Fr Robert Mortimer Anderson
Sadly our priest Fr Robert passed away on the 12th June, at his funeral his sister Lorna displayed a collage of photographs celebrating Fr Roberts’s life, after the funeral we asked Lorna if we could use a few of her photos to build our own small tribute to his life
What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her
until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle
with each other.
Then someone at my side says: 'There! She's gone.'
Gone where? Gone from my sight that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she
was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load of living
freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her;
and just at the moment when someone at my side says:
'There! She's gone,'
there are others watching her coming,
and voices ready to take up the glad shout
'There she comes!'
And that is dying.
Charles Henry Brent
Fr. Robert was a very private man and although he was only with us a short time, those who got to know him recognised quite quickly that he was a lovely, gentle, devout priest and will be sadly missed.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
'His desire to help others and fulfil his Ministry never waned'
From Bucharest to Addis Ababa, Fr Robert Mortimer-Anderson was widely travelled.
Fr. Robert Mortimer-Anderson, parish priest of Danbury and South Woodham Ferrers, died in June after a life of service which saw him travel the world.
Robert Edwin Anderson was born in Romford in 1942 and attended St. Edward’s Church of England primary and Romford Technical College. Always studious, he would read for hours. Socially he made life-long friends in the Scouts but also enjoyed solitary pastimes such as fishing. He won the Essex County Major Award study scholarship. He worshipped at St Edward's and was always very interested in Christianity and other faiths.
When he left school, he worked in a publishing firm in London. Books were his passion, so he enjoyed this job very much. From there he went to Leeds University, studying theology and also to Mirfield Theological College where he was very happy and again made life-long friends.
In the 70s, he became a curate at Forest Gate and then became a Royal Navy chaplain. Fr. Robert had always loved the sea and this was a very happy time for him. He served with the Fleet Air Arm at Portland and spent two years with 45 Commando Group, Royal Marines, which included two winters in Arctic Norway. His experiences contributed to his fund of funny stories and anecdotes which he could relate with great zeal and a sense of fun.
His Naval term finished in1977 and after serving as a short-term locum in the West Middlesex Hospital, he went to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The people and the country won his heart and until his death he was still corresponding with his then Ethiopian guide, interpreter and car mechanic.
Late in 1979 the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed Fr Robert as his representative in the East Balkans. As such, he spent three years as the only resident Anglican priest appointed to live behind the Iron Curtain in Bucharest where he looked after the English-speaking community of diplomats, business people and third world students who worshipped in the only remaining Anglican Church in use in the Eastern Bloc countries. Once a month he travelled to Sofia in Bulgaria. Customs controls at that time asked: “Have you any guns? Have you any hashish? Have you any Bibles?”
All considered equally dangerous!!
During his time in the 80s as vicar of St Alban's in Romford, Fr Robert planned what would be a momentous journey for himself and his mother, to whom he was very close. Her father (Richard Mortimer) had died in the Battle of the Somme, leaving a widow and four daughters. She had always grieved for the father she never knew, so Robert decided to take her to the Somme to find his grave. As a result of this very memorable and emotional experience, Robert changed his surname to Mortimer-Anderson.
He later decided to join the Catholic Church and was ordained a priest in 1998. After time at Canvey Island, he spent eight very happy years at St Peter’s, Eastwood and arrived at South Woodham Ferrers and Danbury in 2011. Unfortunately, he was already unwell and never really recovered from a subsequent operation. He died on 12 June.
His sister, Lorna, who lives in New Zealand, adds: "Bishop Thomas conducted the funeral service which was quite lovely and very fitting for a truly devout man. God was always foremost in Fr Robert’s mind and his desire to help others and fulfil his Ministry never waned." May he rest in peace.
Bilbo's Last Song
Day is ended, dim my eyes,
But journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship's beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
Beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the sea.
Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
The wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
Beneath the ever-bending sky,
But islands lie behind the Sun
That I shall raise ere all is done;
Lands there are to west of West,
Where night is quiet and sleep is rest.
Guided by the Lonely Star,
Beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I'll find the heavens fair and free,
And beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship my ship! I seek the West,
And fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the star above my mast!