Obituary: The Revd Colin Powell

25 October 2019

Prince Frederick von Saxe-Lauenberg writes:

THE Revd Colin Powell was a very private and reserved person who kept his personal life very much to himself. He was a man of God, a positive thinker throughout his life who had the Lord at the centre of his existence on earth. His conversations were very serious. He liked to know what people thought, and would ask lots of questions about science and religion.

The Bible was always at the heart of his discussions with people. He knew the scriptures very well indeed, and loved them greatly. He did not like what he called “speculation” when it came to interpreting the Bible, and he kept very closely to traditional Evangelical understandings.

He loved reading, especially Bible commentaries and history books of a wide range, although the Reformation was probably his preferred period. Biographies of great Christian lives he loved, too. His house always had great piles of books scattered about. He was usually found in company, especially when a meal was concerned; when he could, he avoided being on his own.

Colin loved St Chad’s in Ladybarn, south Manchester, and Holy Trinity, Platt, in Rusholme, Manchester, and coped with difficulty owing to his failing physical health. He came and preached for as long as he could, even when most people would have given up. Lucky for Colin, he had a core group of friends who cared from him and offered to ferry him round in their vehicles. He was a very prayerful man who said Morning and Evening Prayer regularly, with company when he could, and was very much missed during his last few months in hospital and a nursing care home.

In 1937, he went to Baines Endowed School, Marton, and, in 1943, at the age of 11, he passed a scholarship for Baines Grammar School, Poulton-le-Fylde, where he excelled in history, scripture, and New Testament Greek. He graduated from Durham University with a degree in history, in 1953, and gained a diploma in education in 1954. His college was Hatfield, where he spent some of the best years of his life.

At that stage, he was uncertain about a calling to the Church. He was, however, ordained in Blackburn Cathedral in 1956, and served as a curate and vicar in several parishes in the north of England, before settling as Rector of St Thomas’s, in Cheetham, north Manchester. He retired in 1997, after a few years at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rochdale, as its last serving Vicar. He enjoyed a very busy retirement. He was asked to officiate at several churches in south Manchester, which he did without question; he said that in this job you never retired.

Throughout his ministry, he was caring, conscientious, compassionate, and had a pleasant manner dealing with parishioners.

He died on 28 July, aged 87, having never married.

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