FINDLAY, James Alexander (M.A., D.D.) 1880 - 1962

Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1962, page 194

Born at Richmond, Surrey, in 1880. He was reared in the atmosphere of theological training, his father being Dr G. G. Findlay, and it was in this field that he found scope for his own outstanding gifts.

After graduating at Cambridge University, he entered the Ministry in 1903. He served in the following circuits : Crook. Wrexham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Wakefield and Huddersfield.

Although his pulpit and pastoral achievements were considerable, it was as a teacher that he really excelled. During his probation he was assistant tutor at Handsworth College and then, for twenty-four years, first in Manchester and afterwards in Bristol, he occupied the chair of New Testament Language and Literature at Didsbury College.

He served generations of students with rare devotion, his supreme aim being to interpret Jesus, whose earthly life he studied with a rare insight and imagination, and of whom he testified from deep personal experience.

His academic achievements were recognized when St Andrew’s University conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity, but many of his students remember above all else his talks in Class meetings and at the service of Holy Communion.

By reason of his many books and articles in various periodicals his influence was extended far beyond Methodism, and in 1938 he delivered the Cato lecture in Australia.

He was a moving speaker at ministers’ retreats and at schools of fellowship, where he endeared himself to his audiences by his lively and whimsical charm, and searched the depths of their hearts by his sense of overwhelming wonder at the mystery of the love of Christ, which for him was the most real and powerful thing in earth and Heaven.

Even after his retirement, when he lived first in Sheffield and then in Manchester, he continued preaching and writing, for he never grew weary of proclaiming Jesus.

He died on 11 October 1961 in the eighty-second year of his age and the fifty-ninth of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1962

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