Words mattered to Colin. Words said in the right way, to the right people, with the right tone could, he believed, change the world. That is why he was so committed to accurate and sensitive reporting, sharing people’s stories and giving people a voice. He dedicated his life to doing this, and inspired others to do the same. What is more, he was one of the most respected and longest serving journalists in the Christian world. He was fiercely loyal, totally confidential, and utterly dependable.
He was also one of my best friends, who I am proud to have known for over 20 years.
Colin believed passionately that it was always better to be part of a conversation rather than on the outside shouting in. That is why he encouraged me to get back involved with the discussions in the church on sexuality and stood with me every step of the way – at some cost to himself. Together we launched Via Media, a blog now read by thousands with contributors from across the full spectrum of the Church. Together we set-up my Foundation, for which he kindly agreed to be an office holder. Together we worked on every speech, press release, blog and article – hoping that it would win hearts and challenge minds, and always, always allow the love of God to shine through.
For truth and justice were critical foundation stones for Colin. He felt the pain keenly of those who were outcast and sought to give them a voice. In our catch-up sessions he would often reach out and take my hand, in tears, asking why people were so cruel and full of such hate. This would often be after reading his postbag – there were no words, so we would just sit and silently weep.
Colin bore the pain of being right at the sharp end of wanting to champion LGBT+ matters, which he did magnificently, and yet working in a world that he thought often caused the trauma he felt compelled to report on. It was not an easy place to be, and he did not do it for money – but love.
For above all, Colin’s most remarkable quality was his ability to love. He embodied unconditional love of all – as his friends and family will testify. His loving kindness touched everyone around him, as did his infectious laugh, which emanated in his eyes. His soft Scottish long drawn out “yeeees” was the answer to most things, always positive – always keen to encourage and spur people on.
Colin will be missed by so many, across the full breadth of the Church of England and far beyond. As Bishop Paul Bayes, a mutual friend, has said: “Colin was a really significant influencer in the Christian community over many years, and that he combined this with a quiet and self-effacing personal style.”
His proudest achievement though was his family. He was a deeply private man, utterly devoted to his wife, Libby, and their children, Mikey and Naomi. They were his life and his rock. He lived for them, and will I know continue through them – for the love they shared is unquenchable.