I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of my friend, Paul Moroney’s, sudden passing recently. While I haven’t been particularly close to Paul and Hilary Moroney in the last couple of years, I still have many fond memories of him from the various events I have attended at Canberra House of Prayer (C-HOP) since it has opened.
I feel blessed that I was able to see Paul just a few weeks ago, when I went to a Redhill church worship night held at C-HOP. I was returning a book which I had borrowed for an embarrassingly long time (probably at least two years!) and yet he was so forgiving and good-humoured about it.
When I ducked into the dining room by myself to have a quick snack, he teased me about it in a joking way and said, “Taking care of the things of the flesh before the things of the Spirit?!” Haha! I always appreciated his ability to lighten the mood with his cheeky sense of humour. I would often find myself laughing aloud when I had a conversation with him!
Another time several years ago, after praying for a close friend at C-HOP and seeing an exciting spiritual breakthrough, Paul asked afterwards, “What’s your secret? Chocolate? Jelly beans?” I explained that my real secret was fasting for two days!! Paul didn’t take himself too seriously, which was quite refreshing. I also recall spending time with Paul and Hilary several years ago, when we went to a passover dinner at a church in Gundaroo. Paul was very hospitable and willingly welcomed people into his home.
Often when I would go to visit C-HOP, Paul Moroney would be there and I would sit in the dining room and have a chat to him. He was easy to talk to, being so accepting and non-judgemental. He always felt safe and approachable to me, like a warm, fatherly figure. As a young woman, sometimes I have felt uncomfortable around older men, but it was never awkward with Paul. I could tell he was genuine, trustworthy and pure.
Paul Moroney was a kind, gentle and servant-hearted man, who was always working behind the scenes to ensure things ran smoothly at C-HOP. You could find him cooking in the kitchen, sitting at the front reception desk doing admin, praying in the chapel, or filming a special event. Paul was certainly dedicated and committed. While he didn’t draw much attention to himself, he was a true leader, who served faithfully and generously.
I was really touched when I went to the memorial service last Saturday. Hilary shared about how Paul sensed God speaking to him shortly before he died, about entering a new season and a new life. He talked about soaring like an eagle, and was genuinely excited. I don’t think he realised at that time the full meaning of those words – but I believe they have been fulfilled.
Paul Moroney was a wonderful, godly man of strong character, and I’m sure he will be deeply missed by many. I truly respected him, and I want to honour his memory with this brief tribute.
I would like to finish with this song in honour of Paul: