Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Avis Rebecca Henry - a beautiful life well lived

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton/ STAR Editor
Covenant House Ladies paying tribute in song to the late Avis Rebecca Henry during her thanksgiving service held in Westgate, St James, on Sunday.
Lynval Henry (right) and daughter Davina attending the thanksgiving service for the late Avis Rebecca Henry at the Hollis Peter Lynch Multipurpose Building in Westgate, St James, on Sunday.

Pastor Robert Walker said it well. Avis Rebecca Henry's was a beautiful life well lived. Family members, friends and well-wishers who packed the Hollis Peter Lynch Multipurpose Building in Westgate, St James, nodded in agreement as they reflected on the life of the servant of Yahweh at her funeral on Sunday.

Henry, 63, died on May 19.

The little girl who was born to Henry Nathaniel Francis and Mary Albertha Francis, nÈe Downer, in the quiet district of Lucky Hill, St Catherine, grew into a woman of substance who left her footprints on the sands of time.

"She loved young people and children, and she was very happy to work with them, helping out in Bible school, Youth Link and hosting Sabbath school," her daughter, Lydia Henry-Cross, said in delivering the eulogy.


Rebellious teen


As a teenager growing up in England, Avis "was considered to be very rebellious, hating to attend church but had to go to appease her parents," Henry-Cross said.

"She was often quite disruptive in youth meetings until that memorable Tuesday night when what was described as a miraculous conversion took place. It was in this meeting that Sister Valerie Warsop went to pray with a sobbing Becky who was passionately and strongly crying for forgiveness," recounted Henry-Cross.

"This was to be one of the precious memories of Rebecca. However, it would take more than that to convince Rebecca's mother that she had truly changed."

Henry-Cross said that her mom, in a dramatic demonstration that she had indeed changed her life, ripped the stitching out of the hem of a skirt that she had previously turned up a number of times. She then went to church that day with an unpressed hem, which still had cotton hanging from the edges.

While attending church in England, Avis found the love of her life, Lynval. The two were wedded on May 29, 1977. The union, which lasted until her death, produced four children: Karen Broodie, who they adopted; Lydia; Salome; and Davina.

Avis and Lynval came to Jamaica in 1978 and settled in Clarks Town, Trelawny, where they continued serving Yahweh. Avis started Covenant House out of her home and touched the lives of many.

"Perhaps her time seemed all too brief; don't lengthen it with undue grief; lift up your heart and share with me; Yahweh wanted His angel so he set her free," Henry-Cross said.

Avis' remains were buried at the Hillview Memorial Gardens in St James.