We speak of Louise da Cocodia, began Edna, to which Desmond responded…
A remarkable and much loved woman and member of our congregation here at St Chrysostom’s. She was ever bright, and like a star, always transmitting energy to those around her, warming them with kindness that resonated from her core
Louise emigrated here from Jamaica and became a nurse. She endured racial abuse but worked through it, she became a champion for racial equality. She became a churchwarden at St Chrysostom’s in the early 1970s, one of the first black women churchwardens in England.
She is ever remembered with deep affection by the people of St Chrysostom’s. She was noted at church for her joy, for her welcome, and for her service. Although a Deputy Lieutenant of the Queen, member of General Synod of the Church of England, Canon of the Cathedral, CBE, she was here every Sunday, always willing to pick up a sweeping brush at church and tidy up after events.
Her example inspires us to work together in harmony here at St Chrysostom’s and to draw in those who are hurt or abused by church or society. Her example encourages us to work for justice in our society.
Louise was encouraging to Michael and I, knowing we were a gay couple. She had been discriminated against herself, and had an empathy for others who suffered discrimination. She was totally accepting and inclusive. She was a loyal and faithful member of the congregation, willing and encouraging to everyone with a smile and openness to melt your heart. She was my encouragement to do all I could for the church and its people. My abiding memory of Louise is the warmth, welcoming and encouragement to all, to be themselves, and help others; her energy and commitment to those who needed help in any way. She always put others first. To the people of St Chrysostom’s today, I am sure Louise would want to say: “Keep on doing the good work of inclusiveness this church has always been known for, long before it became fashionable. Be friendly and helpful to all who need support and grateful to those who join in the giving.”
We have produced a book giving the stories of over 50 different people connected in some way with the church. The book contains an expanded version of this account of Louise. Copies, £4.50, are available from Church. (For more details, including a list of those included please click here).