02 May 2004

Peerage for Revd Dr Leslie Griffiths:

'An eloquent witness to the Christian Gospel and a doughty fighter for truth and justice'

It has been announced by Downing Street that Revd Dr Leslie Griffiths, ex-President of the Methodist Conference and now superintendent minister of Wesley's Chapel, is to be made a working peer.

Though "somewhat overawed" Dr Griffiths is "very excited at the prospect of being able to play some part in the affairs of the nation."

He continued: "I hope my fellow Methodists feel that this is a tribute to them. Our long and committed contribution to 'serving the present age' is one of the reasons I became a Methodist in the first place. I shall want to honour the Methodist people by playing my part in this new arena to which I've been invited."

Born in 1942, Leslie has come a long way from the small picturesque town of Burrey Port, situated on the south-west coast of Wales. But he is keen to point out his indebtedness to home:  "The people of South Wales, my home town in particular, have made me the person I am, so if they take any vicarious pleasure from this development then I shall be more than delighted."

Current President of Conference, Revd Dr Neil Richardson, said: "Leslie Griffiths has become one of the best known ministers in contemporary British Methodism. As a preacher and public speaker, writer and broadcaster, he has made his mark not only on church life but also on public and national life. The British Methodist church warmly congratulates him and wishes him well in the new sphere of ministry that this honour will make possible. He will, I am sure, make a valuable and distinguished contribution to The House of Lords."

Revd David Deeks, The General Secretary and Secretary of the Conference for the Methodist Church, delivered a tribute of equally high praise: "Leslie Griffiths is a doughty fighter for truth and justice, an eloquent witness to the Christian Gospel and a warm-hearted human being. He will grace the House of Lords."

Leslie began as a local preacher in 1963, and was a minister in Haiti during most of the 1970s, before returning to England to serve in several very testing urban ministries. He has been Superintendent minister at Wesley's Chapel since 1996, and is a popular and respected leader there.

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