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Obituary: Prebendary Jonathan Eades

18 January 2019

The Rt Revd Dr Nigel Peyton writes:

PREBENDARY Jonathan Eades died peacefully on 28 December, aged 67, in Scarborough, where he had retired in 2016. Cruelly, in addition to the degenerative ataxia from which he was already suffering, an aggressive terminal cancer was diagnosed, which he faced with great courage.

Educated at the Quaker Leighton Park School, Jonathan Peter Eades graduated from Dundee and Edinburgh Universities, and trained for the ministry at Edinburgh Theological College. He was ordained by Bishop Ted Luscombe in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, in 1977, and served for a decade as Cathedral Chaplain and Dundee University Chaplain in the diocese of Brechin.

A son of Staffordshire and the diocese of Lichfield, in 1988 Jonathan returned as Team Vicar, and later Rural Dean, of Leek, graciously interpreting the senior staff’s pastoral schemes to congregations. An infamous attack in All Saints’ Vicarage by an intruder deeply affected Jonathan’s awareness both of clergy vulnerability and God’s grace. A team player and shrewd delegator, Jonathan was subsequently Vicar of Wolstanton, from 1996 to 2008, and Rector of Ashley, from 2008 to 2016; he was appointed a Prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral in 2008.

Jonathan will be remembered as an outstanding priest and a fine person: faithful and effective, kind, intelligent, and sociable, and, as a bishop once remarked, “the most self-deprecating priest” he had ever known. Jonathan was not attracted by the increasing tendency to professionalise the clergy: he shone in being called to a fresh ministry rather than in job interviews.

Jonathan valued gospel theology that helped people with daily life and he was a great supporter of those exploring ministry. University staff and students recall with gratitude his significant influence in their lives, while numerous parishioners over the years are grateful for his prayerful and wise pastoral leadership.

Jonathan would smile at having died on Holy Innocents’ Day – unmarried, he was popular with children, and he loved the Christmas season. Once diagnosed,, he made the preparations for a private family funeral, which was held in Scarborough on 11 January. A memorial service and the burial of his ashes will take place on 18 May, at Mavesyn Ridware, in Staffordshire, where Jonathan’s family home is close by the parish church.

Jonathan was proud to serve God in both the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of England, will be well remembered by many colleagues and friends. Both ordained in Dundee, Jonathan and I were priest friends for more than 40 years, and it has been my sad privilege in recent months to accompany him on his final journey. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

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