Foster, Bernard Topliss (1900-1976)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

BERNARD TOPLISS FOSTER: born in Nottingham on 9th November 1900. After training at Hartley College he served for a short time in the Gateshead I and Colchester Circuits before entering Kingsmead in 1928 for training for overseas work. It has been said of him that he had been a missionary at heart almost from the time of his conversion, and he was to spend thirty-five years in Africa. He served in the Ibo Circuits of Eastern Nigeria until his return to this country for a brief ministry in the Nottingham (North) Circuit in the mid-thirties.

In 1937 he was sent by the Missionary Committee to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) where he was to spend almost thirty years. His ministry there paved the way for the kind of growth that has enabled the United Church of Zambia to make such a significant contribution to the life of the new nation. His final term was spent in the Copper Belt as a member of a Free Church team of missionaries who worked in the mining towns. 

Wherever he and his wife were stationed their home was an open house for colleagues and friends from all over the District. Some were particularly appreciative of the loving care they received during times of illness. They retired to Bognor Regis in 1966 where they spent ten happy years. Bernard Foster endeared himself to everyone in the circuit and from the pulpit and in meetings he was always a glad advocate of the work of the Kingdom overseas. In July he moved to the Methodist Home for the Aged at Bognor Regis where, for an all too brief period, his gracious ministry was felt. He died on 15th September 1976 in the seventy-sixth year of his age and the fifty-first year of his ministry.


Bernard was born on 9 November 1900 at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, to parents Arthur, an oil steersman (1911), and Elizabeth.

He married Edith Annie Challands (1901-1981) in the summer of 1930 at Basford Registration District, Nottinghamshire.

Bernard died on 15 September 1976 at Bognor Regis, Sussex.


  • Hartley
  • 1926 Gateshead I
  • 1927 Colchester
  • 1928 E Nigeria
  • 1935 Nottingham N
  • 1937 N Rhodesia
  • 1966 Supernum


Methodist Minutes 1977/67

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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