21st November 2013

A Sabbath morning service at Aberdeen Adventist church was transformed into a double celebration for their oldest church member, Violet Buchan. On Sabbath, 16 November she not only celebrated her 93rd birthday, but also the 50th anniversary of her baptism.

Pastoral commendation
Local minister, Njabulo Ndlovu shares the joy of a vibrant life
The result was a packed church of rejoicing family, friends and church members, with the sermon presented by Pastor Victor Hulbert, son of the late Pastor Edgar Hulbert who first introduced Vi to the Adventist message.

Over the years 'Auntie Vi', as she is affectionately known, has been a great support to many both within and outside the church. To emphasise this, and with her son Jo at her side, Auntie Vi and the congregation listened to messages from well-wishers including Pastors Brian McCormac and Bob Rodd, good friend Byron Secoy and former Aberdeen University student, Kish Poddar who recalled her care during his student days.

Vi with friends
Vi with friends: [Left to right} Pastors Ndlovu and Harewood, son Joe, Vi, Debbie Thompson of CLAN, & Pastor Hulbert
A final speech was given by Debbie Thomson, Chief Executive of CLAN, a cancer support charity. Vi had been an active volunteer with CLAN for over 25 years, visiting its members and taking along her famous pancakes.

Auntie Vi is not just well loved for her friendliness and her cooking skills. She is also a poet and at age 93 is also a dab hand on the computer, her email correspondence covering the planet. The morning included two poems from her book, A Pearl of Great Price. Victor Igwe then blessed the congregation with a rendition of 'How Great Thou Art', one of Vi's favourite hymns.

A celebration lunch, and a special cake cutting, climaxed the day. Vi was surrounded by her close friends yet, amid the happiness there was a tinge of sadness and relief for her daughter-in-law who, though alive, was affected by the Haiyan storm which recently swept through the Philippines.

Victor Hulbert
Pastor Hulbert shares a Daily Mail headline on retirement, 'You'll be bored after 10 months!' Certainly not true for Vi who has donated 5,000 hours of time to her chosen charity, CLAN
The Aberdeen members are very grateful to God for the vibrant, Spirit-filled life of Auntie Vi. She continues to be an inspiration for all who come into her presence. During the celebration sermon, Pastor Hulbert likened her to the great men and women of faith to be found in Hebrews chapter 11, and who like the apostle Paul can say, 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness.'

That future is still bright for Auntie Vi. As local minister, Njabulo Ndlovu noted, how much better to celebrate with the living. Surrounded by friends in the packed church it was her best birthday party ever.

[Janice Savizon]


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