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Obituary: THE REVD PROFESSOR RAYMOND CHAPMAN

by
15 November 2013

The Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth writes:

THE Revd Raymond Chapman, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the London School of Economics, who exercised a long and faithful non-stipendiary ministry, died on 5 November, aged 89.

Raymond trained on the Southwark Ordination Course, and was made deacon in 1974. While working at the LSE, he ministered at St Mary-le-Strand, but from 1982 he regularly celebrated and preached at St Mary's, Barnes, where his ministry was highly valued.

Coming from a family background of Welsh Nonconformity, Raymond was baptised and confirmed as an Anglican at the age of 17. He remained a devout and convinced apologist for Anglicanism to the end of his life: his last major books were on Lancelot Andrewes, Richard Hooker, and Evelyn Underhill.

He was also a lover of the Book of Common Prayer, serving the Prayer Book Society in many capacities, and eventually becoming Vice-President. His church tradition, less common now than heretofore, is best described as Prayer Book Catholic. He was chairman of the Anglican Society, and, later, President of the Anglican Association.

His celebration of Prayer Book services of holy communion on Sundays and midweek at St Mary's, Barnes, was particularly appreciated, as was his personal ministry to particular individuals. His preaching was clear, doctrinally based, definite, and to the point. This was a man who knew what he believed, wanted others to share that belief, and, quietly, was sometimes distressed by the doctrinal laxity of parts of the Church of England.

After Oxford and King's College, London, Professor Chapman spent all his academic career at the LSE, which he served in many capacities, administrative as well as academic. His main interest was Victorian literature, not least the literature of the Oxford Movement, but he also had a concern for the specifics of the English language, as reflected in the titles of such books as The Treatment of Sounds in Language and Literature and Forms of Speech in Victorian Fiction.

Among his many publications were books, articles, and pamphlets on theological and church matters. In particular, he wrote to help lay Christians to pray, intercede, worship, and read the Bible in a more informed manner. He reviewed regularly for the Church Times, besides writing other occasional articles.

He lectured widely in this country and overseas. Until two years ago, he continued to teach at the Institute of European Studies, and in later life continued his interest in Irish literature. He was chairman, and later vice-president, of the Irish Literary Society.

He leaves his wife, Patricia, who also became an Anglican, after being a member of the Plymouth Brethren, and two children, Evan and Siobhan. His funeral is at St Mary's, Barnes, on Monday 18 November at 11.30 a.m.

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