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John Kennedy


25 June 1958 – 26 July 2022

‘For I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a foreigner and you invited me in.’ 

Matthew, 25:35

Beloved family and friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of John Kennedy Bingham. He died suddenly on Tuesday, the 26th of July 2022, in his countryside home in Bercenay-en-Othe, France. 

John, Ken, Dad, who radiated love and joy. A fountain of compassion and dedication, he committed his life to advocating for migrants and their rights. He inspired so many of us through the gentleness and generosity with which he treated all around him, serving others and striving to make each and everyone feel included and valued.

“Family first” as he would preach, and practice. He was profound in his faith, diligent in his gardening and had an uncanny taste for poetry.

The funeral will take place on Monday, the 1st of August 2022 at 3PM in the Church of St Antoine in Bercenay-en-Othe, followed by a burial in the neighboring cemetery.

We are distraught to see him leave so soon and so abruptly.

He made the world all the more graceful; it is a dimmer place without him.

His wife Agnès, his children John, Thomas, Jérémy and Matthias, and their partners will miss him dearly.

Chère famille, chers amis,

Nous avons la profonde tristesse de vous annoncer le retour à Dieu de John Kennedy Bingham, dit Ken, mort soudainement le mardi 26 juillet 2022 à Bercenay-en-Othe (Aube).

John, Ken, Dad, rayonnant d’amour et de joie. Un torrent de compassion et d’engagement, il a consacré sa vie à la défense des migrants et de leurs droits. Il a inspiré tant d’entre nous par sa gentillesse et sa générosité, s’efforçant toujours de faire en sorte que chacune et chacun autour de lui se sente inclus et estimé.

« Family first » disait-il, et ainsi agissait-il. Il était profondément croyant, jardinier hors pair et avait un goût étonnamment prononcé pour la poésie.

Les funérailles auront lieu le lundi 1er août 2022 à 15h en l’église St Antoine de Bercenay-en-Othe, suivie d’une inhumation dans le cimetière voisin.

Nous sommes désemparés de le voir partir si tôt, si brusquement.

Le monde est plus beau grâce à lui, mais moins beau sans lui.

Il manquera terriblement à sa femme Agnès, à ses enfants John, Thomas, Jérémy et Matthias, et à leur conjoint.

Livestream of the funeral (see below) / Retransmission des funérailles (voir ci-dessous)

Wake (Sunday 31st of July 2022) / Veillée (dimanche 31 juillet 2022)

Funeral & Burial (Monday 1st August 2022) / Funérailles & enterrement (lundi 1er août 2022)

Service Booklet / Livret de messe

Eulogy translations / Traductions des témoignages

Online global memorial for John Kennedy Bingham : 15th august 2022

Cérémonie commémorative en ligne pour John Kennedy Bingham : 15 août 2022

An online memorial was held in honor of John Kennedy Bingham on 15 August 2022, at 3:00 PM (GMT +2, Paris time).

Une cérémonie commémorative en ligne en l’honneur de John Kennedy Bingham s’est tenu le lundi 15 août 2022, à 15h00 (GMT +2, heure de Paris).

Flowers for John / Fleurs pour Ken

In honour of John’s love of nature, we suggest that you plant a flower or tree in your garden in his memory.

En hommage à son amour pour la nature, nous vous invitons à planter une fleur ou un arbre dans votre jardin en mémoire de Ken.

Donation to a cause / Don pour une cause

As you know, John was a fervent defender of human rights, and dedicated his life to helping migrants. In his memory, a GoFundMe page has been created to collect donations in his name which will then be transmitted to L’Auberge des Migrants, an association that has been working with refugees and displaced people in Calais (on the British-French border) and the surrounding area since 2008.

Comme vous le savez, Ken était un fervent défenseur des droits humains, et a consacré sa vie à aider les migrants. En sa mémoire, une cagnotte à son nom a été créée, dont les fonds seront transmis à L’Auberge des Migrants, qui depuis 2008 est sur le terrain auprès des exilés à Calais (sur la frontière franco-britannique) et ses environs.

Tributes to John / Hommages à Ken

Poems / Poèmes

In Memory of John Kennedy Bingham
By Gibril Faal, colleague

The hundreds of people who knew him;
They learnt of humanity, empathy and kindness,
Normalised, regularised, personified, exemplified.

The thousands of people who met him;
They witnessed a humanitarian at work,
Without break from his destined vocation,
With humility, humour and honour;
Constant in his search for connections,
Policy and political; personal and poetic,
So that goodness may abide and abound,
For joyous beauty to prevail and pervade,
In this our troubled world; our only home.

He could not avert his gaze from injustice and inequity,
Nor avoid the quest for fair solutions and progression,
He could not stop himself; for God had made him so.

Across continents, cultures and creeds,
And for the migrants and the diaspora,
And the refugees and the asylum seekers,
And the displaced and the banished,
And the children and the vulnerable,
And the distressed and the excluded,
And the forgotten and the unknown;
They did not know John Kennedy Bingham,
It was John Ken who knew them.

For the successes in advocacy, policy and practice,
Migrant lives have improved in diverse and varied ways,
And in these we see; the heart, head and hand of our John.

And for the work yet undone; we now invoke his spirit,
For neither death, nor time; shall dim or dull,
His infinite and sublime aspiration and inspiration.

* *


Ode to John
by Pavel Nash, cherished family friend

There was once a fellow
From an Island so long
A most noble fellow
Whose first name was John

He left his long island
For the world was a mess
To do the Lord’s work
With beloved Agnes

I met him in France
On old Malivert Road
He chimed to me proudly:
“Bud, what’s the good word?”

Though he majored in law
I quite soon discovered
He was a master of pancakes
All covered in Butter

He would summon us down
With the old dinner Bell
To feed his four hungry boys
Often others as well…

He spent his life giving
To those we’ve forgotten
He stood for: The weak,
The poor, the downtrodden…

Though today we feel sorrow
I can feel far less anger:
For though the Earth lost a hero
Heaven, in turn, gained an angel

Online / En ligne