RACHEL BOULDING, deputy editor of the Church Times, died on Easter Saturday evening, aged 52. She had cancer, but had continued to work for the paper until the last few days of her life.
She died peacefully in hospital near her home in Sherborne. Her husband, Martin Brooke, and son, Thomas, were with her. She was a devout Anglican, and one of the last things she undertook, during Passiontide, was a pilgrimage to Canterbury.
Rachel began working full-time for the Church Times in 2000, having contributed occasional theatre and television reviews since 1992, while working as an editor at SPCK and at Church House Publishing, where she had been appointed as a kind of midwife to the Common Worship series of books in the run-up to the Millennium.
During her stint at the Church Times, working partly from home but travelling to London to help to see the paper off to press every week, she took charge of the comment section, which was expanded under her management. Contributors have spoken of her exacting standards and generous engagement.
She was also responsible for the faith and reading-groups pages, and commissioned many of the special Christmas and Easter articles, often of considerable theological depth. Her BRF booklet of Bible-reading notes, Facing Death, which consists of her own reflections, came out in January.
She will be greatly missed by her colleagues.
Among the tributes paid on social media already are:
The Archbishop of Canterbury:
The death of Rachel Boulding of @ChurchTimes is a great loss to her family, friends and colleagues, for whom we pray. It is also a loss to the wider church. Rachel was a wonderful and faithful Christian doing a great job.
The Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Revd Paul Bayes:
May Rachel rest in peace — & may our free, intelligent, informed religious press continue to be her legacy.
The Revd Dr Andrew Davison:
Rachel Boulding approached her death with such faith and hope, even producing Bible reading notes to help those who face death after her.
Canon Mark Oakley:
Sad. My friend Rachel Boulding died last night. She was remarkable in so many ways, not least the way she was ready for this journey. RIP
So sad my editor @ChurchTimes Rachel Boulding has died. That she had such faith in God is inspiring. I’m so grateful she put faith in me. Wrote my first piece for Rachel Boulding in 2004. No one knew who I was. (I don’t think she did!) Such an encouraging presence ever since.
The Revd Dr James Walters:
Rest in peace Rachel Boulding, kindly and fun editor of the first book I was ever published in.
The Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey:
So sad to hear of Rachel Boulding's death - kind, incisive editor, encourager of young theologians. I owe her much for trust. Rest in peace.