Daughter’s tribute to former Fraserburgh minister

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Reverend Stephen Brown, former minister of Fraserburgh United Reformed Church suddenly passed away on Monday 8th February 2016.

Inverness born, Stephen, was 58 years old and was survived by his wife Jan, son Cameron, 27 and daughter Sheena, 24.

Stephen lifted people’s hearts and never came back from a pastoral or personal visit without making people smile and laugh, even in the most difficult of times.

He had the most infectious personality.

Stephen’s family spoke of how he was their ‘rock’ and that he ‘always thought of others before himself’.

Stephen’s wife, Jan, expressed how ‘even after 35 years, he lifted my heart every time I saw him’.

Sheena, his daughter, told of how he was her ‘leading light in life’ and he was ‘the source of so much of my happiness and laughter’.

When 5 years old, Stephen moved to Caol, by Fort William, where he would run for miles in the mountains. He then moved to Irvine, Ayrshire, where he spent his teens.

When 17 years old, Stephen was in a very serious motorbike accident and always considered himself to be lucky that he survived.

From that day, he treasured every moment in life and his Christian faith grew stronger. A move down to Manchester, after his time in St Andrews University (ideal for a golf lover as Stephen was), was his best move; it was there where he met his wife Jan.

After using the chat up line “Would you like to buy a ticket to my gig?”, the rest was history.

Jan became a groupie! Music was always Stephen’s passion and he began his musical journey as a member of a folk band and in the Manchester Pipe Band.

After being married to Jan for 18 months, Stephen had a calling to the ministry, where he trained at Manchester University and Northern Theological College.

He became ordained and inducted into Gatley United Reformed Church in Manchester in 1989: just 5 months after his son, Cameron, was born.

Sheena was then born in 1991 and he delighted in having a family of his own.

After seven great years in Gatley, Stephen and his family vacated to Purley, Surrey (London), where he continued his ministry in the URC and family life.

Stephen got very involved with the local schools and it was here, that Stephen gained the name of ‘the singing minister’ by kids at schools, who loved his engaging and musical assemblies.

A move to Fraserburgh, six years later, brought Stephen back home to his roots: Scotland. Stephen’s music, within and outwith his ministerial role in Fraserburgh URC, flourished here.

Stephen was known to conduct a wedding as the minister and then perform as a band member of a tribute band to entertain the wedding guests at night!

Shortly prior to the most recent and last move to Helensburgh in 2012( where he continued his ministry in the URC), was the birth of his current band “Thursday’s Child”, with friend and Alloa Church of Scotland minister Carol Anne Parker.

Stephen felt at home in Helensburgh and enjoyed his ministry in Helenburgh United Reformed Church very much.

Stephen and Carol Anne were to head on their fourth tour as a band this week and their most recent album was released on Tuesday 9th February, a day after Stephen died.

He was so proud of this creation and was so excited to listen to it as a family on full blast!

Stephen and Carol Anne wrote all their own music; with their lyrics and music offering space for personal reflection and comfort to all. Jan, Cameron and Sheena hope that Stephen’s music lives on.

To enable this, please visit the ‘Thursday’s Child’ website “www.howeverfar.com” and purchase his most recent CD ‘however far’.

Stephen’s family had a private cremation service late last week and would like to invite all whose lives were touched by Stephen’s presence to attend a ‘ Thanksgiving and Celebration Service’ of his life on Saturday 27th February, 2pm, Helensburgh United Reformed Church.

No black or formal dress. A collection will be held for Save the Children.