Donald Foster HUDSON 1916-2003 [Heath 1927-1935]

 

John Hudson has sent us the following funeral oration for his father, Donald:

REFLECTIONS

We are all here today - from many different places - because in one way or another, we have been touched by Dan's life. And we will each have our own special memories Here we gather together just a few of them.

Donald Foster Hudson was born on 29th April 1916 to John and Kate in Halifax. He attended Battinson Road Council School and later went to Heath Grammar School. He was brought up within Baptist church life and went with his parents to Trinity Road Baptist Church. Here were sown the seeds of his desire to serve God overseas. As a young person in the church, he was part of the Ropeholders, a children's group which supported the work of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). This was run by Christine Young, sister of Revd George Young who served as a missionary in China for many years.

Following school success, Don was accepted for training as a missionary candidate at Regents Park College, Oxford, where he spent five years in study and preparation for ministry. He was ordained as a Baptist minister on 6 July 1940 and set sail for India on Christmas Eve that year.

Before we consider a little of his work in India, it is right to note here that he first met Miriam Shaw when they were both children in Halifax. Miriam then moved with her family to Canada, returning to Halifax when she was 18 years old. Donald and Miriam met up again and a friendship was established. Once Don left for India, he and Miriam corresponded regularly although, given that it was war-time, their letters often took a long time to arrive; many were censored, others went missing. After about 2 years, Don wrote a special letter to Miriam asking her to come out to India and marry him! She accepted this written proposal but was unable to travel out to India for another couple of years. Don and Miriam's marriage in March 1945 marked the beginning of a strong and precious marriage partnership of 53 years, until Miriam's death in 1998. Over the next few years, John, Rosemary and Andrew were born.

India was 'on Dan's heart' all his life.

Don was quite a scholar and had three major books published:

1.Teach yourself New Testament Greek
For those of you with any knowledge of Greek, Don proposed NOT using the usual accents on the Greek letters. This caused quite a stir in its day in academic circles but actually led to a significant change in the next major textbook. Some of us here learnt Greek through a book written by J.W.Wenham. This became a widely used text and in his introduction, Wenham notes that he does not use the accents on letters either: 'We are indebted to D.F. Hudson's 'Teach Yourself Greek' for pioneering this revolution. "

2. Teach Yourself Bengali
Regarding this book, a critic paid tribute "to the author's grasp of the people, whose language he has interpreted in this book. "

3. The Life and Letters of St. Paul
Anyone hearing Don's teaching and preaching would soon discover his enthusiasm for the writings of Paul. Speaking as one of Don's colleagues, I know I speak for many in expressing deep gratitude for the way he helped us gain fresh insights into the meaning of Greek words.

Don was also a consultant for the Apocrypha section of the publication of the Good News Bible in 1977. Throughout his life, he helped check proofs of Bible translations.

He was a man of the highest intelligence. Mary and I recall organising a team party one Christmas when we were in Bradford. Mary had spent the best part of a day searching for the most obscure words possible and creating plausible but false definitions to sit alongside the accurate definition in a game of 'Call My Bluff. Don knew EVERY one of these words - but did not spoil the fun by letting on too early in the game!!

BACK TO ENGLAND

When Don and Miriam returned to England in 1967 he was able to develop his gifts. After staying briefly in a BMS house in Leeds, they moved to Bradford where Don worked in one of the earliest 'Immigrant Centres' (as they were then called!) in the city. Then he began teaching RE in Wyke and later in Garforth.

Don has made a significant impact on the life of the city here in Bradford. He worked in translating local authority documents into Bengali; he also helped to establish the Agreed Syllabus in Religious Education; he assisted in the Census work for the Bengali community and was an early member of the Community Relations Council where a Muslim leader showed his respect for Don describing him as a "father figure whose wisdom and counsel were very highly valued by those of other faith communities. "

Both Don and Miriam soon became immersed in church life here in Bradford when Rev. David Milner was based as minister at Tetley Street. They became members and that particular church community was very special to them (and I know Tetley St felt the same mutual respect).

