LESTER, George Percy 1880 - 1950
Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1950, page 150
Born at Old Brompton, Kent, in 1880. He was educated at Queen’s College, Nassau, and at Truro School. He entered the Ministry in 1902 from Richmond College. He had great resources of mind and body.
Nature richly endowed him, and he would have risen to a foremost place in any vocation he had adopted. The decisive influence of his life, however, was the living tradition of Methodism as it came to him from generations of his forebears.
Throughout his early years, in manifold ways but supremely through the life of his beloved father, Rev. George Lester, Methodism gave him freely of her best gifts and, when the call to her Ministry came to him, he responded by giving her, unhesitatingly and for ever, the full service of his powers.
After his theological training he went to the West Indies, where his father had worked, for a period of missionary service. These years of fruitful labour were always a joyous memory to him and were the confirmation of that passionate concern for Overseas Missions which characterized his ministry and which burned with undiminished strength to the time of his death.
In 1906, on his compulsory return to England, he began a distinguished ministry in varied home circuits. He soon evidenced those qualities of character, intelligence, and humour which were later to endear him to so wide a circle of friends.
His course as a minister seemed firmly set when the tragedy of the war of 1914-18 broke over the world and he felt that he must serve as a chaplain. In difficult and, frequently, in dangerous places he succoured the men committed to his charge.
Released from the Army, he went to Sidcup in 1917 and from that time he maintained an unbroken ministry until the Conference of 1949. He travelled in Witney, in Chiswick, and in the north of England.
Wherever he went he served the Methodist Church with the wisdom and ardour of a true lover. Her doctrine and her polity commanded his complete assent. He comprehended the deepest need of his pastoral ministrations and the smallest detail of his administrative work in an invincibly single-minded purpose : that of upbuilding the Methodist Church for the glory of God and for the salvation of men. His ministry moved to a fitting climax.
His power of happy and disinterested leadership had been manifest alike in his work and in his recreation from his youth.
It came to final expression when he was elected in 1944 as the Chairman of the North Lancashire District. His work in that office will long be remembered. It was his initiative which ensured the magnificent response of the District to the appeal for the Rebuilding Fund.
It was his generous care and encouragement which inspired many churches and ministers to renew their life and witness after the desolating challenge of total war. When, however, the contribution which he made to the Methodist Church comes to be set in the pattern of her developing life, men will not think most of the offices which he held or of the work which he did but of what he was in himself : a man of profound and simple faith ; a man of prayer ; a man who at all times retained that ‘ childlike trust that fears nor pain nor death ‘; a man who, from the perfect love and companionship he knew with his wife in his home, went out to understand all sorts and conditions of men with tolerance, insight, and deep affection ; a man who fused all his gifts and graces into a splendid unity by a consuming and selfless devotion to the Saviour he had come to know and love in the fellowship of the Church which bore and nurtured him.
In the last years of his life he burned up his resources in fulfilling the charge committed to his care and for him, in a peculiar way, death sealed the endless mercies of God and made the sacrifice complete.
He died on 16th May 1950 in the seventieth year of his age and the forty-eighth year of his ministry.
© Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950