A tribute to Dorothy
The following is a written tribute that I gave for Dorothy at the Celebration Service following her funeral on Wednesday 14th December 2011. It was a wonderful service with a large attendance. I have also included the programme at the end of this tribute. There were three tributes given during the service and further tributes were given by Liz Jones who read the tribute given by Sandra O'Grady, who was unable to attend (which is also included later on), my pastor Richard Woods, Paul Dalton, a lifelong friend who was the best man at our wedding, who gave the reading, Kath Yates who sang both at this service and also at our wedding, and Paul Epton who led the service and preached the message. I have also given a selection of other tributes given from various sources such as Facebook, e-mails, and sympathy cards. I have included a number of photos of Dorothy from the past, being those included in the tribute and some others which I have added. As time goes on I may add other photos.
"Dorothy was born in Wigan in January 1941, the only child of Charles and Esther Swift. The early years of her life were spent in the house belonging to her grandmother Swift with whom Dorothy lived with her parents until she died in 1960. She had a very good upbringing and her grandmother, born in 1872 was certainly somebody who saw many changes in her life, having lived though the reign of six Monarchs and sixteen Prime Ministers, including Gladstone and Disraeli. Dorothy went to school in Wigan and at the age of 16 years left Grammar school in order to commence employment in a library where she worked for the next 18 years or so.
As with many children in those days she was involved in her local church, St Marks C of E and was for quite a while a Sunday school teacher. At the age of 18 years, however, she went on holiday to Llandudno and whilst there came across a group of young people ministering on the beach from the United Beach Missions and she was greatly challenged by the Gospel message that they preached. When she got home she went to see her friend Anne (who is giving a testimonial today) and persuaded her to go with her to see the Curate of the church in order to get themselves right with God and they were both "born again" that night. Dorothy went on that same beach team a few years later and during the years of our married life she would often ask me to take her to Llandudno during August in order that she could testify of how her life had been so wonderfully changed by the ministry of that team, all those years previously.
In 1975, by which time Dorothy was attending the Assembly of God Church in Golborne, near Wigan, I met her briefly whilst she was visiting my church in Birkenhead, and a couple of months later I met her again at a convention in Golborne where Sandra O'Grady, her pastor's wife, became instrumental in bringing us together and we were married the following year.
For the first six months of our married life we lived above a shop in Church Road, near St Catherine's Hospital, before moving to a house in the Tranmere Hall Estate. The church that we attended was the Assembly of God in Willmer Road (now Hillside Christian Centre), until it closed for a period of time, at which time we moved to Wirral Christian Centre. Just prior to that, however, somebody spoke to Dorothy to the effect that God was leading her into seeking Him in prayer and that as she devoted herself to that He would use her and cause her to become a joy to many people in her life. I can honestly say that Dorothy was faithful to that calling and as many people will know, prayer became an important part of her life and ministry. I can well remember when she once went out to be prayed for at a Marilyn Harry meeting that one of her co-workers who didn't know Dorothy declared before the congregation that here was a prayer warrior, and she was so right. I have no doubt that Dorothy will be greeted with the words "well done, good and faithful servant." In a tribute that I gave to Dorothy on Facebook many people made comments in response but one of those that stood out for me was one which said that "she was always full of joy, and left a lasting impression on everyone she met" and that, I believe, summed up her life so well. Many people would also comment on her lovely smile and even when she was so ill during the last few weeks of her life in hospital she still managed to smile at all who came into contact with her.
After we had been married for some years Dorothy's mum came to live with us and we moved to a larger house in Cavendish Drive, where she looked after her for many years and also helped to look after my own mum in our house during the last few years of her life. She did for quite a while help in the Luncheon Club at WCC and later on at the Language School at the City Church in Liverpool, and both of these ministries were ones that she really loved and gave her real fulfilment in her life. Dorothy always had a keen interest in missionary work and especially had a great heart for the suffering church in other lands, and she also for many years fervently prayed that there would be a revival of the Christian faith in our land.
