IN THE JOY OF THE LORD
Connexional President 1981-83
formerly of Chamber Road, Oldham
Eileen spent the whole of her life in the Oldham area. In her working life she was a Religious Education teacher and was highly regarded both for her professionalism and her biblical knowledge.
In her early life she was an Anglican, but in 1953 she joined King Street I.M. Church where she served on the Sunshine Committee, taught in the Sunday School and helped in the Youth Club. She went on to take the Ministers’ Education Course and was recognised as a minister in 1964. A few years later, King Street was demolished and replaced by Chamber Road, where Eileen served in turn as President and Secretary.
In Oldham Circuit, she served as Young People’s Secretary and later as President and Secretary. Her abilities were soon recognised by the Connexion and she was called upon to represent it on the British Lessons Council. She was also appointed as an examiner for the Ministers’ Education Course. In this capacity she was greatly valued for her wise counsel and the help which she gave to students who were struggling.
In 1970, Eileen took on the job of organising the Junior Missionary Association of the Connexion. This entailed editing the ‘Newstime’ magazine four times yearly, creating competitions, receiving entries, awarding prizes and promoting missionary interest among the children. She also made it her job to get to know the missionaries in person – and their children. Every year each child of a missionary couple would get a birthday card from her.
When Eileen stood down from her role as JMA Secretary, she was immediately nominated as President of the Connexion. At the time, the office of President normally carried a one year term, but, as it happened, in 1981 no nomination had been received for the following year – so Eileen did a two year stint, from 1981-83.
Eileen fulfilled all the usual duties of a President - visiting every circuit; presiding at business meetings; attending national events, usually in London; officiating at special events in the Connexion, such as church openings – and she did all her travelling without a car: the last President to do so.
After her presidential term of office, Eileen quietly returned to her duties at Chamber Road. These became difficult as the church declined until it finally closed in 2002. Eileen was one of those who had the sad task of handling its closure.
Now turned 80, Eileen was faced with the problem of finding a new spiritual home, which had to be outside her familiar Independent Methodist family, as there was no IM church which she could reach by public transport. She finally settled at Fir Lane Methodist Church, near to her home. Here she found a loving fellowship who gave her great support in many practical ways.
Eileen was a person who lived simply, but gave generously; she listened carefully and observed people and situations shrewdly; she had strong critical faculties and saw through superficiality; she was highly capable, meticulously efficient and thorough in all that she did. She wasn’t fazed by the situations she faced, either in her personal life or in her Christian service; in Kipling’s words, she could ‘meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.’ But above all, she had an unshakeable faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and trusted Him unfailingly. To use a quaint phrase, she would ‘enter her closet’ and there commune with God, bringing to Him the needs of others first and herself second. Many people benefitted from her prayers, particularly in the past few years.
The funeral service at Fir Lane Chapel saw a packed congregation come and give thanks for her life, with a real sense of joy and victory. A faithful servant of God has gone to her reward.