TOWNSEND, Ira John 1899 - 1949

Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1950, page 125

Born at Landulph, Cornwall, in 1899. In his early teens he made his decision for Christ at a mission service, and began to preach before he went to serve in H.M. Forces in 1917. He entered the Ministry of the United Methodist Church in 1923, after training at Victoria Park College, Manchester.

After a year at Cardiff and four years at St. Columb in his native county, all the rest of his ministerial activities lay in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

His work, whether as preacher, pastor, or administrator was maintained at a very high level. His pulpit work was excellent. Unselfish in all his service, he was a sincere and devoted preacher, and his congregations could always be sure that he would effectually minister the word of life to them.

He could pierce through the commonplaces and platitudes with which truth has become encrusted, and light would break out until the hearts of his hearers began to glow. Familiar passages would scintillate with new meaning, He was an able expositor, with a wealth of illustration, a colourful eloquence, and a voice that could be heard. In conversation he cared little for small gossip, would be silent while others chatted, and then would break into some utterance which lifted the talk to higher levels. He would tenaciously defend his own views, yet loved truth too much to become self-opinionated. His purpose in life was deeply serious, yet he manifested not only a sense of humour but also a faculty of creative wit.

He had great skill in teaching children, and a powerful influence over young men and women, who looked to him as friend and guide. His was a rich and versatile personality, utterly dedicated to his Saviour.

He was a loyal colleague, a good companion, and above all a man of God. The call to higher service came at the height of his powers, just when he was beginning a ministry full of promise in the Fleetwood circuit.

He answered the sudden summons on 31st October 1949, in the fifty-first year of his life and the twenty-seventh of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950

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