It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Father Marco Lopez, Vicar of St Martin's Church, Plaistow. The Money A+E team worked closely with Marco as fellow members of Newham Citizens, and share their memories here.
Marco was a leader in the truest sense of the word: he showed us how to lead through service to others. Through his ministry at St Martin’s Church, he supported his congregation in any way that he could, expanding the meaning of spiritual leadership. In fact, his calling seemed to be a true vocation. I visited St Martin’s to conduct Listening work, and saw there how well Marco knew each member of his congregation personally, and their challenges. He would help with these whether it was housing, employment, or many other things besides.
He was the hub of a joyful community too, and I was honoured and a little overwhelmed when I was led into the hall of St Martin’s for post-service food and socialising – overwhelmed by the sheer warmth I was shown! To extend that to a complete stranger was a rare and special thing, but that is the community at St Martin’s. I saw how Marco’s congregation greatly respected and valued him. I think we all did.
Marco chose to help when he didn’t have to. He chose to believe in others when he didn’t have to. But he was also humble, not drawing attention to himself, or ever expecting praise and reward for what he did. He seemed to be driven by some kind of light, which he chose to shine on others to uplift us and illuminate our full potential.
I remember him suggesting to a teenage member of his congregation that she act as interpreter for a listening interview. She was nervous, doubting her ability and legitimacy, but Marco encouraged her and delighted in her success afterwards. I felt that combination of encouragement and rock-like belief (with just the right amount of throwing you in at the deep end!) when I worked with Marco too. It was just one of the many, many ways that Marco was instrumental in community work.
At Money A+E and Newham Citizens, we remember Marco’s commitment and leadership; including his vivacious and often very witty MC-ing at events and meetings! And we remember Marco as a kind, generous friend who gave his all to improve the lives of the Newham community. He inspires us and will be sorely missed.
We extend our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences to his wife and family. May he rest in perfect peace.
Suzy Kirby, Money A+E
On behalf of Money A+E Team and Jerry During, Money A+E CEO & Newham Citizens Co-Chair
Read Statement from the Diocese of Chelmsford here.
Read Newham Citizens tributes to Father Marco here.