Church honours oldest member
Organisers of the tribute to Burnham, 95, who celebrated her birthday on April 11, said often the custom in society was to recognise the contribution of persons after they have passed, but the church and relatives wanted to honour the mother of seven while she could appreciate the gesture.
Burnham’s son, Chetwyn, told many an anecdote of the kindness and generosity of his mother, whom he said knew how to love her family, and while they were not privileged growing up, they never felt like they were poor.
“Mum was mother, father, friend, brother, sister, disciplinarian, financier and everything else. One great thing about our mom is that she never left us, she was always there,” he said, referring especially to the period when their father, Gideon went overseas to earn a better living for the family.
“She believed in strong discipline. My mother was our friend and we seldom had behavioural problems in our relationship. My mother credited this with the fact that she was very young when she had her children and so we grew up together, learning from each other as we went along,” Chetwyn stated.
He told of her being a God-fearing woman as well, and one who believed in putting God in front of everything she did as a devout Christian and reading her Bible every day.
It was a sentiment also shared by Pastor Martin Goodridge who prayed for her strength and thanked God for her life.
He said even as head of the church he loved learning from the older members of the church, Burnham being the oldest and one full of knowledge of days gone.
He thanked God for the woman whom he said had always shown a great commitment to her family, moments before he invited the family and elders to join her for a special prayer.
A tribute in pictures was mounted at the rear of the church by family members, while family friend Kenneth Armstrong honoured her in song with a rendition titled A Love Until The End of Time.
In her response, Burnham laughed as she told the congregation of having no clue about the special honour, telling her family and friends how grateful she was of the recognition.
She said she had brought up her family in the fear of the Lord, adding that even now God was her daily companion and she encouraged her family to let Him be one of them too. (LB)