Wakefield, Dr Gordon Stevens
1921-2000; e.m. 1943

A foremost liturgist and expert on the development of spirituality, born at Crewe on 15 January 1921. The rheumatic fever he suffered from in childhood made him unfit for national service in World War II. He became a local preacher at 19 and during his ministerial training at Wesley House, was greatly influenced by R. Newton Flew, whose biography he later wrote. He was the youngest ever Fernley-Hartley lecturer with his Puritan Devotion (1957) for which he gained an Oxford B.Litt. His Wesley Historical Society Lecture, Methodist Devotion: the Spiritual Life in the Methodist Tradition 1791-1945 (1966) filled a key gap. He later co-operated in many ecumenical studies of spirituality, wrote An Outline of Christian Worship (1998) and Methodist Spirituality (1999)and edited the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (1983). He was Connexional Editor, 1963-1972, Chairman of the Manchester and Stockport District, 1971-1979 and Principal of The Queen's College, Birmingham 1979-1987, being the first Methodist minister to hold that office, the first to receive a Lambeth DD (1986) and the first to preach in Westminster Cathedral. He was a member of the Conference Worship Commission from 1957 and of the Faith and Order Committee from 1962, and was involved with the 1975 Methodist Service Book. In retirement at Lichfield he was closely involved with the cathedral, as well as with the local Methodist church, and for three years was Director of the Alister Hardy Centre for Research into Religious Experience. He died in Lichfield on 11 September 2000 and his funeral was held in Lichfield cathedral.

  • Frances Young, in Epworth Review, April 1997
  • Times, 15 September 2000
  • Methodist Recorder, 21 September 2000
  • Gordon S. Wakefield, My Providential Way [sermons, with tribute and autobiographical recollections] (Buxton, 2000)
  • Oxford DNB