IRVING, James Robinson 1873 - 1949

Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1950, page 124

Born at Soulby, Kirkby Stephen, in 1873. As a  boy he attended the village school at Soulby and the Grammar School at Kirkby Stephen. At seventeen years of age he entered the office of a Kendal solicitor, but it was not long before he felt the call to offer for the Wesleyan Ministry. Accepted as a candidate in 1894, he spent three years at Didsbury College, beginning his forty-three years of active ministerial life in 1897.

His preference was for country work, but Conference sent him to ‘supply’ for a year at Leeds (Brunswick), and henceforth the whole of his ministry until retirement was spent in big towns and cities.

He was a member of the Legal Hundred of the Wesleyan Church, and took a leading part in the consummation of Methodist Union, for he was ‘Separated’ Chairman of the Liverpool Wesleyan District for three years prior to Union, continuing as Chairman of the United District for a further three years.

He was for long a familiar member of Conference, being Convener of Memorials Committee for a number of years, besides representing his District on the Stationing Committee, and for many years was a director of the Chapel Aid Association.

Retiring in 1940, he returned to spend the rest of his days in his native village of Soulby, and to the very last he served his Church magnificently, preaching in this wide country circuit almost every Sunday.

Here he was greatly loved, for his stately presence, quiet dignity, and, not least, his evangelical preaching endeared him to all.

He served his Church with distinction, but nowhere has he been more faithful and devoted, and nowhere has he been more loved and appreciated, than in the circuit which gave him to his beloved Church.

The end came with startling suddenness. He passed away in the early hours of 10th September 1949, mourned by all who knew him.

A few weeks before the end he sat in his home chatting with the Superintendent of the Circuit and saying that at his time of life he ought to be thinking about his departure. ‘ But’, said he, ‘everybody is so kind and everything is so beautiful, I haven’t time to think about going !’

How characteristic of him! He lived already in the heavenly kingdom, for he was one of God’s gentlemen. Of him we can say : He walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950

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