Kyle, Dr William Henry ('Bill')
1925-1980; e.m. 1951

He was born on 24 June 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama to English parents. Tthe family returned to Britain in 1936. After an apprenticeship in marine engineering at Plymouth, he was accepted for the ministry and was trained at Richmond College. His contribution to the establishment of the counselling movement in Britain was combined with his work as a circuit minister, which has been described as being 'a ministry of wholeness', characterised by 'laughter, friendship, warmth, depth, openness'. He himself was described as a 'mixture of apparent conventionality and actual great personal force'. He was influenced in particular by David Mace and Leslie Weatherhead.

During his years in the London (Highgate) Circuit, 1957-1964, he trained as a psychotherapist and opened the Highgate Counselling Centre. After further training in New York and Boston, USA, he was stationed in the London (Westminster) Circuit and (with the support and encouragement of Weatherhead) founded the Westminster Pastoral Foundation, which in 1973 was linked with the new Victoria and Chelsea Circuit of which he became Superintendent. His DMin from Andover-Norton Seminary, Boston, Mass. was in recognition of his work at the Foundation. He served on the Board and Executive of the Division of Social Responsibility, was chairman of the Healing and Pastoral Ministry Committee and was one of the founders of the Association of Pastoral Care and Counselling. He died, following a cerebral haemorrhage, on 28 January 1980.

He enjoyed the professional support of his wife Benita, a trained psychiatric social worker with a special talent for ministering to people in pain. She continued to be actively involved in the work of the Foundation after his early death.

  • Times, 4 February 1980
  • Methodist Recorder, 7 February 1980
  • British Weekly, 8 February 1980
  • David Black, A Place for Exploration: the Story of the Westminster Pastoral Foundation, 1969-1990 (1991)
  • Brian Frost, with Stuart Jordan, Pioneers of Social Passion (Peterborough, 2006)