Hundreds of people, including many ex-SPCK booksellers, are expected to gather at Worcester Cathedral at 3.30pm today to remember and show their respect for Steve Jeynes, the former manager of SPCK’s Worcester branch who was found dead, apparently having taken his own life, just over a week ago.
As reported here previously, Joy Jeynes, Steve’s widow, has issued a call to continue to pray for God’s work in Worcester. A few of the many tributes and expressions of sympathy for Steve’s family that have poured in — and continue to pour in — are reproduced below.
Trevor Gibb, 30/06/2008:
Steve was one of the first people I knew in Worcester when I moved here in 1989. As the manager of Icthus Christian Bookshop he was a lively, loving man with a passion for Christ and a heart for the lost. Steve did not just work in the Icthus bookshop he served in it. He saw his work as ministry and was used by God to pray for and witness to many, many people.
He took this zeal with him to the SPCK shop and saw his role there in the same way as as he saw his role at the Icthus shop, serving God by praying and witnessing. This was Steves passion. I am in no doubt that Steve is with the Lord he loved so much in his earthly journey.
Steve Supported ALL the ministries in Worcester and was also committed to supporting the local churches.
Steve will be sadly missed by those who knew him. And he would be glad to know that so many are supporting Joy and the Children in prayer and concern.
Rest in peace mate your brother and fellow worker in Christ
Trevor Gibb, Director Worcester City Mission
Brian Fowler, 01/07/2008:
I am deeply saddened by the turn of events that left Steve so distressed and unable to face the future. All who have been associated with SPCK bookshops have suffered heartbreak as the bookshops chain has been devalued and decimated especially in the very short time since SSG took over the chain. Staff of the former SPCK believed passionately in the cause for which they worked, namely spreading the word of God. Steve worked untiringly for this cause and that will be his epitaph.
Mark Smith, 02/07/2008:
Oh my dear old friend and Brother in Christ. May you rest in the arms of our loving heavenly Father and may He now wipe every tear from your eyes, place a smile on your face and a song of joyous praise on your lips as you sing with the Saints in glory.
I first met Steve just over 31years ago whilst looking for some trendy clothes to wear (he was the manager of a men’s wear shop in Worcester). He always had a smile or grin on his face and, no mater what the circumstances, always had a word of encouragement. Later, when at the Icthus Christian Bookshop he was just the same and although I only saw him infrequently, after having moved from Worcester, I would sometimes bump into him and, as always, he would listen, empathize and then his face would begin to shine and then beam as he uttered a few salient words of encouragement. He was never judgmental and like others I always felt better for having spent time in his presence.
God Bless you Steve, I look forward to the time when I bump into you again and recognize you by your smile. I know that when that happens my own smile will for once, match yours.
Joy, please accept my sincere condolences and know that you and the family will be our prayers.
Janet Fuller, 03/07/2008:
Steve was a lovely, humble, caring, helpful servant of the Lord, whose work was not just a job, but a ministry to all with whom he came into contact. He will be sorely missed by us all. May you, Joy, and your family know the Lord’s eternal arms around you at this sad time, and His strength to face the coming days.
Ewan Gear, 07/07/2008:
I have only just heard. What a shock. What a loss.
Steve’s death is a great loss to all who knew him. I have maintained a friendship with Steve through the years since he began as the Manager at Ichthus. Most weeks I called in to see him and have a chat.
He never failed to greet me whith a characteristic “Hello Ewan!”, and would not only draw my attention to a book or three, but would invariably introduce me to anyone else who happenned to be in the shop. He had a real interest in people which led to him knowing everybody’s name, where they were from, and what church they went to.
I , who knew him only in passing, will miss him a lot. My deepest sympathy and compassion go out to the family and those who were closer than I.
The Christian community of the City of Worcester will be much the poorer for his absence.
We talked often of the ongoing difficulties he was having with the St Stephen the Great “charity”, and his dilemmas regarding whether to continue working with them as their behaviour towards SPCK and the staff seemed increasingly unethical and unchristian. This was balanced against his own sense of mission to the people of Worcester.
He showed me several of the e-mails he had received, and I had been shocked at their inhumane attitudes, and had formed a very low opinion of them and their ways. I personally hold them partially responsible for bringing Steve to the position where his life ended.
I pray that some good will come out of this situation and that in remembering Steve in the future, it will allways be with a grin, rather than with any bitterness towards those who added to his burrdens in life. I take confidence in the truth that God is the Judge, and that Steve’s reception into Glory will be an honourable one.
For more tributes see:
- SPCK / SSG: Tragic news from Worcester
- Steve Jeynes, RIP
- Joy Jeynes: Please continue to pray for God’s work in Worcester
Doug Chaplin has written about the service here: