Braley, Bernard

Music publisher, born in Highbury, London. Although baptized at St. John's parish church, he grew up in Highbury Quadrant Congregational Church, under the influence of a Sunday School teacher who also imparted his pacifist views. A scholarship took him to the City of London School, which was evacuated to Marlborough during the war. On leaving school at 17, he joined the Crusader Insurance Company to train as an actuary and renewed his association with Highgate Congregational Church. His independence of mind both at school and in the church led him after his marriage in 1949 to try all the churches in Reigate before becoming a Methodist. He helped with the Young People's Guild and the drama group and in 1954 became a local preacher. He was also involved in the local Council of Churches and in establishing a branch of the Samaritans.

Joining the Galliard publishing company, in 1966 he moved to Belton, Norfolk, worshipping at Gorleston Methodist Church, where involvement in experimental styles of worship led to his publication of songs, hymns and other worship material. He became managing director of Stainer & Bell, a firm with which his family had been connected since its founding in 1907. His association with Fred Pratt Green began with their editing of Partners in Praise, an ecumenical hymnbook for all-age worship, in 1976.He edited the hymns of Pratt Green, including two collections of his Hymns and Ballads (1982, 1989) and compiled a memorial volume Serving God and God's Creatures (2001). He was the first chairman of the Pratt Green Trust.

In 1969 he moved back to London on health grounds and attended Manor Drive church and then East Finchley, where under his influence community and ecumenical events were organized. 'Bernard's wish was for all Christians to worship honestly in a way that reflected life in the 20th century.'

  • Methodist Recorder, 13 March 2003


Entry written by: JAV and PLC
Category: Person
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