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Born in Leeds on14 October 1925, he was educated at Leeds Grammar School and won a scholarship to study classics and philosophy at Corpus Christi, Oxford. After wartime service as a coal miner under the Bevin Scheme, he completed his Oxford degree, was accepted for the ministry and studied theology at Wesley House, Cambridge. After a year in the Yeovil Circuit, from 1953 to 1957 he was Assistant Tutor at Handsworth College; then at Oxford Hall in the Manchester and Salford Mission was chaplain to Methodist students from 1957 to 1962. Following three years in the Wantage and Abingdon Circuit he was appointed to teach New Testament studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta. He retired in 1994.

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Novelist, essayist, intellectual, born on 22 November 1810. An Evangelical Anglican in her youth, she later distanced herself from any formal religious belief. Portrayals of religious figures in her fiction, e.g in her early work Scenes of Clerical Life (1858) are well-informed, insightful and nuanced. She encountered Methodism when an aunt by marriage, Elizabeth Tomlinson Evans , related an incident from her earlier life as a Methodist preacher and a prison visitor. In 1802 she had befriended a woman sentenced to death for infanticide and accompanied her to the gallows. The story (which is independently attested) made a lasting impression on Eliot and inspired her first full length novel Adam Bede. Its central characters include a Methodist preacher Dinah Morris who, Eliot wrote, ‘grew out f my recollections of my aunt, but Dinah is not at all like my aunt.’ A prison scene in partly similar circumstances forms the climax of the novel.

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Wesleyan Methodist and Liberal son of a Baptist minister, born at Luton, who became Chairman of Frank Harden Ltd, Luton ladies hat manufacturer, and a director of United Match industries. He died at Wheathampstead on 19 April 1943.

His first attempt to enter Parliament was in 1911 and then in 1918 he was unsuccessful as a Coalition Liberal as Wellingborough,; similarly at a by-election at St. Albans in December 1919 and at Bedford in 1923. He was finally returned for Mid-Bedfordshire in 1929 but lost the seat in 1931. His final, and again unsuccessful, attempt to enter the Commons was in a by-election at Derbyshire West in June 1938. Throughout his career he took an interest in international affairs and strongly supported the League of Nations, highlighting Nazi persecution of the Jews. He was also an authority on employment issues. A member of the Liberal Party Council at the time of his death, he was also chairman of the party’s Executive for six years

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Missionary in West Africa, born in Yanwath, near Penrith on 2 March 1926. She attended Penrith grammar school and obtained a BA in English, Divinity and Philosophy and a Diploma in Education at St. Hilda’s College, Durham. After two years teaching at Chichester Girls High School she was accepted by the Methodist Missionary Society for work in Nigeria, where she taught for ten years in Lagos, before returning to work on the Mission House staff and with the World Council of Churches. A year at Lancaster University earned her an MA in Religious Education in 1981, before she was sent by the Missionary Society to become the Principal of a teacher training college in Freetown, Sierra Leone and travelling widely to support adult education.

Back in Britain, she became a leading member of Torrisholme Church in Morecambe and also in the nearby village of Middleton. She was in great demand as a local preacher and a speaker on her Africa experience. Her active social concern, and especially her involvement in a local Credit Union was recognised by her being named in 2006 as Lancaster District’s Volunteer of the Year. In2012 she became a valued resident in the Westerley care home at Grange-over-Sands, where she died on 28 April 2015.

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Methodist coal miner and politician, born on 23 August 1923, who studied at the Wigan and District Mining and Technical College. From 1959 to 1964 he was a Labour councillor for the Croxeth Ward, Liverpool; then until 1983 represented Liverpool, West Derby in the Commons. However, on being deselected in June 1981 he joined the Social Democratic Party, standing again, but unsuccessfully, in the 1983 general election. He was Chairman of the Falkland Island Association, thrice visiting the island both before and after the conflict. He died on 5 My 1997.

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Born at Crieff, Tayside on 8 Jauuary 1864, he rose from being an apprentice printer to beome a leading figure in the world of Fleet Street as the Secretary of the Newspapr Proprietors Association from 1918 to1936. As chairman of its Technical Committee, he showed a keen and effective interest in working conditions in the industry, especially during the General Strike of 1926. He received a knighthood in the 1933 New Year Honours, He was ‘a Scotsman who took London to his heart, a man of the people [whose] broad human sympathies were manifest.’

Living in Peckham and Forest Hill, he and his family worshipped at St. James Parish Church, where he led the Men’s Meeting and was chairman of the House Committee of the Royal Free Hospital. On his retirement to Wokingham they joined the Methodist society there. He died on 10th December 1942.

