It is with sadness that I heard late last night that Jacki died following a long illness resulting from a cancerous brain tumour. Thankfully she died peacefully at her home surrounded by her loving family.
I first met Jacki Turney early in 2008, when she came to the CMJ offices in St Albans to help with the transition to the new CMJ base at Eagle Lodge, Hexgreave Hall. Immediately I was aware of her outstanding enthusiasm for and commitment to CMJ. Such enthusiasm and commitment remained in place throughout the following nine years as she served CMJ in her full-time post of Supporter Care Manager/Office Manager. This post meant she was to so many of our supporters the first point of contact with CMJ. In many ways she was regarded as the ‘voice’ or the ‘face’ of CMJ.
Jacki’s commitment to CMJ often resulted in her going way beyond her work contract especially in terms of offering hospitality. When I became her ‘boss’ in 2011, I often would strongly encourage her in fact to do less and to rigorously ‘ring-fence’ her personal time and space.
It was with great joy when Jacki Turney became Jacki Turnbull following her marriage to Mel (Bill) on 24th August 2013. The wedding took place at Hexgreave Hall alongside the beautiful setting of the deer park. The ceremony was overseen by the CMJ chaplain Michael Martin. This event was one of those special occasions when I understood that CMJ is more than a mission agency and we are more than colleagues, for we are when at our best a mission community and a ‘family’ of brothers and sisters in the LORD.
In terms of Jacki’s work, I personally benefitted greatly from her support, loyalty, enthusiasm, diligence and kindness. It was so good to see her grow in her post and to grow in confidence. A clear sign of this for me was when she offered to submit an Olive Press Research Paper. This paper was titled- “Did God Really Say? - Exploring the Reliability of the Bible”. This paper was published in 2015 and produced much positive feedback. I plan to re-read this paper today as a tribute to Jacki.
Jacki’s illness was diagnosed in early 2016 and she went on an extended period of sick leave. Her employment with CMJ officially ended on 25th January 2017. During this period all who knew Jacki were touched by her resilience, honesty and faith. I had the privilege of praying with her, visiting her in her new home and sharing Holy Communion with her during this time.
Jacki will be greatly missed by her loving family, by numerous friends and colleagues. In a strange way I would want to think that I would belong to all three of these categories. We commend Jacki to her LORD with confidence, hope and resurrection joy.
Please pray for all the family as they grieve at this time.
Many of you will by now be aware of the sad news of Jacki Turnbull’s death yesterday. Our CEO Alex Jacob has already issued a statement which is posted on both our website and Facebook pages.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of CMJ UK, I would like to pay tribute to an exceptional lady whose passing has caused great sadness for us all. My memories of Jacki will be similar to many who knew her, especially all who have served as Trustees at CMJ in the eight years she was with us.
I’m sure most of you have experienced her friendly ‘hello’ on the telephone and the efficient and cheerful way she approached everything she did in both her personal and professional life. Jacki understood people. Her counsel was measured and wise and we were blessed by her generosity and thoughtfulness. I remember her beautiful handwriting, always neat and clear, taking notes in meetings and juggling this role with catering for trustees and staff, sorting accommodation, managing the office and running a home – all in a day’s work. Her gift for hospitality was legendary. Every person who has ever had the pleasure of lunch at Eagle Lodge while she was ‘at the helm’ will testify to amazing food and a warm and welcoming ambience. It always felt like home.
Just two short years ago and not long before Jacki’s illness was diagnosed, the Trustees gathered at Eagle Lodge for our early spring meeting. I had a rather big birthday that week, and to my utter surprise, Jacki produced a cake to celebrate. It is just one wonderful example of her kind and thoughtful nature to bake a cake amidst the hundred and one other things she had to do during a busy week. I shall never forget that thoughtful gesture. It was typical of Jacki’s nature to do such a thing.
As our CEO Alex Jacob has said, Jacki was indeed the ‘face’ and ‘voice’ of CMJ for 8 years. Always welcoming, always remembering the little details about those who called the office and making everyone feel they were special, important and deserving of her time and attention. A gift of the Spirit and of the heart.
Those that knew her will, I’m sure, recall many instances of her kindness and as we reflect on her life and passing into glory, we will all give thanks to Almighty God for Jacki and the blessing she was to so many.
Bill, Luke, Hannah, Josh and Ellie are in our thoughts and prayers as they journey through the difficult days and weeks ahead. May God guide their paths and steady their footsteps at this time.
Wendy Scott Chair CMJ UK