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Watson, Victor J., MBE
1928-2005; e.m. 1954

Born on 15 October 1928, he was called to the ministry while serving in the Royal Navy in Hong Kong. From 1957 to 1965 he served with his wife Gwenda in Panama, where he championed the cause of the racially oppressed and disadvantaged poor. He established the Methodist School in Colon and Hogar Atlantico, a home for the aged, and received Panama’s highest award, the Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

Returning to England, he ministered in multi-racial areas of Manchester and London, where he continued to address the root causes of racism in society and in the church with vigour. He worked with Community Relations Councils to enable dialogue between police and community, campaigned for better asylum and immigration procedures, assisted people detained on immigration charges. He set up MELRAW, the Methodist (later Methodist and Ecumenical) Leadership Race Awareness Workshops which confronted ministers and lay leaders with the unacknowledged racism in the church and in their own psyche. Appointed in 1977 to Clubland Church in South London when its membership had dwindled to zero, he built up the largest Methodist congregation in the capital, at the same time serving on numerous committees dealing with social and international concerns. He died on 7 September 2005.

Sources

  • Brian Frost and Stuart Jordan, Pioneers of Social Passion: London's Cosmopolitan Methodism (2006) pp.68-70

Entry written by: JRP
Category: Person

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