Bishop Stephen sends the following message through his blog
Dear Friends and Well-wishers,
First of all, I want to thank you, on behalf of Fawna, my Mom, Emmy Lou, and my brother and his wife, Mike and Darlene, for the tremendous outpouring of prayer that we know is ascending even as I sit down to write. The last day and-a-half has been filled with joy at our reunion with Dad and sadness about the stroke that has impaired his once-vigorous body. We have sensed the love and support of so many, and I can say that I believe that my Dad is at peace with the world and, most importantly, with God. I would not claim that he is at peace with his deteriorating frame. I suspect it frustrates him.
Nevertheless, we are preparing ourselves for the reality that he is not going to get better in this world. We had the sober family gathering with the doctor yesterday and asked simply that Dad be kept comfortable. The doctor was wary of making any predictions, but he guessed that we would have a couple of days.
The OED says that the word ‘expire’ means, technically, ‘to exhale (air) from the lungs’. It is taken from the Latin ex spirare,‘to breathe out’. Dad is expiring. As his breathing becomes more laboured it is as if bits of life are being released into the room. They escape in increments so small that it takes hundreds, thousands of contractions of his lungs, and we watch prayerfully, almost worshipfully, as he goes about his final work on this earth.
And yet, his expiration is an inspiration for those of us who surround him. We are taking in those bits of life. Each breath brings a memory; each breath summons a friend; each breath reminds us both of God’s goodness and our own mortality. These are sacred moments.
Bishop Michael Hawkins wrote with characteristic insight: ‘The Lord bless his going out and his coming in.’ As with all those on the threshold of the kingdom in its fullness, we would ask you to continue to pray for us as we commend him into the hands of a faithful Creator and most merciful Saviour.