I do count it a privilege and honour that God entrusted me to be the husband of such a beautiful and lovely person for 35 years. She enriched the lives of so many people, not least my own. There were times when she had great difficulties in her life, but she had such a strong faith in God that enabled her to come through those difficult times. She was a totally unselfish person and would so often put other people before herself. Only a couple of months ago whilst in the reception at the hospital, having waited quite a while for a porter to take her to the Dialysis Ward, when he eventually arrived she asked him to take another lady first who had come after her, because she felt that her need was greater than her own. That was so typical of Dorothy and was in direct contrast to the selfish attitude that we see in so many people in these days.
This last year hasn't been an easy one for both of us, but she never complained and she knew that she might not survive with all that was wrong with her. Though I will miss her terribly I can now rejoice with her, knowing that she is now with the Lord whom she loved so much, where there will be no more pain or suffering. To be with Christ, which is far better (1 Philippians 1:23). Our loss though is Heaven's gain. Dorothy has gone ahead of us, but I do believe that the day will not be far hence when those of us who have trusted in Christ, will all meet up again when the trumpet will sound and we shall be caught up to be together and forever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)."
Aged about 6 years
With Ann Vell
As a bridesmaid
Working on a mobile library
At another wedding
Dorothy in House Fellowship in Wigan on back row second left
Wedding day 1976
In Switzerland 1985
With Japanese friends in our back garden 1995
Our 25th Anniversary 2001
Some further tributes
Sandra O'Grady - read during the service
My dear sister in Christ and fellow labourer in the Lord.
My late husband and I had the great pleasure of knowing Dorothy for approximately 47 years, long before we became her pastors in Golborne, near Wigan. So although everyone in church was important to us and became an extended family, Dorothy was the long standing one in our lives, in all those years we knew most things about each other. I don't suppose that most of our members knew that Dorothy and I for some time spent an hour or two mid-week before services commenced, in fellowship and prayer.
Her life was an open book for all to read of her love and devotion to her Master, her conversation was testimony to this also. A loving, compassionate, giving life that emulated Christ's likeness - wherever she went and whoever she came in contact with, there was a light that shone from within her, that many people could see on her face and in fact made mention of through the years, the light and life of Jesus shining through a human being.
I was in a way instrumental in Dorothy and Geoff coming together. I never did much matchmaking in my life but was so glad to have been a part in their union. Surely a match made in Heaven.
I remember well the day they got married. My husband officiated, I was Matron of Honour and our daughter Sharon was bridesmaid. Dorothy walked down the isle, her face radiant, singing aloud "Praise my soul the King of Heaven"; it was something very special that I have never forgotten, having attended many Christian weddings over the years, I have never heard another bride ever do the same…What a unique Christian bride….. and her main priority on that special day was to praise and worship her Master. One of the verses of that beautiful hymn goes like this, "Angels help us to adore Him, ye behold Him face to face". Dorothy is now experiencing what she sang so joyously on her wedding day, she is now seeing her Master face to face.
As a young woman she asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save her soul and received His forgiveness, peace and presence with her in life. Money and no-onecould ever have brought this peace, joy, and contentment into her life, but Him.
Dorothy's desire and prayer was that everyone would have this same experience and know her Saviour.
I salute you in Christ Jesus, Dorothy, for you were steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the service of your Master.
You will be greatly missed because your seat will be empty (1 Samuel 20:18).
Tribute from Anne Vell
Dorothy leaves a heartache difficult to heal. Love leaves sweet memories no one can heal.
I would like to share a few sweet memories of Dorothy. Please forgive me if I call her Jean, she always did.
Dorothy and I went to St Mark's Primary School together aged 4 or 5. Dorothy lived at the top of Larch Avenue, and we lived at the bottom of the hill at No. 1.
We walked to School together
and Sunday School together
and church together.
Dorothy collected me on the way down the hill!
In Primary School photographs we are next to each other. On walking days photographs we are placed together. In High School photographs we are next to each other. We are also pictured together on Christian Endeavour holidays.
We used to stand together under the street lamp talking to other friends. We ran up and down the hill helping with homework!
Eventually school had to end. Dorothy went to the Library and I worked until I could start Nurse training. .
As Geoffrey has mentioned in his tribute, Dorothy found a beach mission on holiday in Llandudno. She came to see me (bearing in mind we had attended Church together 5 - 17) and said, "do you know you are a sinner?" very gently. I must admit I bristled! but eventually acknowledged that she was right, went with her to the Curate and we both committed our lives to the Lord, realising that it was Jesus, not "good works" or "church attendance" that made us into Christians.
