Compassionate and caring, Bishop Graham Walden gave his life to God and in doing so, was always there for other people right until his last days at Dubbo.
He reached out to countless men and women during the decades of his vocation that took him from bush brother at Gulargambone and Gilgandra to leader of an Anglican diocese.
Bishop of the Murray in South Australia for 12 years before he retired to Dubbo, he died on November 27, aged 86.
His loss has been felt locally, at the dioceses in which he served across Australia and at churches on the other side of the world.
Known by colleagues and parishioners as ‘Bishop Graham’ he will be farewelled at a funeral at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Friday.
As his family prepared to say goodbye to the beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, they told of how they saw him change lives.
Son Michael said his father’s “biggest thing was listening”, and he would do so “without judgement”.
“The thing about Dad is that he was a very compassionate person, a very caring person,” Michael said.
“He had this gift of being able to just help people.”
He and sister Judy Haling recalled their father had “books upon books of notes and prayer lists”.
“Every morning and every evening he would pray, and he would pray for anyone,” Mr Walden said.
“If you were ill, he would make sure he prayed for you, he prayed for everyone, because everyone meant so much to him.
“He was so devoted to everyone.”
In their grief, the family has found comfort in tributes from far and wide.
Michael reported there would be a requiem mass at Murray Bridge at the same time as the funeral at Dubbo.
A Catholic church in Melbourne was holding a mass for the bishop, and there were plans to honour him at Oxford in England as well, Michael said.
Judy said her father had a “beautiful, gentle heart, a big heart that shone through”.
“His most important love was God, his life was always directed by God, and everything he did he was always mindful of what his teachings had been and what God was asking him to do with his life,” she said.
“And it was always to make life better for other people.”
A vigil for Bishop Walden will be held on Thursday from 7pm to 9pm at Holy Trinity.
The family said if community members would like to come for any of that time for prayer, or to the funeral at 11am on Friday, they would be most welcome.
Bishop Graham Walden is survived by wife Margaret, children Judy, Michael and Adrian, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.