Doris Widdness – RIP

Today sees Doris’ funeral, but it isn’t a day for sadness.  Doris led a wonderfully full life serving God, in China, India and this country.  She knew hardships but counted them as naught beside the love of God which she prized and showed forth in her 90 years, along with her great sense of fun.  It is not often that you meet someone of that generation who will say they had to get married, as her son Peter writes:

Getting married was more difficult than they (Arthur and Doris) had hoped as Arthur had signed a contract with the Church Missionary Society to go as a missionary to China. In the first contract of 6 years, marriage was not allowed.  Doris decided nonetheless to also go to China as a missionary despite the 6 years and the many hundreds of miles between the two places in which they were due to work.  Shortly before they set sail for China in January 1948 they received instructions to marry immediately as they would both be serving the CMS in Shanghai and a double berth had been booked on the boat. The boat journey to Shanghai was their honeymoon.

Later when Peter himself was backpacking through Africa, he tells how:

I spent many a night in the homes of missionaries. In Limuru in Kenya I explained who I was and the missionary replied, “Any child of Arthur and Doris Widdess is welcome here”, also getting the advice to – “get married before applying to the CMS”.

Arthur and Doris were not only well-known abroad but also in this country, many theological students passed through their doors and witnessed their great faith in action, as did the people of York Minster and those parishes in which Arthur served.

Having served God well on earth may Doris now rest in peace and rise in glory.

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