An appreciation of Ed Ellis, a kind encourager
Ed Ellis, who with his wife Suzie was a former warden of the Quiet Waters Christian Retreat House, died peacefully on June 21. Dan Waite pays tribute.
Tributes have flooded in from across East Anglia to the home of Ed Ellis, who collapsed following a cardiac arrest late on Sunday June 21. He died peacefully at James Paget Hospital at 8pm on the Monday evening, surrounded by Suzie and their family, and joined by an old friend, Rev Danny Pritchard, now chaplain in the hospital. Danny spent much precious time with them throughout the day and at the end.
Born in 1944, Ed served 22 years with the RAF, mainly in experimental radar, and satellite and missile tracking, and he was involved in supporting several manned moon missions. He married Suzie in 1965, and they have three children and several grandchildren.
In 1989 (five years after a dramatic conversion), they were called to live by faith and serve God in the Waveney Valley. I met them during the 1990s when they were joint Wardens of Quiet Waters Christian Retreat House in Bungay. Both had 5 years training with Wholeness Through Christ, so alongside hospitality, worship and teaching they also ministered in prayer counselling; and many guests and church groups were greatly blessed by them.
Later Ed was called to be a Lay Reader and Suzie was ordained Priest. They initially served in the Saints benefice in Suffolk, the Saints being a group of parishes in the Waveney valley including Ilkeshall and South Elmham, where all the villages names include the names of saints.
Suzie was appointed to Worlingham, North Cove and Barnby, first as priest in charge and then as benefice rector. So Ed was immediately involved in a flourishing ministry within the churches, local schools and wider community. Preaching, taking funerals, erecting marquees, delivering parish magazines, co-leading after-school clubs, Ed was always in the thick of it all.
Retiring in 2015, they moved to Gorleston, where both have been an integral part of the ministry at St Andrew’s, as well as serving other local churches in vacancy. Ed joined the Open the Book team visiting local schools and enthusiastically acting out or narrating Bible stories. He and Suzie joined ‘Open Church’: a new outreach, where, with servant heart, he supported the setting up, clearing away and inevitable washing up, as well as befriending and praying with many regulars. During lockdown he faithfully supported Foodbank and offered help and care within the local neighbourhood.
He was a kind Christian - a ‘Barnabas’ personified - an encourager with head and heart for God, and a great love for his family. Full of passion and energy for mission, he had a good, even mischievous, sense of humour; and when passing on his faith he always had a story.
Ed met every situation practically and prayerfully, before handing it back to God after each encounter. He was willing to help others in need, and one only had to ask for help or advice and Ed was immediately on it.
He was a man who with joy willingly filled every gap, from hospitality and care for the vulnerable, to weeding the churchyard or helping a troubled householder fix a shed roof or tame his overgrown trees.
Ed had his own ministry but was hugely supportive of Suzie in her calling, and he always maintained that the real strength came from the prayer and unity of their lives. For over 30 years both have made a significant contribution to the Christian scene in Norfolk and Suffolk; and now one of God’s beloved children has come home to his well-earned reward in heaven.
Pictured above is Ed Ellis