Lane, Stephen Lawrence (1901-1987)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

STEPHEN LAWRENCE LANE: born in Sporle, Norfolk on 20th February 1901. He was educated at Hamond’s Grammar School, Swaffham. Accepted on to full plan in 1915 he was first employed as a ‘Hired Local Preacher’ in the Primitive Methodist Alfreton circuit in Derbyshire in 1918. There he met Doris Booth who later became his wife. He was accepted into the ministry of the Primitive Methodist Church 1920 and was stationed in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for a pre-collegiate probationary year. After two years at Hartley Theological College (during which he studied under Dr. A. S. Peake) he was called out to supply for one quarter in Goole. 

He was then to serve in Enfield, Chesterfield (Holywell), Morley, Rhondda, and Newport (Station Street). Whilst serving in Wales he became President of the Christian Endeavour in the Principality. Following Methodist Union he was the first ex-Primitive to be stationed in the Burnley (Wesley) circuit, and proceeded to Kineton, Manchester (Pendlebury), Southport (Banks) and Stour Valley. Although officially ‘retired’, in 1967 he went for three years as an active supernumerary to the Devon and Dorset Mission. 

He was a gifted preacher and a master of extempore prayer, inspiring many men to join in the task of preaching the Saviour’s love. From his ministry to the forces during the war, in Kineton, many international friendships were forged around the manse snooker table. Eight young men heard the call to the ministry under his pastoral care. His industry and genuine Christian love inspired deep and lasting affection in all who met him. Circuits flourished under his ministry. He warmed to his congregations and they warmed to him. He read widely and had a deep passion for music and art. His garden was always a delight — flowers filled his home and garden produce enriched many meals. He found rich delight in the fellowship of the Methodist people, and his stories of Welsh miners during the depression, of village chapels during the agricultural privations of the twenties, of the great men of Conference, and stirring debates in Synod, bubbled with the joy and drama of real people, seeking to serve Jesus. 

He moved to Blackpool in 1970 and for ten years cared devotedly for his wife during a long and distressing illness. Following her death he moved first to Maryport and finally returned to his beloved Norfolk and for six happy months lived at Cromwell House Methodist Home for the Aged in Norwich, delighted once again to be preaching in Norfolk villages. He died on 5th November 1987 in the eighty-seventh year of his age and the sixty-eighth year of his ministry.

Family

Stephen was born on 20 February 1901 at Sporle, Norfolk, to parents William Stephen Lane, a grocer & draper (1911), and Clara Maria Edwards. He was baptised on 21 March 1901 at Swaffham, Norfolk.

He married Doris Booth (1902-1983) in the summer of 1926 at Selston, Nottinghamshire. The 1939 Register identifies one child.

  • Ann (b1933) – married James R Hunt in 1956

Stephen died on 5 November 1987 at Norwich, Norfolk.

Circuits

  • 1920 Wisbech
  • 1921 Hartley
  • 1923 Enfield
  • 1924 Chesterfield
  • 1926 Morley
  • 1929 Rhondda
  • 1932 Newport
  • 1935 Burnley Wes
  • 1938 Kineton
  • 1948 Manchester Pendle
  • 1951 Southport Banks
  • 1958 Stour Valley Mission
  • 1966 Stour Valley
  • 1967 Blackpool (Sup)

References

Methodist Minutes 1988/40

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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