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Funeral held for warm-hearted rector

PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:02 01 August 2010

THE parish church at Lound was full to overflowing on Monday for the funeral service and mass for a Rector with a warm heart and infectious goodness.

An estimated 250 people were there from the Rev Roger Kent's Somerleyton Group of parishes, from Bungay where he lived as a boy with his family, and from other areas where he was know and loved.

THE parish church at Lound was full to overflowing on Monday for the funeral service and mass for a Rector with a warm heart and infectious goodness.

An estimated 250 people were there from the Rev Roger Kent's Somerleyton Group of parishes, from Bungay where he lived as a boy with his family, and from other areas where he was know and loved.

He had been Rector there for five years until his sudden death at the age of 52, after moving from his previous parish near Newcastle, and they heard his brother, Ivan Kent, in a tribute to him, remember family picnics at St Olaves and add: “We think he was always meant to find peace here in Lound.

“His coming to the parishes at Somerleyton had a rightness that felt like a home-coming, and that in part must be due to the welcome given him by all of his parishes.”

The Rev Professor Peter Galloway, a friend from the days when both were at St Stephen's House in Oxford doing their theological training, described him in his sermon as someone “with a warm heart and a friendly smile. His innocence and goodness was incredibly infectious.”

In regular meetings as a group of friends, Prof Galloway said what came across was how fond Mr Kent was of the parishes - the group also includes Ashby, Herringfleet, Fritton, Blundeston-with-Flixton and Lound - and added:

“What sadly was to be his last job was one which he loved and enjoyed the most. He was proud of his churches and proud of his congregations. We felt we were sharing something he highly regarded when we came out here.

“I can only believe that when Roger stood up at his computer (on his desk at the rectory where he collapsed and died), and fell, the Lord picked him up in his arms and carried him away in his springtime at Easter.”

The service included communion at which the president was the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James. The reading from the first Book of Corinthians, chapter 13, was by Jenny Poole, churchwarden at St Mary's, Ashby.

The family mourners were led by his mother, Mary Kent, who still lives at Bungay, his brothers Ivan, Chris and Peter, his sisters-in-law and nephews and nieces.

Also among the congregation were Lord and Lady Somerleyton, and the Honourable Hugh Crossley and his wife, Lara, at whose wedding Mr Kent had assisted, at Somerleyton Church, less than two weeks before his death.

As previously reported, Mr Kent was born in Nairobi, and moved to Bungay at the age of 11 when his family moved there. During his time in the church he spent five years in Prague as Anglican chaplain to the Czech Republic - his father, the late Bill Kent, was Czechoslovakian.

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