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Born in Hitchin, Herts on 18 April 1930, the son of the Rev. Wilfred C. Billington, he served his National Service as a pacifist in agricultural work. He was accepted as a probationer in 1949 and graduated from Handsworth College in 1952. A born rebel, his rejection of the idea of a personal God was spelled out in The Christian Outsider (1971), which he saw as a sequel to John Robinson's Honest to God and was followed in due course by Religion without God (2001).The Conference of 1971 found him guilty of heresy and he was expelled from the ministry. He then taught widely as an enthusiastic and stimulating philosopher, from 1971 to 1995 at the Univrsity of the West of England and elsewhre, including an exchange year, 1984-85, at Chicago State University, where his atheism aroused the hostility of fundamentalist students.

In later years his views were tempered by an interest in existentialism and eastern philosophy. He was a columnist for the Guardian, describing himself as 'an official Christian heretic'. He died of throat cancer on 1 September 2012.

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WM local preacher and from 1844 to 1846 Mayor of Maidenhead, was born in the town on 25 May 1800. In 1819 he became a chemist’s assistant in London. Like his father, in his youth he was ‘frivolous and foolish’ and seems to have had no Methodist connections. About a year after his marriage, when aged twenty-eight, he was converted at Windsor, his wife’s home town. He became a local preacher and through his efforts was mainly responsible for establishing Methodism in Maidenhead., where a chapel was opened in 1829, four years after preaching had begun in the Town Hall. He died at Windsor on 5 June 1867.

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John Taylor, the son of John Taylor, was born at Sutton Bank near Thirsk. At thirteen he entered his father’s ship-broking and coal-exporting business, subsequently becoming its head. He also became the senior partner in a Sunderland shipping firm owning a large fleet of steamers operating world-wide. Active in the life of the town, he was a River Wear Commissioner, Principal of the town’s Orphan Asylum and a Freemason. Originally he was a member at Sans Street Wesleyan chapel, saving the cause by helping it become a mission, and later at St. John’s WM Church. When his first wife, Mary Sanderson, died in 1901, he paid for the Grangetown WM opened in 1903 now closed), and paid for its pastor. He died on3 November 1927, leaving an estate valued at £189,000. A memorial window to him was unveiled in St. John’s.

His second son, Frederick William Taylor was a Sunderland councilolr and alderman, as well as a director of Sunderland Association Football Club.

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Entering his father’s Sunderland ship-owning and coal-exporting business in 1890, he became a partner in 1907 and subsequently inheriting the business. A Unionist, he was Mayor of Sunderland 1920-1922 and its Member of Parliament, 1922 to 1929, being knighted in 1929, In 1930 he became the Chairman of the British Coal Exporting Federation and was also a director of the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company, a River Wear Commissioner and Chairman of Sunderland Association Football Club. A Wesleyan, he was a member of St. John’s. Ashbrooke.

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Teacher and sociologist, was born in Dorset. The family moved to London, where hisI father became a chauffeur to bishop Davison and later a taxi-driver and a revivalist preacher at Hyde Park, having been converted under the preaching of Gypsey Smith. The family lived in Mortlake and attended Barnes Methodist Church. David was baptized at Westminster Central Hall by Dinsdale Young.

After leaving East Cheam Grammar School, he trained as a teacher at Westminster College just before it moved to Oxford.. While still teaching hetook his first degree by correspondence course with Wolsey Hall, Oxford, followed by a doctorate in 1964 at the LSE, published in 1965 as Pacifism: A sociological and historical study. Two years as a lecturer at Sheffield University led to a lifelong career as lecturer, reader and ,from 1971 until retirement in 1989, professor at the LSE and a prolific list of 24 books and numerous contributions to other titles on the sociology of religion. In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from Helsinki University.

In his work he challenged the prevailing emphasis on secularisation and contributed significantly to the study of Pentecostalism in South America. He was a devotee of the language of the King James Bible and the Prayer Book, a skilful pianist and a lover of English poetry. From 1953 to 1977 he was a Methodist local preacher. After attending theological studies at Westcott House, Cambridge, in 1979 he was ordained into the Anglican Church and served as a non-stipendiary Assistant Priest at Guildford Cathedral. He died on 8 March 2019.

Hs many books included A Sociology of English Religion (1967), Tongues of Fire (1990) and Pentecostalism: the World their Parish (2002) .His autobiographicalThe Education of David Martin: the making of an unlikely sociologist,was published in 2013.

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