Don would get involved in all kinds of activities in church life, including the Church School Club (now the 'Adventure Centre') where he became Life Governor. He was called to serve the Ministry Team of the West Bradford Baptist Fellowship and, in 1975, the Central Bradford Baptist Fellowship. That is when I first got to know Don well as a colleague and friend. He actively served the Team until just a few months ago. Whether it was in preparing preaching plans; special series for preaching or helping us to develop the Asian Project in the 1970s, no job was too small or too big! As Revd Tony Peck has written: "Don was the 'steady point' of the CBBF for nearly 30 years."

In March 1997, in recognition of Don's contribution to the life of the city and the churches in Bradford, he was one of two Baptists (Melba Goodwin was the other - she may be here today!!) to receive the Maundy Money from HM Queen Elizabeth at a special service at Bradford Cathedral.

His gifts were also affirmed by the wider Baptist community. He actively supported the Baptist Men's Movement and became its national president in 1979. He attended annual conferences regularly until this year. He served our Yorkshire Baptist Association in many capacities, including its Council and Ministerial Recognition Committee, and was honoured as president in 1984. The Ministers meet annually at Cober Hill, near Scarborough and - apart from the time spent in India - Don attended each year from the 1930s until this year. Don also served the General Committee of BMS until quire recently. When the Baptist Assembly was held in Bradford In 1986, Don took responsibility for collecting money from the delegates and arranging accommodation. Apparently, for the FIRST time in living memory, all the delegates had paid up by the end of Assembly!!!

So - a multi -faceted person with hidden depths - some of them unknown to me until this last fortnight. The last one I want to share with you is his poetry. When he came out of hospital in April, he showed me an album of love poems which he had written when he was courting my mother. These are too personal to share with you, but at the end of the album is one which illustrates his humour and his love of written and spoken words. This was a warning to my mother before she made the journey to India as his fiancée.

Catherine his eldest grandchild is going to read it for you.

Catherine Fletcher - 'Little Ones'

Little ones

When you think of India's ravening beast
You must beware of errors,
For though the large ones may be fierce
Its "little ones" are terrors.

You hear of tigers roaring round
And jackals howl at night,
But they're no more than noises off
It's "little ones" that bite.

An elephant may not forget
And cherish grudges long
But "little ones" are always here
To terrify the strong.

A python's gentle fond embrace
May sometimes be too cordial,
But far more fearsome beasts than snakes
Crept out from slime primordial.

A jaguar or mountain cat
Makes quite a charming pet
Compared with all the myriad hosts
Of "little ones" I've met.

The big ones you can see at least
Avoid them if you're able
But the little ways of "little ones"
Are quite incalculable.

If only they would settle down
You'd have a chance to swat 'em,
But when they bite and buzz around
You don't know that you've got 'em.

Abandon hope - you might as well,
Their bites you'll have to stand
There's no escape from "little ones"
On India's coral strand.

Today we celebrate the life of one who was committed to the service of God. We neglect scholarship at our peril. Indeed, we need those who can dig into the original Biblical language and open up for us new challenges to the mind and to our thinking.

Don was a true disciple of Jesus Christ - with genuine servant heart. Serving overseas involved sacrifice - at times separation from partner and family. We know too that this included sacrifice on the part of the children - with enforced absences from parents. Our love and prayers are with all the family today: Don's children - John, Rosemary and Andrew; daughter-in-law Valerie and grandchildren  Joanne, Catherine, David, Rebecca and Emily; Don's sisters - Mary and Nancy; and the whole family circle.

Don would not want a lot of fuss today about him and his achievements. And THAT is the genuine mark of a disciple. When Don was informed of the seriousness of his medical condition just a short time ago, he told the medical staff he was ready to go and meet his Maker! Now he has passed through death (which he once said he found 'intriguing') and has penetrated the mystery of the fullness of eternal life. He is reunited with his beloved Miriam and has joined the glorious cloud of witnesses. As they surround us, as in a great stadium, they encourage those of us still in the field to keep on the same road and to follow the One who still leads the way to Life in all its fullness.

Don - Missionary, Teacher, Scholar and Friend - we give thanks to God for you and honour you best as we take a step closer in following your Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Thursday June 5th 2003
W. E. Whalley

Added: 10 May 2006

 

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