Today we celebrated the life of Elizabeth Patten, a founder member of West View Baptist Church. Elizabeth and her husband Bob leave behind an amazing legacy in the form of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who still visit West View Baptist Church regularly. It was often said apparently of Elizabeth and Bob that the only thing they had in common was their love of Jesus Christ. Well, what a thing to have in common. They were in at the birth of West View Baptist Church. When they married they had their wedding at the Headland Baptist Church and their reception at West View Baptist Church because West View was that new they weren’t authorised to do weddings.
Their children, Esther, Ruth, Malcolm and Raymond shared some amazing memories. They told of the latter part of her life where she had been saying to the care staff “Water by, water by”. This confused them because they knew that she had plenty to drink, plenty of water. Esther eventually figured out that her mum was referring to the sung version of Psalm 23, and the verse that ends “..the quiet waters by.” Once the care staff knew this they even printed off a version and kept it prominent in Elizabeth’s room and read it to her when she was agitated. The fantastic words of the Psalm set to music provided the rod and staff of comfort to Elizabeth.
One of Elizabeth’s friends from school proved that teachers jokes did not improve regardless of what era they were from. Elizabeth’s maiden name was Bean, her father was a master draughtsman and her grandfather a freeman of York. When Elizabeth was at school, one of her teachers had the job of monitoring who had had their daily milk and how much. He would run through the list until he came to Elizabeth’s entry, read out “Bean, 2” and then chortle and say “Elizabeth, Where have you been to?” The joke does not improve with age or retelling I’m afraid.
Elizabeth’s son Malcolm read her eulogy and painted a fantastic picture of Elizabeth and Bob’s house, filled with a welcome for children and young people. This welcome extended to many disadvantaged young people who came to stay for respite and holidays, to extended family from around the country, church visitors and missionaries and to friends of friends. Visitors to the church often found themselves at the Patten home, a house of many rooms although when the Raeburn was the only source of heat in the house, the kitchen diner was the place everyone gathered for chat and fun.
Malcolm also described the family memories of holidays around the UK with Elizabeth having every last penny sorted in order to be able to afford the holiday in the first place. Even the food was all bagged up and labelled for specific days. All of Elizabeth and Bob’s children remember the holidays as the best of times. Malcolm also reflected on the fact that although the trip often started with the family car the return leg was often made on the back of a recovery vehicle. Travelling for his mum’s funeral Malcolm unexpectedly found himself in the same situation, travelling in the back of a recovery wagon for the first time since he was a child. He pondered on whether or not this was a canny ploy to save money, weighing up in his current situation the cost of fuel saved against the costs of recovery.
Elizabeth Patten 31 October 1931 to 21 November 2017
“Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country :this world of woe is but the stepping stone to a world of bliss” Charles Spurgeon.