02 May 2003

Former assistant to the Secretary of the Methodist Conference dies

It is with regret that we announce the death today of the Rev W. Norman Charles Wooldridge, a former assistant to the Secretary of the British Methodist Conference. He was 84 years old.

Norman Wooldridge spent almost two decades working in the Methodist Conference Office during its days at Westminster Central Hall. He was assistant to three successive Secretaries of the Methodist Conference - Eric Baker (up to 1971), Kenneth Greet (1971-1983) and Brian Beck (after 1983). His day-to-day role in the Conference Office was, at the time, distinct from the role of Assistant Secretary of the Conference, who was a circuit minister with responsibilities for a church.

Former Conference Secretary, the Rev Dr Kenneth Greet, said: "Norman was the most loyal and faithful of colleagues. His knowledge of the constitutional practice and discipline of the Methodist Church was unrivalled. He was never happier than when sorting out some legal difficulty in our work. More importantly, he was a man with a pastoral heart. He took a personal interest in the lives of all staff at Westminster Central Hall. He was a fine preacher. Those who heard him lead morning devotions at the Methodist Conference never forgot him."

During more than half a century as a Methodist minister his appointments included:

  • 1951-1954, Rochdale South Circuit (Bolton & Rochdale District)
  • 1954-1963, Jersey Circuit (Wesley Grove Church)
  • 1963-1968, Sparkhill Methodist Church (Birmingham District)
  • 1964-1968, Secretary to the Birmingham District Synod
  • 1968-1987, Assistant to the Secretary of the British Methodist Conference

He retired to Carlshalton, Surrey, in 1987, where he continued to preach in the Sutton Circuit. He is survived by his wife Sheila.

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