the best models of marriage I know, and shining examples in their very persons of what the Body of Christ is called to be – for and amongst every man, woman and child upon the face of the earth. St Michael & All Angels Bramhall is blessed beyond measure that former churchwarden Janet is, these days, our parish administrator – anchor, friend and confidante to vicar, present-day churchwardens, and virtually every area of our shared parochial life. And all of us owe Phil and the family for the support they afford Janet’s quite out-of-the-ordinary ministry.
Janet & Phil, accompanied by their young grand-daughter Eva, shared in prayers of Remembrance at 8am today on an anniversary of a searingly different kind. I thank God with all my heart that love and welcome like the Ketteringham’s – and that of countless millions of other praying souls today – shines with a brightness and a holiness that changes human hearts. In such love and in such wide familial embrace lies hope for the future of all humankind.