Stewart

Centenary History project

Rev W A Stewart

Ministers: Robert Hall Memorial Baptist Church

Name: William Albert Stewart

Dates: 1959-82

Handbook Entry:
B.U. Exam
Newbold, Rochdale, 1944-48
Zion, Bramley, Leeds, 1948-59
Robert Hall Mem., Leics., 1959-82

Memoir:
William Albert Stewart died on 10th April, 1987, aged 76. His early years were spent in Liverpool where he became increasingly conscious of the problems of society in a large city. He was converted and baptised as a young man and was soon in demand as a lay preacher. About this time, he met Eunice who, as his wife, was to be a never-failing strength and encouragement to him during his ministry. It was not long before he felt the call to full-time ministry and began to see the necessary academic qualifications through the Baptist Union Examinations. He never found study easy and it says much for his tenacity and determination that he managed to complete the course and so enable him to make application to the Ministerial Recognition Committee.

Throughout his ministry, he sought to make up for what he felt to be the disadvantages of not having been trained in a Baptist College and built up a remarkably extensive library of books on a great variety of subjects. His love of reading was matched by his enthusiasm for sport and, in his later years he was a keen supporter of Leicester City Football Club.

His first pastorate was at Newbold, Rochdale, from 1944-48. From there he moved to the influential Zion Baptist Church in Bramley near to Leeds where he became completely accepted into what was still largely a village community. He was called to the pastorate of Robert Hall Memorial Church in Leicester where he exercised a very effective ministry from 1959 until his retirement from the full-time ministry in 1982. This, his longest pastorate, made particular demands because the area around the church was changing in many ways, not the least in the number of Asians who were coming to live in the district.

Will Stewart continued to minister during his retirement as Associate Minister at Friar Lane and Braunstone, as a part-time member of the ministerial team at the Ecumenical Project in Beaumont Leys and as Moderator at Blaby, all in Leicestershire. He also continued to serve as the Free Church Chaplain to the local hospital. For a good number of years he lived with the pain and limitations of ill health, dealing with them with courage and fortitude. His wife died before his own home call and he felt her loss deeply.

He was a good pastor and a gifted preacher. He had strong convictions and gave expression to them without fear or favour. He was involved in the wider life of the denomination through the Leicestershire County Union, his membership of the Association's General Committee and of many of its major sub-committees. He served the Baptist Missionary Society on its General Committee and was for a time the Chairman of the Baptist Missionary Society's Home Organisation Committee.

He was a keen supporter of the Minister's Fraternal in Leicestershire and the East Midlands, and was for many years responsible for the organisation of the annual Ministers' Conference. He represented the East Midlands on the Baptist Ministers' Fellowship Committee. He was active in the sphere of ecumenical relationships and built up strong personal ties with leaders of other denominations. He died suddenly and leaves three sons, Keith, Neil and Andrew to whom we express our sympathy. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. They are richer for having known him and made poorer by his passing.

A.H.B.

________

Notes:

Graham Lee has a photo of Rev. Stewart taken outside Carey's Cottage.

What did he do till 30 years old? Also war years?