Church service to commemorate former Bexhill minister

Leslie Weatherhead married Barry and Joan Turnwell in 1966 along with then minister Eric Frost. Photo courtesy of Barry SUS-151229-132626001
Leslie Weatherhead married Barry and Joan Turnwell in 1966 along with then minister Eric Frost. Photo courtesy of Barry SUS-151229-132626001

A special commemorative service will be dedicated to the life of an esteemed Christian minister who retired in Bexhill.

Sackville Road Methodist Church will be celebrating Leslie Weatherhead’s career as a preacher, author and well-known Methodist who attended the church after moving to the town in 1960.

He died on January 5, 1976, and 40 years on, the church congregation will be marking the occasion with a special service on Sunday (January 3).

Dr Weatherhead would sometimes take services at the church and married Barry and Joan Turnwell in August 1966.

Barry is now a preacher at the church and will give a talk on Dr Weatherhead’s life.

“I grew up near Sackville Road when he was a member of the congregation and I asked him to marry us as I knew him a little,” he told the Observer.

“Thankfully he said yes and we’re still happily married which I think he would be pleased to know.

“He was very well-known in Christian circles but he was a very gracious man and was very easy to talk to.

“He was a lovely man and it was a privilege to meet him, I’m just glad he chose Bexhill as I wouldn’t have known him otherwise.”

Dr Weatherhead wrote numerous books including The Christian Agnostic and The Private House of Prayer which are still recognised today.

Barry said he was a deep-thinking Christian leader but also very controversial at times but totally committed to his faith which, according to Leslie’s son Gabriel, made him not fear death.

In 1953, he was the President of the Methodist Church as well as the resident minister of several large churches in London throughout his ecclesiastic career.

Barry said his rare services in Bexhill were almost guaranteed to fill Sackville Road church as he was such a talented preacher.

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