Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference
ARTHUR STANLEY LEYLAND: born in St George’s, Shropshire, on 25th November 1901, exercised a remarkable ministry which was to span most of the twentieth century. The deep faith of his parents influenced him profoundly and he inherited his father’s love of music. He learned to play a number of instruments and from the time he met Ruby who was to become his wife their common delight and skill in music was one of the many ties that bound them together. From his mother’s uncle, Albert Stanley, who was the Member of Parliament for West Staffordshire at the end of the last century, he inherited an interest in politics, and Arthur himself once stood as a parliamentary candidate. That he was unsuccessful is something for which the Methodist Church, though perhaps not the country as a whole, can give thanks.
After training at Hartley College he was sent to Abertillery and he subsequently served in the following circuits: Wolverhampton I; Middlesbrough, Gilkes Street; Darlington, South; Bristol, Redland; London, Highgate; Barnet; London, Brixton Hill; and London, Streatham and Dulwich.
Wherever he went people loved him, they thrilled to his preaching, they responded to his friendship, they laughed at his jokes (and what a fund of stories he had) and most of all they caught his faith. He made heavy demands on others but never more than he made upon himself. Everything was directed to honouring Christ and advancing the cause of the Kingdom of God.
Though service to people in local churches was the foundation of Arthur’s ministry it was by no means the whole of it. At the end of the war he had the vision of Methodists in Britain and America enriching each other by means of an exchange programme and for forty years he developed this work under the auspices of the World Methodist Council. He became an essential feature of the Methodist Conference, serving it first as Record Secretary and then as Assistant Conference Secretary. He found time to lead a variety of groups on overseas visits, and convened the committee which arranged for ministers to own their own furniture, thereby putting future generations of ministers and their families in his debt.
He had many interests outside the church. He supported Aston Villa, showing himself to be a man of faith in more ways than one. He learned Spanish in order to be able to communicate with friends he had made in South America. He wrote plays and for many years contributed a children’s page to the Methodist Recorder. He wrote poetry and hymns in which his love of God and of the English language complemented each other. In retirement some look for a quieter, more gentle pattern of life. Not so Arthur Leyland. For twenty five years he exercised in the Sutton circuit, and especially at Epsom, a ministry conducted at such a pace as would exhaust someone half his age. He continued to preach with such power and insight that people of all ages heard him gladly and were challenged by the great themes of the gospel. He visited tirelessly. His reading of the scriptures in public was a means of grace. He did this for the last time less than twenty-four hours before he died on 14th September 1992 in the ninety-first year of his age and the sixty-ninth year of his ministry.
Stanley was born on 25 November 1901 at St Georges, Shropshire, to parents Alfred, a coal miner (1911), and Annie.
He married Ruby Grace Dando (1906-2001) in the summer of 1928 in the Bedwelty Registration District, Monmouthshire.
Stanley died on 14 September 1992 at Wallington, Sutton, Greater London.
- 1922 Pocklington
- 1924 Hartley
- 1926 Abertillery
- 1928 Wolverhampton I
- 1931 Middlesbrough II
- 1934 Darlington Sth
- 1942 Bristol Redland
- 1945 London Highgate
- 1951 Barnet
- 1958 London Brixton
- 1963 London Streatham
- 1967 Sutton (Sup)
Methodist Minutes 1993/46
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers