HAWKINS, Walter 1857 - 1949

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

Born at Brixton Hill in 1857. At the age of sixteen years he was called to be a preacher, and was accepted for the Ministry in 1874. After training at Didsbury College he was ordained in 1880.

He travelled in fifteen circuits, of which nine were in London. A man of wide reading, vigorous thinking, and liberal culture, he was, above all, a man of God. Forceful and fresh in his preaching, he had great influence with the young. Through his life and work many found their way into the Kingdom of God, and several young men through him heard their Call to the Ministry.

He was the founder of the Methodist Sports Association, and spent years in devoting himself to the cause he believed in—the promotion of friendship and development of character among our young people by means of honest rivalry in sporting competition. It was written of him by one who knew him well: ‘ On cricket fields he has shown us the glory of a straight bat . . . by the fireside he has opened many a book to us so that we might learn the art of living. He has shared our youthful aspirations, he has listened patiently to the tale of our defeats and shown us the way to new endeavour. His wisdom has corrected us ; his laughter has saved us from morbid self-pity and his vision has taught us that life is worth while. In his understanding friendship he has linked our little lives to God’s great love.’

He encouraged younger colleagues to great ventures, especially in the new suburbs of London. In middle life he became deaf, but his ardent spirit was never quenched, and his mental alertness continued to the end. He used to wonder what would be the first sound he would hear in heaven!

For many years he composed a daily verse of praise. He contributed hymns to the Sunday-school Hymnal, and also the Responsive Services.

In 1940 he returned to Peterborough, where in 1882 he had been appointed to minister. His influence was a blessing to the last, and he preached regularly with great acceptance until the last month of his life on earth.

He died in great triumph on 22nd November 1949, in the ninety-third year of his age and the seventy-third of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950

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