Before I preached my first Sunday at St. Thomas’ back on September 15, 2013, I had been told of an esteemed man in the parish named Henry Walters. He was the Headmaster Emeritus; he had led the school for decades before retiring and he then took up lay leadership in the church. As a first-time rector, I climbed into the pulpit, looked out to the back of the church on the Epistle side, and saw Henry and Wanda, his wife. He caught my eye and smiled one of the warmest, most encouraging and sweetest smiles I have ever received; I launched into what I am sure was a fairly underwhelming sermon. Later he commented to someone, knowing it would get back to me: “He looks like he knows what he is doing up there.”
It was a blessing. I had been blessed by a man full of blessings. How often do we consider the power and fructifying nature of pure blessing? If you knew Henry Walters, the thought might have occurred to you.
This past Monday, Henry Walters passed through the waters of death and arrived at the Celestial City where he met his Savior face to face. This past Monday, in the mystery of a God to whom time and space mean nothing, Henry Walters heard this from His King: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” He was a missionary for Christ to thousands of students, parents, teachers, and friends. He was a Headmaster, a senior warden, a teacher, a counselor, a father, a husband, a fellow traveler, a confidant, a mentor, a friend, and a father figure. Most of all, though, he was a servant of his Lord Jesus Christ.
Who can count the number who have been impacted by his ministry to us? Words fail to capture the impact Henry Walters had in his life. Failing words, though, meet a warm, encouraging, sweet smile—a smile of blessing and encouragement—a smile that gives us the courage to press on towards the goal.
In the short time I knew you, Henry my brother, I looked to your ministry, service, and devotion to Christ. Joining the chorus of St. Thomas’ people everywhere, I am grateful for your warm support, love, and blessing. Godspeed, fellow traveler. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.