Mace, Dr David Robert
1907-1990; e.m. 1929

Born at Montrose on 21 June 1907, the son of the Rev. Joseph Mace, he was inflenced both intellectually and spiritually by his father and by his involvement in the Young Laymen's League. He took a London degree in radio technology, but then offered for the ministry and trained at Wesley House, Cambridge. Between 1930 and 1934 he was Donald Soper's successor as minister at Oaklands Place, Bermondsey in the London Mission South. As Superintendent of Archway Central Hall 1937-1940, he developed a counselling ministry, but resigned from that appointment in 1940 because of the unpopularity of his pacifist stance and in order to pursue his interest in marriage counselling.

After two years of study, he completed a Manchester doctorate with a thesis on the 'Origins of the Christian Sex Ethic' and, becoming increasingly concerned about marriage failure, joined with Dr. A. Herbert Gray in founding the Marriage Guidance Council (now known as 'Relate'). Following a year's secondment, rather than return to circuit work he resigned from the ministry in 1948. He and his wife became Quakers, but in 1972 he was reinstated as a Supernumerary with permission to reside abroad.

In 1949 he was appointed to a professorial chair at Drew University, NJ. From 1967 to 1973 he was Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University, where a series of lectures led to the publication of The Christian Response to the Sexual Revolution (1971). He was increasingly involved at an ecumenical level. His wife Vera (née Chapman) (1902-2008) shared fully in his career.

He went on many lecture tours and spoke at conferences throughout the world. He wrote over thirty books, including Marriage Counselling and Marriage Crisis (both 1948) and many articles. In later years his interest focused on 'marriage enrichment' and in 1973 he and his wife launched the Association of Couples for Marriage Enrichment. He held degrees from London, Cambridge and Manchester and honorary degrees from several American universities. He died in North Carolina on 1 December 1990. His wife lived to 106 and died on 22 July 2008.

  • Methodist Recorder, 10 Jan 1991
  • Oxford DNB


Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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