Well-loved church leader laid to rest
The New Testament Church of God in Commodore, Linstead, St Catherine, was packed to capacity recently as scores of mourners turned out to pay their last respects to late church overseer the Rev Anthony Alexander Fennell.
The tributes paid to the well-loved and respected church leader gave a clear picture of a man who worked hard for God and humanity. Almost all those who paid tribute saw him as a man who loved God and the work he was called to do, but the eulogy, done by his daughter-in-law, Carolyn Lewis-Fennell, summed him up nicely.
Lewis-Fennell told mourners that her father-in-law was introduced to God and His work early in his life. She shared that for him, church was a must.
"As a youngster, Anthony only loved going to youth fellowship and was often reluctant to go to Sunday school or divine worship, and so, his mother would march behind him on a Sunday morning, switch in hand, to keep him in line," shared Lewis-Fennell.
She noted that when her father-in-law left Westmoreland to live in St Catherine in the late 1970s, a change occurred in him, resulting in him becoming a powerful man of God. She pointed out that from his earliest days, he showed a keen sense of responsibility and a heart for service, seeing to it that everyone around him was taken care of.
"One day, his mother went to the river to do some washing, hoping to return in time to prepare lunch for her older children who were at school. She had spent longer than planned at the river and returned home only to find five-year-old 'Devon' with six roasted breadfruits that he had, by some miracle, picked and roasted - one for each member of the family and himself," Lewis-Fennell said.
She told mourners that Fennell was a strict, but good father who taught his children the value of hard work.
"All his children had to be active in the church and church activities. They played the instruments and did whatever task assigned by their father. On many occasions, they heard, 'Do God's work, and He will help you with your schoolwork. Build God's house, and He will build yours'," Lewis-Fennell said.
The late Fennell was described as a man who loved and encouraged fellowship. Lewis-Fennell shared that he would often cook and invite persons to his home to sit and talk.
"He exemplified excellence and accepted nothing less. This attribute he passed on to his children, and those who come in contact with them can testify to their almost compulsive attitude towards doing things excellently and in order," said Lewis-Fennell.
Anthony Fennell was the fourth of five children born to Wilfred and Ida Fennell on January 22, 1956. Along with his siblings, he attended the Retrieve All-Age School in Westmoreland. Fennell got married to Joan in 1978. The union produced seven children, one of whom predeceased him.
Lewis-Fennell noted that the late church leader's spirit will continue to live in his wife Joan, his six remaining children, his brother and sisters, his grandchildren, nieces, nephews, adopted sons and daughters, church brethren, and other relatives and friends.
Following the funeral, Fennel's body was interred at the Commodore Cemetery.