Over 100 people joined in a Zoom celebration on Sunday evening to commemorate Dr Bex Lewis who died on Thursday 18th January at St Anne's Hospice in Manchester. Bex was a digital pioneer and academic theologian working at CODEC and then Manchester Metropolitan University. Bex worked extensively across many denominations offering teaching, mentorship and friendship to those exploring digital engagement. She was central to the development of the Premier Digital Conference and frequently a judge for the Premier Digital Awards.
The service was led by Revd Lee Battle, minister of Didsbury URC Church - Bex's home church. The service was centred around a celebration of communion using a massive hot cross bun similar to the one Lee had shared with Bex in a service of communion at her bedside a few days before she died.
During the service, the congregation were in invited to submit words for a word-cloud describing Bex and many chose to highlight Bex's open, positive, honest and fun-loving nature. Others noted Bex's academic credentials - covering both digital media studies, digital marketing, and theology. Interestingly, Bex's use of social media and digital engagement seemed to come second to her warm and welcoming personality. Since her death, huge numbers of people have called Bex their friend whether online or offline, whether they had met regularly, or every now and then, or just the once...what a great tribute! Bex's long illness is a minor factor.
As Andrew Graystone pointed out - Bex didn't lose the battle to cancer (a metaphor she deplored) but rather won the adventure that is life itself.
Also taking part in the service was Revd Dr Sara Batts-Neale, a long term friend of Bex, who wrote a moving prayer for those grieving...a much needed moment of solace for all present:
Also present was Revd Pam Smith, vicar of i-church.org, an online congregation in the Diocese of Oxford. Pam first met Bex at a CODEC event in Durham over a decade ago and wrote a moving tribute to her which we ran a couple of days ago. Pam read a poem by Vi Keeland about the choices which we face in life which ended with a poignant reminder that unfinished stories may well continue...
At the end of the short service, Revd Battle thanked those present noting how upset many would be at Bex's death and offered prayers for Bex's family and her many many friends. She also noted that arrangements for Bex's funeral and possible live-streaming of it would be notified on social media later in the week. The service ended with us listening to "This is Me" while watching a whole series of photos of Bex. It was both poignant and wonderful at the same time.