SENIOR clergy joined millions of people who paid tribute this week to the singer-songwriter David Bowie, who died on Sunday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury praised him on Monday morning as an "extraordinary person". “I am very, very saddened to hear of his death,” Archbishop Welby told the BBC’s Today programme. “I remember sitting listening to his songs endlessly, in the ’70s particularly, and always really relishing what he was, what he did, the impact he had.”
A statement issued on Bowie’s social media accounts on Monday said that he “died peacefully, surrounded by his family”, after an “18-month battle with cancer”. Two days earlier, his 25th album, Blackstar, was released, accompanied by glowing reviews.
Reflecting, in a blog, on one of the tracks — “Lazarus” — the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, expressed a hope that it would “help many people think afresh about mortality: about the reality of death, the struggle and the joy” and “ponder the story of the original Lazarus, the resurrection of Jesus and all that the life of Jesus Christ means for the life of the world”.
The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, described Bowie as an “amazing rock and cultural icon, artist, composer, and culture shaper”.
Among the footage shared on social media was a film of Bowie reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the tribute concert for Freddie Mercury, a year after the Queen singer’s death in 1991, and a recording of the organ scholar at St Albans Cathedral, Nicholas Freestone, playing his version of “Life on Mars”.
In 2003, Bowie told the website Beliefnet: “Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It’s because I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me.”