Charles now lives fully, beyond all fear all doubt and all division in the love of God his creator. His guide into this beatitude is the same transcendent person – Jesus the Christ – in whom he lived by faith and discipleship throughout his life.
We believe this as he now knows it, beyond belief. He knows it through experience just as we know through our experience that we miss him and are here to thank God that our lives – especially those of Gilly and his children – were enriched and blessed because he was part of our lives.
His capacity to know reality by direct experience has been expanded way beyond what we can know ourselves today. But our human capacity to know God is the same as our capacity for love and our capacity to love is as unbounded as God’s . Charles has now reached the ‘further shore’. He is lifted up and beyond all limits, all boundaries.
As a contemplative Christian, as someone who meditated daily for so long, Charles was open to this limitless love and now he has fallen into love with God in Jesus with every fibre of his being. His mortal life was preparing him for this because after all, we are what we live. Where he is, there we are going.
For many years Charles was for me a friend and adviser, a selfless collaborator in the community he discovered through meditation and himself passed on to others. His love for the work of meditating with children showed how deeply he understood the importance of this transmission. I trusted his wisdom and integrity and fidelity. He was kind, patient and loving – all fruits of the spirit that shone in him. Even as we miss him, let us be thankful that we knew him and thank God for his life.
On behalf of the WCCM community I offer condolences to his family and friends and deep gratitude for all he contributed to the community of meditators and oblates for so long.
Message from Fr Laurence that was read out at Charles’ funeral
Charles’s presence was so full of energy, so very positive, he gave his whole self to all that he committed to. His warmth, sense of fun, joy-filled face and big hugs whenever he met other Oblates and meditators, quickly put anyone new at ease. He was a man of honesty, integrity and deep faith, a good listener who always had a word of encouragement when needed. He had many gifts including warmth, wisdom and hospitality, full of joy and fun. Charles was deeply committed to the oblate way of life within WCCM and his oblation poured out into his service, particularly in the UK in teaching meditation to children in schools. It inspired him to lovingly compile a video, a most moving recording of children sharing their experiences of meditation. And of teachers offering advice about how to introduce meditation to children.
Experience over time, taught him that there needed to be an online program produced which schools could pay a fee to access. This was in order to teach new staff joining the school how to pass the teaching and practice onto the children so that the teaching didn’t get corrupted or end when staff members changed. The money needed to set this up and produce the program was all donated by meditators who were inspired by Charles’s sound and enthusiastic words and presence. That program is still being used. Nothing was too much to ask Charles if he would be willing to do. The first time at the Annual UK Oblate Weekend when Fr. Laurence couldn’t be with us in person and was going to link via Zoom, it was Charles who was asked and enthusiastically took on the tech challenges and got the link working beautifully.
Charles your physical presence will be very much missed when we gather as Oblates, but we know you are with us in spirit.
Members of the UK Oblate Council, Angela Gregson, Janet Robbins, Julia Williamson
Charles and I – and Patty, his first wife – all shared the same mentor (our very precious Rita Mckenna)as we pursued the Oblate novitiate. On occasions, when Oblates gathered together at Cockfosters, we would come together and share what it meant to us to be on the Oblate Path. We were all at different stages of our journey and each of us in our own way were grappling with some of the big questions responding to our call had thrown up for us.
Questions such as, “Why me? Is this for real and for life? Am I up to it? And, Service. “In what way can I best serve the Community?”
Charles answered this last question by holding pivotal roles within the Community including helping to get meditation taught in schools.
His long experience in running his own business and his generous nature enabled him to share his wise counsel on the guiding board and on the board of trustees which he chaired for a number of years. Latterly much of his energy was devoted to the development of Bonnevaux. Quite a legacy for us to continue building on!
And I feel I can’t write a reflection on Charles without mentioning what it meant to me when Gilly told me that she and Charles were going to be married and to be later present when Father Laurence celebrated their marriage. I can only add that the love we shared taught us the true meaning of community. The lesson we learnt is that when we love one another, we expand and grow and all manner of wonderful things can happen.
Eileen Dutt International Oblate Coordinator