A fine priest and a distinguished Thomian
A FINE PRIEST AND A DISTINGUISHED THOMIAN
Firstly, I would like to thank Godfrey and Olga Daniel for inviting me to write these Words of Appreciation of Father Baldwin.
Dear Father Baldwin,
We are gathered here to celebrate your life and our memories of you.
Having completed your first curacy, the Bishop sent you to us at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia - as Assistant Chaplain and Teacher.
I first met you then, you - a Resident Master and I- a Senior Boarder.
We were quite excited by your arrival especially as you were nearer our age than the resident clergy we had up until that time.
Given the unruly and noisy character of the senior boarders, I remember feeling somewhat concerned that a priest should be given to occupy rooms in such a location.
I remember that on many occasions, you had to come over and -tell us off- when the riotous behaviour of our dorm-mates made it difficult for you to do your teaching or sermon preparation or even get undisturbed sleep. However, you did put up with and manage the situation in a dignified and patient manner without getting the boys -off-side-.
It soon became clear to us that we had an Assistant Chaplain who was easy to befriend. To me - as a senior boarder, a Server in Chapel and later as Senior Sacristan. This opportunity to befriend and work with you was quite exciting.
You provided direction for us to see other possibilities for Christian fellowship.
While the focus on Christian involvement in the routine at College continued to be important, other dimensions were opened up for us by you. One such "project" was the help and leadership you gave us to found the Student Christian Movement (SCM) Chapter at STC and thereby help our involvement in the Inter-Collegiate Christian Fellowship.
Another organization that was very dear to your heart was the Church of Ceylon Youth Movement (CCYM). The great friends we made at Youth Fellowship and CCYM Conferences and other events are enduring ones and do last to this day- and I thank you Fr. Baldwin for this valuable experience.
Some years after leaving College as a student, I returned to College as Teacher and Boarding House-Master. By this time Rev'd.Roy Bowyer-Yin had retired and you Fr. Baldwin had become Chaplain. You had moved residence to "Thalassa".
In your capacity as Chaplain of College, Fr. Baldwin, you were a student-friendly, accessible person, a fine Teacher of English and one who continued to help to maintain the high standard of Liturgy in our Chapel Services. You served all- Students and Staff -in an effective and collegial way.
We had a further few years of Campus-life together at STC- after which you,
Fr. Baldwin, finished your tour-of duty as Chaplain and moved on to Parish work as directed by the Bishop.
You went on to be Assistant Curate or Vicar or Incumbent or Priest-in-Charge or Associate Priest (as the position might be) - at many Churches in Sri Lanka and later in Victoria, Australia. Over the last three decades you have been the de-facto Honorary Chaplain to our OBA Branch in Melbourne.
You also served on the Board of Governors of our Alma Mater, S.Thomas' College.
Father Baldwin, your Priestly vocation was a long and consistent and a continuing blessing to those you served. Your Parish has been sans borders. You visited and prayed for us in all the changing scenes of our life: in trouble, sorrow, joy, sickness etc. Homes, Hospitals, Birthdays and other Anniversaries, Funerals, Requiems are all places and events where you prayed for us. You presided and/or preached at our OBA Australia Branch -Holy Eucharists and other Special Services.
Your pre-retirement and post-retirement periods were equally pastorally active times.
Rather than focussing on career advancement (and trappings of Ecclesiastical high-office), you sought and found your reward in pastoral service at the most fundamental level.
We thank God for a Pastor such as you were - a Pastor according to God's own Heart, one who has tended and fed God's sheep with knowledge, compassion and understanding.
On a personal note, let me thank you Father Baldwin, Sir, for being a long term friend to me and to my family - for being there to pray for us and to pray with us.
When I reflect on my Faith-Journey, I thank God for all those, such as you, who actively directed me in the Christian-Way.
When I visited you shortly after your return from hospital, you remarked: "What do we have to fear men? When we die we will with the Lord. Forever with the Lord".
Father Baldwin, Sir, may Choirs of Angels sing you to Paradise and may Saint Mary and Saint Thomas present you at the Throne of Heaven to hear God's judgement in the words "Baldwin, Well done thou good and faithful servant".
Therefore we pray Father Baldwin,
May you enter into the Joy of Christ's Eternal Easter. Amen