Obituary: Prebendary Terry Stokes

by
12 April 2019

The Revd Michael Balchin writes:

KNOWN as Terry to his friends, Prebendary Terence Walter Stokes was born in 1934 in Bow, in the East End of London, something he was always proud of. After school, for three years, he was a chef, waiter, and wine butler at the Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool Street; then, like so many of us at that time, he spent five years in the RAF before starting his preparation to follow his vocation as a priest in the Church of England, at Bishops’ College, Cheshunt, in 1962.

After being ordained deacon in 1964 and priest in 1965, he served two curacies, first at St Mary’s, Wanstead, and then at St Albans Cathedral. While at the latter, one of his duties was as Precentor, which was ideal, as he loved church music.

In 1970, he moved to Bath & Wells diocese, where he spent the rest of his ministry, first as assistant director of religious education, then Youth Chaplain. In 1975, he moved to Yeovil as Priest-in-Charge, then Team Vicar. His next move was to Wellington, as Team Rector. He became Rural Dean of Tone in 1989 and a Prebendary of Wells Cathedral in 1990, posts he held until his retirement in 1999.

As a priest, he was morally and spiritually rigorous: at the same time, he delighted in encouraging young people, especially those who he felt had a vocation to ministry. He can well be described as a traditionalist innovator, insisting on discipline and order in public worship; but it also had to be relevant and inspiring for the congregation. He always insisted that as a parish priest he and his staff should be available to their parishioners at any time and under any circumstance.

As a friend, he was loyal and amusing, always ready for a visit, something that his whole family also enjoyed. After his retirement, first to Taunton and latterly to Romsey, his favourite means of keeping up with friends was FaceTime, which often led to hilarious situations.

Terry was not only a faithful priest and devoted family man, he had other interests: he was an accomplished cabinet-maker with several beautiful pieces to his credit, as well as a knowledgeable collector of Delft tiles, who delighted in sharing his knowledge through talks to many different audiences.

He died peacefully in hospital on 30 March. He and his ministry will be sadly missed by many friends and parishioners. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, his children, Mark, Quentin, and Hannah, and his grandchildren, Benjamin, Jonathan, and Joseph.

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