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The Ven. Harold Edgar Williams

THE MINISTRY of the Ven. Harold Williams, who died on 12 October, aged 87, took him from war-devastated London to sunny Benidorm, and from the hills of Breconshire to the seashores of Gower.

Born and brought up in Llanelli, he was in fact ordained in the diocese of Chelmsford in 1942. His first curacy at Leytonstone began during the Blitz. His second curacy was at Barnes in Southwark diocese. After 12 months there, he began the first of his tours of duty as a Chaplain in the Royal Navy. This lasted two years.

He returned to Wales in 1948, to serve a curacy at St Jude’s, Swansea. It was here that he married Joan before returning to the Navy for two years. Harold then came back to this diocese, initially as Bishop’s Messenger, and then as Warden of Ordinands, a post that he held for nearly 25 years.

His first incumbency was, at Llanhamlach and Llansantffraed-juxta-Usk in the archdeaconry of Brecon. After five years there, he moved on to Hay for six years, and thence to Brynmawr in 1967. While there, he became a Canon of Brecon Cathedral. In 1976, he moved to Newton, and in 1983 he was appointed Archdeacon of Gower.

I had known Harold since he was the Warden of Ordinands when I went through the process of selection and training. Like many others, I received his cryptic letters, typed with a blue ribbon on small half-sheets of paper.

Harold was very traditional. His ministry was rooted in the ordered round of prayer, worship and scripture reading that is our Anglican way. He was a pastor who enjoyed meeting and being with people of all sorts and conditions. That ministry continued in the holiday chaplaincies that he took up in retirement.

Harold was a teacher, who sought to encourage those among whom he ministered to grow in their Christian faith and commitment. He was amazingly well-read, and the fruit of his reading seasoned his preaching. In his latter days, he recorded his life and ministry in a delightful book, The Parting Mist.

He was also a family man. He greatly enjoyed and valued the time he spent with Joan and the boys, and later with their wives and his grandchildren.

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