Eric Read – an appreciation!
Eric during construction of Tukum Bridge, Uganda
With an impressive background in Agricultural, Design, Mechanical and Water Engineering, Eric’s offer to CHIPS in 1991 for constructing a new water-supply pipeline in the Southern Philippines was an amazing answer to prayer!
From a Devon farming family, Eric’s down-to-earth, rather gruff exterior belied his deep compassion, rooted in a practical, biblical spirituality that fuelled his unwavering purpose to work hard for others’ wellbeing. Out in a boat on his day off one day, he realised he was being followed by bandits keen to kidnap “foreigners” for ransom. Remembering a lesson from CHIPS’ training, Eric then experienced Jesus’ peace in the midst of fear. At length, his pursuers turned around and disappeared!
In 1993, all foreigners had to leave – so Eric transferred to CHIPS’ Uganda project, sharing a little round house with Mark Galpin – taking over as Project Co-ordinator when Mark moved on a year later. Over the next five years, Eric worked hard by example: he was the first to lift the spade and to cope with setbacks, and this was admired by all, especially project team members. He also managed the finances and team efficiently, applying rules fairly, without favours – difficult to do with poverty all around. During that time he married Sandra from the Philippines. Together they made a huge impact on every aspect of life around them.
Back in England, Eric spent seven years modifying agricultural machinery for robotic landmine clearance, before he and Sandra went as CMS mission partners to Congo with their two children, to do community transformation and development.
In 2011, they returned to the Philippines, still with CMS, training churches in community transformation and practical peacemaking, including through farming.
Eric’s contribution as a trustee from 2003, including five years as Chairman until 2011, has been consistently invaluable: his project experience, financial acumen, and wise personal support, are sorely missed among us.
We are deeply thankful for all that Eric and Sandra have given us over many years, and we wish them, with Peter and Atiyyah, God’s richest blessings on their future, wherever God leads them!