Dorothy was a very loving and faithful friend, not that we always agreed but we always understood.
Soon after Nurse training I married and she was one of my bride's maids. We left the area but we kept in touch and I was always struck by her faithfulness and her genuine love for people and her desire to share her faith and her willingness to stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost. She never hid her light under a bushel.
Then came the marriage of Dorothy and Geoffrey, which was a delight.
There were years when we lost touch but eventually renewed contact and it was as if it was only days, not years. At this point I ought to say sorry about the phone bills! I found that she was as steadfast and loving as ever. I was privileged to share fellowship again and also with Geoffrey.
Dorothy's faith was all encompassing and Geoffrey was a stalwart. During her illness she continually said to me that Geoffrey was wonderfully loving and caring.
Life is a spiritual journey from the first day of our birth.
Life is a spiritual journey on the beautiful planet Earth.
Life is a spiritual journey we're here to learn all we can.
Life is a spiritual journey, a special gift from God to man.
It has been such a joy to share some of this journey with Dorothy and a wonderful privilege to call her friend.
Tribute from Mary Smith
My husband Philip and I moved to the Wirral in 1986 and it was then that we met Geoff & Dorothy. It was in later years that we became close friends as we became prayer partners.
God truly knit our hearts together in love. We often prayed that we would be like Jesus. Dorothy displayed so much of the Saviour she loved. Faithfulness was so much part of her; she was a faithful wife and faithful to God. Dorothy had such compassion for people and if she couldn't help them in some way she would without doubt pray for them. she always followed through when she did pray about needs and would keep praying till God answered.
Dorothy held loosely the things around her; she was the most unselfish person I have met. I miss Dorothy, I miss the chats, the prayer times and the laughs that we had but I know that one day we will laugh and chat again and instead of prayer we will be lost in wonder, love and praise (as we experienced many times in our prayer times in some measure).
Tribute from Bridie Metcalf
So pure of heart and so of mind,
A lady of a special kind.
She loved the Lord with all her might,
And knew the joy of His pure light.
So close to Him, now you're at home,
With angels praising at His throne,
I'm sure you'll say, "It's marvellous."
In our memories you'll stay with us.
Tribute from Ellen - Sheffield ( a former neighbour)
I first met Dorothy in 1965 when I moved into Larch Avenue, just a young woman who lived across the road, but my sister-in-law worked at the Library and so made me more aware of her.
As you have said in your tribute, she taught in Sunday School and would take my son David with her, for which I was grateful. Over time I got to know her better and she often spoke to me of her faith, although I had a faith. I began to recognise that Dorothy had something that I didn't have.
I remember well the time when she met you and how often I have seen God's perfect choice for those who love him. He certainly chose you for her. She was happy with you. I began to notice that she became more confident with your guidance.
You will miss her as I miss my late husband Jim, but we have the assurance of their journey's end and can both thank God for it. But Dorothy also had a special place in my life, a special God-given role. Our church cell-groups have been studying the Gospel of Mark on an eight week course, culminating in an away day held on the 19th November, which was held in our church hall, and I was asked to go onto the panel to be asked, and to answer questions, and give a testimony. My testimony was to tell the group about a friend of mine who after quite a long talk standing at her garden gate sharing my faith with her, she left me with the words, "Ellen, I do pray you come to know Jesus, then you can come to heaven with us." I was quite upset and somewhat annoyed, as I went to church every week, I taught Sunday School, I was full of me, what I had done, and I think that Dorothy recognised this in me. I couldn't get her words out of my head and I felt more and more that I was missing something. Over the weeks and months, and now years, God revealed Himself to me and continues to become a greater part of me and of my life.
I thought that I was going to heaven, Dorothy saw that I was missing the main ingredient, I didn't fully recognise that Jesus was my Saviour, not my "good works." She must have loved me to want me to share God's riches with her. I will never forget her for that love which she had for me and for everyone. I have related this story many times and will continue to do so until the time that I too am taken into Heaven's Glory.
Others (a selection)
Today I believe that her twinkling smile has broken into full radiance. Earth is the poorer. Not many people could pray like Dorothy prayed. We who remain must press forward in prayer for our missionaries, for the suffering church and for our desperate need of revival.
