Obituary: The Ven. Martin Baddeley

13 July 2018

Photo supplied by the family

Canon Alan Race writes:

WHEN the Ven. Martin Baddeley, who died on 28 June, was appointed Principal of the Southwark Ordination Course (SOC) in 1980, he was handed the baton of a trail-blazing institution in a Church which was still unsure about the value of non-residential training for clergy. It was a perfect appointment for the man and the cause. Martin blossomed, and the next 16 years represented the most cherished time of his career. The influence of his gentle and gracious, if also steely. ability, combined with humane openness and ecumenical spirit, left an indelible mark on students and colleagues — of whom I was one from 1984 to 1994 — alike.

Born on 10 November 1936 in the Solomon Islands, Martin James Badderley’s early years were spent living in the mission run by his father. After the war, his childhood was spent in Thirsk and Blackburn, with his three sisters, Bridget, Anne, and Ruth.

It was at Keble College, Oxford, where he studied Theology, that Martin developed an abiding passion for the Hebrew Bible. After ordination training at Lincoln Theological College, he was ordained in 1961, and worked for a year in Uganda.

Martin married Judith in July 1963, and, after a curacy in Stretford, Manchester, was appointed to the staff at Lincoln. From 1969 to 1974, he was Chaplain of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and of New Hall next door. Then, until his appointment as Principal of SOC in 1980, he was the Precentor of Rochester Cathedral.

Martin provided inspiring leadership at SOC, making generous space for the collaboration of colleagues. He had a gift for bringing to life the literature of the Hebrew Bible, assisted by trusty hand-drawn materials on overhead-projector acetates (it was the early days of Amstrad), and his Friday-evening addresses and Sunday sermons were greatly prized. At each weekend school, ordinands were introduced to at least one new hymn and Taizé chants galore. Summer Schools always involved one day on the creative arts, painting, model-making, or learning to clown.

In his final two years at SOC, Martin also coordinated a merger with the Canterbury School of Ministry, creating the South East Institute for Theological Education (now renamed St Augustine’s College of Theology).

Martin’s final appointment in 1996 was as Archdeacon of Reigate, exchanging his passion for theological education for church management. Wisely, he retired in 2000.

Throughout their married life, Martin and Judith remained a devoted couple. But in 2005, plans for beloved caravan holidays were sadly curtailed by Judith’s unexpected death, and, for the next 13 years, she was never far from his thoughts. They had three children, Andrew, David, and Maggie, and eight grandchildren; time spent with them was always a grandparental delight. All who knew Martin will remember his infectious humour and the warmth of his smile, which remained with him during these last years.

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