The Revd David Cook writes:
THE Revd Herbert Joseph Edwards, who died on 4 December, aged 87, was a lecturer at Lichfield Theological College from 1968 to 1971. There will be many former students, and others besides, who, like me, look back with happy memories on three years under his care and supervision.
Those of us who arrived at Lichfield in 1968 will recall a rather nervous individual fresh from parochial ministry in Broom Leys, who soon endeared himself to those who were to become his main responsibility as members of the “Leicester” group. Lichfield was embarking on a new concept in clergy training, and Joe was a vital link in the relationship between college and parish.
His hospitality and generosity soon became apparent, and I particularly remember asking whether I might use his car to drive one or two of us to a lecture at Ossett Seminary. Joe, as generous as ever, handed me the keys without a moment’s hesitation; his only stipulation was that, on my return, I park it in the same spot from which I had taken it.
The door of his room on the ground floor of Selwyn House, in the Close at Lichfield, was always open, and a knock from an anxious student would guarantee a sympathetic ear over a cup of tea and biscuits. Joe combined a wise and generous heart with an academic pragmatism to match.
I met him some years later, at the home in Pocklington of the late Fr Hugh Prosser, whom Joe had known from his days with USPG in Rhodesia. Interested in church life at the cutting edge, Joe showed the same sensitivity and diplomacy as ever. In more recent years, when passing near Lichfield, I called to see him at St John’s Hospital, and was immediately overwhelmed by his hospitality and generosity in spite of failing health and mobility.
There will be many throughout Leicestershire and beyond who will thank God for the wise and unassuming ministry of Herbert Joseph Edwards, known to us at Lichfield quite simply as “Joe”.