Colin fulfils wife Jo's dying wish for MPs prayer cards
Norwich church-goer Colin Grey has fulfilled the dying wish of his wife Joanne, to produce and deliver hand-stitched prayer cards for every Member of Parliament both in The House of Commons and The House of Lords. Keith Morris reports.
Jo, a developmental studies graduate from UEA, died in January 2015, aged 37, from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 15 months after undergoing a kidney transplant from her mother Janice at Addenbrooke's Hospital near Cambridge.
Five years before she died, Jo was reading David Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible and came across a verse in Proverbs 10:9 which reads: “He who walks purely walks securely, but he who walks in crooked ways will be found out.”
It was about the time of the MPs’ expenses scandal and Jo felt God give her a vision to send prayer cards with the first part of the verse - He who walks purely walks securely - on them to every single MP and member of the House of Lords.
Jo was a huge cross-stitch enthusiast and over five years she spent literally hundreds of hours carefully stitching 731 cards. For her they were a work of art and of prayer. She was even stitching in hospital hours before she died.
It was Jo’s dying wish that they were all completed and delivered and husband Colin, an ICT tutor in Norwich, set about making it happen.
A network of over 100 people from right across the country responded to Colin’s appeal for stitchers to complete the cards and now, two years later, all 1444 have all been finished.
Colin personally delivered the cards to Parliament and handed them over to his own MP Clive Lewis of Norwich South and Christian MP Nicky Morgan, who represents Loughborough where Jo’s mum Janice lives, and is a member of the All Party Christians in Parliament group.
The cards will be given to all of the new MPs who return to Parliament after the General Election on June 8.
Clive said: “The highest standards in public life do not happen by accident, they rest on the decisions that we make every single day. We don't always get them right but being aware of this fact is half the battle. To know Jo chose to spend the precious time she had left prioritising this is a very valuable message and one we can all benefit from.”
Nicky wrote to Janice and said: “What an amazing project this is and bless your daughter for thinking of all the MPs and Peers. I am sure you miss her very much.”
The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, who sits in the Lords, said: “Colin was inspired by his late wife to continue her project to let every member of both Houses of Parliament know they are held in prayer. The prayer cards which have been produced, lovingly and carefully, have been done in appreciation of the public service of our MPs and Peers, assuring them of prayers for their work.”
Colin said: “Jo’s faith and belief helped her in her physical battles and motivated her to continue stitching the prayer cards right up until she died. She felt very strongly that this was a task that God has given her to do and was her way of expressing support for our nation and Parliament and that prayer was vital in this,” said Colin.
“The idea was that people pray for the MPs and lords, Parliament and our nation while they were stitching.
“Her dying wish was that they are all completed and delivered. It is wonderful that her death has mobilized and inspired a network of people to do something practical and prayerful for our country.”
In a covering letter with each card, Colin has written: “I am not looking for anything in exchange for this gift, other than to see you govern this kingdom with wisdom, knowledge, honesty, and integrity. In the words of Jo herself ‘May true wisdom guide you in all you do’.”
Colin was accompanied on his visit to parliament by Hilda Gordon, who regularly attends the Prayer for Parliament sessions which meet in Parliament and pray for it and the nation.
Read our previous story on this topic.
Pictured top are Colin Grey and Hilda Gordon with Clive Lewis at Portcullis House and, above, Colin and Hilda with Nicky Morgan, also at Portcullis House.
Do you appreciate our service and stories?
The Network Norwich & Norfolk website has been published for over 13 years now and we have an established team of professional journalists covering the activities, organisations and churches which make up the county’s Christian community. Our whole purpose is to support that community by daily providing accurate, unbiased stories and features.
To pay for that service, we rely on our partner organisations, advertisers and readers to, in turn, support us financially. We want to keep the website free for everyone to access and continue to be able to pay for writers to produce the content you can enjoy every day.
We would like to ask you to consider supporting our work and suggest you might want to make a small regular donation of just £1 a week and become one of our 100 Friends, or a larger one-off or annual amount.
Because we are part of a registered charity we can reclaim Gift Aid on your donations if you are a tax-payer.