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The Revd David Philip Dunn Hugh Rees

08 May 2015

Intellectual and inspiring: the Revd David Hugh Rees

Intellectual and inspiring: the Revd David Hugh Rees

The Bishop of St Asaph and others write:

THE Revd David Rees, who died on 15 January, aged 76, was born in Carmarthen, son of William Hugh Rees, a cleric who was Archdeacon of St Asaph in the early 1970s. David was educated at St John's School, Leatherhead, and Jesus College, Oxford. There, David was one of those stable, sensible, relaxed, and very talented people who greatly helped those who are none of those things.

He did voluntary work in a remote part of Nigeria, before returning to train for the ministry at Westcott House. After being ordained in Manchester Cathedral in 1964, he served his title at St Philip and St Stephen, Salford, under the strict guidance of Canon Gwilym Morgan. He returned to Oxford to gain a teaching diploma, and taught for seven years at Long Eaton, Derbyshire, where he met and married his wife, Janet, in 1974, at St Michael's, Breaston.

Together they moved to Liverpool, where he became chaplain of St Margaret's C of E High School in Aigburth. He combined the pastoral, spiritual, and educational aspects of chaplaincy within the school, and increased the profile of religious studies as an academic discipline in its own right.

David will be particularly remembered for the wit and charm he brought to the pursuit of knowledge as a means of enjoying God. His approach to learning was something you caught rather than were taught. A former pupil mentioned the influence David had had on his life, and on many other boys, several of whom have since been ordained priests. While in Liverpool, David helped with the training of Readers for the diocese, was a tutor for the Aston Training Scheme, and a Selector for the Advisory Council for the Church's Ministry.

In St Asaph diocese, where he was incumbent of Meliden and Gwaenysgor for more than 24 years, David's work was a faithful response to the gospel call of discipleship, in the best way he knew. He offered himself wholly to the Church of God with an intellectual energy, theological application, and love for his people. Beyond his parish, scores of ordinands and diocesan Readers have been recipients of his wisdom, pastoral care, and learning, including the present Dean. Others have referred to him as an inspiring teacher, a fantastic vicar, a true Christian, and an exceptional man.

He was made Canon of St Asaph in 1993, and became Canon Chancellor in 1996. The appointment was due to his academic and intellectual contribution to the diocese. He retired in 2008.

He was a member of the Hymn Society for many years, and wrote a hymn for the diocese, which was sung at his memorial service in the cathedral. He also wrote a hymn for St Margaret's school centenary in 1979, which has been used since as the school hymn. He gave the annual Hellins Lecture in 1998, about hymns. He was the gentlest of gentlemen.

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