Church, Dr Leslie Frederic
1886-1961; e.m. 1908

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WM minister and historian, born at Chester-le-Street. He trained for the ministry at Headingley College. He taught Church History and Pastoral Theology at Richmond College 19291935 and was Connexional Editor 1935-1953. He was a gifted preacher, broadcaster and writer. His Fernley-Hartley Lecture of 1948, published asThe Early Methodist People (1948) and More about the Early Methodist People (1949) was a pioneering study of the Methodist laity. During his presidential year (1943-44) his house was destroyed in an air-raid, but he continued to serve both the home Church and those serving in the Armed Forces, for whom he provided books and devotional material. He died on 17 January 1961.

Quotations

'Never has a Governor anywhere been more greatly beloved. We were as attracted by his brotherliness and humility as we were appalled by the long hours he worked. I remember that the Chairman and I took it upon ourselves to suggest to him that one's bed was better sought before 2 a.m.!'

Frank H. Cumbers, Richmond College, 1843-1943 (1944) p.120

'The dullest of taxi-journeys or a walk through the most dismal streets could become a rollicking laughter parade. No man had a keener sense of the rdiculous, and his dry laconic comment on an absurd situation often had a touch of genius, Pomposity was his favourite hatred, though his wit as never acidÂ…

'Methodism was a hard taskmaster and took him from his study too frequently, but he accepted his tasks with a smile of resignation...

'Thre was a key to his character in the fact that photographs of Masefield and John Buchan were over his office desk.'

Thomas Goodall, Methodist Press Officer

Sources
  • Conference Handbook, 1943
  • Frank Cumbers, The Book Room (1956)
  • Methodist Recorder, 26 Jan 1961
  • W.J.Noble in London Quarterly & Holborn Review', April 1961