Button, Robert Arthur

Born in Lincolnshire, He trained as a teacher at Westminster College. He became a local preacher and ardent Sunday School worker. He showed his organizational skills as secretary of the First London District Sunday School Council and in 1923 was appointed connexional WMLocal Preachers Secretary - the first and only lay secretary following Methodist Union in 1932. This was a time when the average age of local preachers was rising and their numbers were in decline. A great encourager, he travelled the Connexion, pioneering local preachers' studies and conferences, and offering valuable pastoral oversight. At the Methodist Church Congress in 1929 he spoke on 'The Opportunity of the Local Preacher'. His dedicated service told on his health. Described as 'always gentle, ever sincere, scrupulously painstaking and with quiet passion,' he received a standing ovation from Conference on his retirement in 1937, only a short while before his death at Muswell Hill, London on 18 August 1937.


'Mr. R.A. Button was a fine Christian gentleman, and his death is a real loss to the Methodist Church. I was his colleague for many years in the secretaryship of the old First London District Sunday School Council and formed a very high regard for his character and gifts. He was ever courteous; the moist trifling duty was never overlooked or neglected, and in all he did in the interests of the Sunday Schools of the District there was a genuine love for children ever manifested. He was a preacher of marked ability...'

Rev. W.E. Clapham in MR, 2 September 1937

  • Methodist Recorder, 2 & 9 Sept. 1937
  • J.C. Bowmer in The Preacher's Handbook, No.9, pp.1-13
  • Geoffrey Milburn & Margaret Batty, Workaday Preachers (Peterborough, 1995) pp. 84-93