BOWKER, Joseph Henry 1876 - 1951

Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1952, page 125

Born at Blackburn in 1867. He was reared in the Christian faith and fellowship at Paradise Chapel in his native town, and entered the ministry of the United Methodist Free Church in 1888.

His college days were spent at Victoria Park, Manchester, and he also attended classes at Owen’s College.

While he was a diligent and painstaking student, academic study never came easily to him, and to the end of his days he was sensitively conscious of the limitations of his early training.

The same diligent and painstaking habit was manifest throughout his ministry.

He read widely and carefully, he positively laboured at his sermons, but never acquired the ease of free extempore speech.

Every word had to be read, measured and exact. Yet he could be a powerful and penetrating preacher, and he positively glowed when he spoke of the love of God which could transform the hard hearts of men into kindliness and grace.

The same painstaking habit marked his pastoral work in that long ministry fulfilled in such places as Lincoln, Leeds, London, Derby, Macclesfield, Preston, Heckmondwike and Greetland.

His last ministry was at Bradford, from whence he retired to Rickmansworth.

His outstanding characteristic was his rock-like integrity of character. He was known as a man whose word could be trusted, and in whom implicit confidence could be reposed.

That was perhaps born of the sturdy northern stock from which he came, but it was nurtured by his faith in the truth of the Gospel.

Behind a somewhat dour exterior there was a shy, sensitive spirit, continually touched to finer issues.

He had a radiantly happy home life, and passed to the fuller life triumphantly in his eighty- fifth year on 16th October 1951, having served the Church over sixty-three years.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1952

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