Meecham, Henry George M.A., B.D., PhD. (1886-1955)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

HENRY GEORGE MEECHAM, M.A., D.D., Ph.D.: born in Manchester in 1886, he entered Hartley College in 1907, and four years later began his nineteen years of circuit ministry, sixteen of which were spent in Manchester and Oldham. Following the death of Dr. A.S. Peake in 1929, he came to his own college as visiting lecturer, and shortly afterwards he was called to the Chair of New Testament Studies. Here he was in his element and gave distinguished service throughout the years. When the college was closed to theologicai studentss in 1942 owing to the war, he was appointed to the Carver Street circuit, Sheffield, where he exercised a most valuable ministry. 

At the reopening of Hartley Victoria College in 1945 he was appointed resident tutor, and became Principal in 1948. The post-war years brought with them heavy responsibilities in the shaping of college life and in the restoration of property following on considerable war damage. But he gave to these tasks the same zeal and care for detail which he always gave to his academic studies, and in both spheres he served God with an unswerving devotion. He was the author of a number of books: Light from Ancient Letters, The Oldest Version of the Bible, The Letter of Avisteas, and The Epistle of Diognetus. For the last work he was awarded the rare distinction of the Manchester University D.D. 

Many theological contributions also came from his pen, and his appointment as one of the translators of the Apocrypha for the forthcoming new version of the Scriptures was a significant testimony to his linguistic ability. Besides being a member of the Faculty of Theology and a Lecturer in New Testament Studies in the University of Manchester, he also served as external examiner for the Theological Faculties of several other universities. In his life, talent and diligence went hand in hand, and even during his brief retirement he produced a completely revised edition of the late Dr. J.H. Moulton’s Introduction to the Study of New Testament Greek. As a teacher he was patient, encouraging, and yet exacting in his demands; and there are many students of his who bear testimony to his success in the teaching of the Greek language because of his ability to invest his subject with colour and interest. 

His preaching was evangelical and scholarly, and in it he sought to glorify God. Only to a few did he disclose the deeper experiences of his life, yet to those who knew him more in intimately there was a warmth of spirit, a playful glint of humour, and in all his contacts a courtesy that never failed. 

He passed away on 29th August 1955 at Colwyn Bay at the age of sixty-nine, in the forty-fifth year of his ministry.

Family

Henry was born on 23 May 1886 at Ardwick, Manchester, Lancashire, to parents John William, a railway inspector (1901), and Jane. He was baptised on 3 August 1886 at West Gorton Wesleyan Chapel, Lancashire.

Henry is described as a pupil teacher in the 1901 census return.

He married Clara Elizabeth Hobbs (1885-1914) in the summer of 1914 at Leicester, Leicestershire.

He married Gladys Lee Gerrard (1892-1966) in the summer of 1919 in the Barton on Irwell Registration District, Lancashire. Birth records identify two children.

  • Alan Gerrard (1921-2010)
  • Philip Henry (1925-2007)

Henry died on 29 August 1955 at West Denbighshire Hospital, Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire.

Circuits

  • Hartley
  • 1911 Glasgow II
  • 1914 Manchester V
  • 1916 Manchester VIII
  • 1924 Oldham I
  • 1930 College Tutor
  • 1942 Sheffield carver
  • 1945 College Tutor
  • 1948 College Principal

References

Methodist Minutes 1956/176

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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