Lawrence, Reece (1843-1888)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Walter Kemp

REECE LAWRENCE was born at Leintwardine, Herefordshire, 1846. In early life an attendant at the Episcopal Church, brought under influence of our beloved ministry, convinced of sin, and led to Christ, he commenced membership with our society. His earnest thoroughness—one of his special characteristics—compelled him to take an active part in the work of his loved Master. His labours were blessed with power, and many rejoice in newness of life because of the words of our brother on hillside, or by the road, in cottage, barn, or chapel. 

In 1878 he entered his ministerial labours on the Dover Mission, under the superintendency of Thomas Russell. He afterwards laboured at Yarmouth, Chatham, Portsmouth, Horsham, East Dereham, Rockland, and Hadleigh, and in 1887 came to Kingston-on-Thames. In this circuit his work was blessed with success. Each society is better, both financially and spiritually. The debts upon the chapels have been reduced, backsliders have been reclaimed, and sinners converted. 

On Sunday, December 16, 1888, he was preaching in Kingston Chapel, his subject in the evening being ‘Let this cup pass from Me,’ and then administered the Sacrament. Calling on him after the service, we united in rejoicing over some being converted on whose behalf he had requested special prayer. He retired to rest, and in the morning ‘was not, for God took him.’ The news came upon our members and friends like a thunderclap. Expressions of sympathy and proffered help rapidly came from members of all denominations, and ministers of the Episcopal and Nonconformist churches called to try and comfort the bereaved wife and children.

Since his decease many have been the letters from all parts of the country, testifying to the value of his labours. He was ever the friend of the weak and oppressed, a trusted counsellor, a sympathising comforter, and on his Master’s business no journey was too long, no time unsuitable, and no man or woman too low in the scale of society for him to try to help and lead to a better life. The following extract from a memorial Minute, which the Nonconformist Ministers’ Fraternal Association has put upon its records, expresses somewhat of the manner in which our brother’s memory is held in Kingston: ‘We saw enough of him to convince us of his devotion to Christ, his spiritual mindedness, and his honest and straightforward character. None of us who have been associated with Mr. Lawrence in direct work can forget the earnestness with which he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the aptness of his illustrations, and the wonderful sagacity which marked his personal dealings with individuals.’ 

‘He rests from his labours and his works do follow him.’

Family

Reece was born in 1843 at Leintwardine, Herefordshire, to parents Thomas, who worked the land, and Sarah.

Before entering the ministry Reece was a shoemaker.

He married Ellen Allen (b1850) in the summer of 1877 in the Ludlow Registration District, Shropshire. Census returns identify two children.

  • Ellen Sarah (abt1880-1967) – married William Thomas Williams, a builder, in 1900
  • Ruth (b abt1887) – a hospital nurse (1911)

Reece died on 17 December 1888 at Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey.

Ellen worked as a dressmaker after Reece died, returning to live in her native Leintwardine.

Circuits

  • 1873 Dover
  • 1874 Chatham
  • 1876 Portsmouth
  • 1877 Sheerness
  • 1879 Horsham
  • 1880 E Dereham
  • 1881 Rockland
  • 1884 Hadleigh
  • 1887 Kingston

References

PM Minutes 1889/20

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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