BOWELL, William 1861 - 1950

Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1950, page 150

Born at Radstock, Somerset, in 1861. He entered early into Christian service in the United Methodist Free Church in that town. In his late teens he removed to Bath, where he came into contact with the Rev. C. H. Poppleton, through whose influence he was led to offer himself for the Ministry. After training at Victoria Park College, Manchester, he was sent in 1885 to Lincoln (Silver Street), where a gracious revival resulted in about eighty additions to the church.

That early experience enriched his life and influenced his subsequent ministry. He became a thoroughly convinced evangelical, proclaiming with passion and confidence the redeeming power of God. Two hundred members joined the church during his ministry at Hull.

At Salford he received sixty new members into the church, and in all the circuits where he served he left the churches stronger, both spiritually and financially, for his labours.

At Bradford, twenty years before Methodist Union, he fused the two churches of Westgate and Toller Lane into one with happy results.

His most effective work was probably done at Long Eaton (Mount Tabor), where he instituted public-house visitation. At a time when the Trade was definitely and openly hostile to the Church and temperance people, William Bowell, with his tall, commanding figure and fine presence, persisted in his purpose and won for Christ scores of the worst characters in the town. In those days it was said that Harold Begbie might well have written Broken Earthenware in Long Eaton.

A fine spirituality characterized all his activities as a minister. In the pastoral side of his work he excelled, and entered with real sympathy into the experiences of his people.

The Government’s Education Act of 1902 aroused his ‘ Nonconformist Conscience’, and he organized the Passive Resistance Movement in Hull and East Riding.

After a ministry of forty years he retired to Southport, but his restless spirit would not allow him to settle, and a year later he became an active supernumerary at Gloucester (Stroud Road). After three years of loyal service, he returned to Southport in 1929, and continued to preach until advancing years forbade him.

He was a man utterly devoted to his work. Without hobbies or recreations of any kind, he had no other aim than that of winning souls for Jesus Christ.

He entered the Homeland on 12th May 1950, in the eighty-ninth year of his age and the sixty-fifth of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950

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