What a gracious lady Dorothy was, she was a light for Christ and everyone who met her knew of her commitment to the Lord. Dorothy touched the lives of many people and although we will all miss her she has run the race and has her reward. An inspiration to us all.
Dorothy was always someone I remember fondly, always full of joy. Left a a lasting impression on everyone she met.
A lady of pure heart and beautiful nature, Dorothy will always stay with me as a loving sweet sweet memory. Reunited with her glorious Saviour she is home.
Our fond memories of a kind, bright godly woman will endure.
Dorothy was & still is a awesome & powerful witness for Jesus, seasoned with salt & ready to go whenever the Lord wanted to use her. So full of grace & had an awesome & powerful spirit, that just shone wherever she went. No doubt Dorothy is dancing for joy in heaven with her beloved Jesus.
Dorothy was like a spiritual mother to me for so many years and I will always treasure the spiritual wisdom that she gave me.
One great lady who has left a huge legacy behind and through her smile, love and prayers many will always be thankful to God for such a lady Dorothy Jean Green. You will dearly be missed, am glad God granted me the opportunity to finally meet you after many years of praying for my coming! I know Jesus welcomed you home with open arms, till we meet again goodbye for now.
Dorothy was a delightful believer and we missed her from the Wigan scene when she found such happiness in you . Dorothy was so well balanced and always a blessing . She is with Her Lord and that grants all of us great Peace. It is Far Far Better !!. The book says so. For us a journey with that same friend who saves and keeps us, and will never leave or forsake
To us Dorothy will be remembered for her cheerfulness and for being a prayer warrior. Only in heaven will the effects of those prayers be known.
Dorothy left a legacy of encouragement to pray with the passion of the Lord. The Christian community is a richer place through her faithfulness and faith.
We knew Dorothy in the late 60's and 70's until we moved from Wigan. She always had a smile on her face and she 'glowed' with her love for Jesus. We had many wonderful fellowship times together. What a lovely lady.
Dorothy was truly an amazing person and those who met her will not forget her.
It is as though a little light - her constant smile - has been snuffed out. Dorothy was to me, always so concerned for my welfare and that of our family - her smile as she walked along to the bus or on the way home was always a source of blessing. (From a neighbour).
Dorothy was a very kind, honest and generous person. She will be greatly missed by all that knew here. If only more people in the world were like her the world would be a better place. (Jikki, my niece in Australia).
Headstone of Grave at Landican Cemetery, Wirral
Order of Service
In loving memory of Dorothy Jean Green
7th January 1941 - 14th December 2011
Aged 70 years
Wirral Christian Centre, Woodchurch Road
Friday 23rd December 2011
Hymn - O worship the King
O Worship the King,
All glorious above,
O gratefully sing,
His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender,
The Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendour,
And girded with praise.
O tell of His might,
O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light,
Whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath,
The deep thunder-clouds form,
And dark is His path,
On the wings of the storm.
Thy bountiful care,
What tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air,
It shines in the light,
It streams from the hills,
It descends to the plain,
And sweetly distils,
In the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust,
And feeble as frail;
In Thee do we trust,
Nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies, how tender,
How firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender,
Redeemer and Friend!
O measureless Might!
While angels delight,
To hymn Thee above,
The humbler creation,
Though feeble their lays,
With true adoration,
Shall lisp to Thy praise.
Prayer - Rev. Richard Woods
Sandra O'Grady - read by Liz Jones
Hymn - Praise my soul the King of Heaven
Praise my soul, the King of heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like thee His praise should sing?
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise the everlasting King.
Praise Him for His grace and favour,
To our fathers in distress;
Praise Him, still the same forever,
Slow to chide and swift to bless;
Praise Him! praise Him!
Glorious in His faithfulness.
Father-like He tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame He knows,
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes;
Praise Him! praise Him!
Widely as His mercy flows.
Angels, help us to adore Him!
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise with us the God of grace.
Tribute - Mary Smith
Musical Tribute - The Lord's my shepherd - sung by Kath Yates.
Reading - Psalm 116 - read by Paul Dalton
Ministry of the Word - Rev. Paul Epton
Hymn - To God be the glory
To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the Life Gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God,
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
But purer and higher, and greater will be,
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.