Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Former Gleaner transport manager fought cancer to the last

Published:Monday | July 20, 2015 | 7:00 AM
From left: David McFarlane (stepson), Ethel Hewitt (wife), Julia Hewitt (daughter), and Andrew Hewitt (son), at the funeral for Bishop John Hewitt, held at the Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ.
The memorial service for Bishop John Hewitt which was held at the Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ, South Camp Road, last Friday.
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The expressions of celebration and joy that punctuated the thanksgiving service for the life of Bishop John Hewitt at the Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) on South Camp Road, Kingston, on the weekend aptly reflected the life of a man who brought cheer to his congregants and the wider community.

When Annmarie Thomas got up to sing You Will Never Walk Alone, one of the bishop's favourite songs, the conviction of the melody and words resonated with members in the audience, for they knew that their bishop never walked alone. His stoic portrait, which overlooked the crowded church hall, served to confirm the tributes which casted him as a larger-than-life figure.

EXCELLED IN ALL SPHERES

Hewitt was remembered as a man who excelled in all spheres. From his years as transport manager at The Gleaner to his entrance into full-time ministry, the tributes paid homage to his life of stellar contribution.

And the tributes flowed easily.

The local executive council memorialised the exemplary leadership that he provided to them, noting that he was never late for a meeting and was always at the ready with some visionary initiative to move the church forward.

The women's ministry shared insights into his excellent human relations skills. "He always had the right words for every situation and made it a point of duty to speak to each of us on a first-name basis," read one tribute.

The tributes went on to highlight his social media savvy as a trait members found commendable, as he was constantly in touch with members of the church via Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.

DELIVERING SERMONS

So effective was Hewitt in delivering sermons to the congregation that the tribute readers could recall titles and lessons from his sermons of old, all highlighting the fact that his sermons brought encouragement and empowerment to the church.

"Bishop had an infectious laughter that could light up any room. He was a man of his word and he lived what he preached," said one tribute reader.

The tribute from the men's department came in the form of a letter to the Bishop.

"Dear Daddy John, your sons are just dropping you a line before we meet on the other side," it read.

"We long to see you kneel and pray those prayers of faith again ... we sure do miss your comforting words like 'man up', 'step up', 'get up'. You are truly a great leader, one that lead from the front ... we really admired how you battled Mr Cancer to the last, you really lived what you preached," the letter continued.

The leadership of the Apostolic Church in Jamaica came out in full regalia to pay their respects to the revered bishop. His life was such that it reached far and wide, making an impact that his congregants will continue to benefit from for years to come.

Bishop Hewitt died on June 29 at the age of 63, following a long battle with cancer.