ARMSTRONG, Walter Henry 1873 - 1949

Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1950, page 133

Born in London in 1873. Leaving school at eleven years of age, he had few early advantages. He was converted in youth through the ministry of G. Armstrong Bennetts, who proved to be not only his spiritual father but, by teaching him, often in the early hours of the morning, became his friend and guide.

Blessed with an exceptionally tenacious memory, Walter Armstrong soon equipped himself to become a successful candidate for the Ministry.

After three years at Didsbury College, he was sent in 1900 to Ceylon, but ill-health compelled him to return to England. His first English appointments were in London and Manchester, where he served with distinction, but he found his happiest work in great mission centres.

In the Sunderland Mission, at East Ham Central Hall, and, later, at Eastbrook Hall, Bradford, he fulfilled the ministry which will long be remembered.

Because of his own intimate experience of their problems and his human sympathies, he appealed most powerfully to working men, and became an outstanding figure in the Brotherhood Movement. He had an intimate knowledge of popular secularist literature, and was a most successful open-air speaker on Christian Evidence platforms.

In later years he showed great qualities of administration, and was an efficient and much-loved Chairman of the Bradford District, and later, of East Anglia. In 1941 he was elected President of the Methodist Conference. After being the President of the National Free Church Council, he became the first Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council. His last appointment was to Wesley’s Chapel, City Road, London, and though in failing health, he faced great difficulties, under war conditions, with splendid courage, and won the devotion and love of his people. Widely known as a popular preacher, his sermons were fresh and forceful, but always well balanced and sane, and greatly enriched by his wide and up-to-date reading. He was a wise and careful administrator, but perhaps his greatest gift was his genius for friendship. His joyous spirit was most infectious, and made for good fellowship. By his rich and consecrated humanity he became a true helper and friend of mankind. He passed away on 26th November 1949, in the fiftieth year of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950

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