The Revd William Maurice Heath: 1928-2017
Longtime pastor of the Tabernacle, Llandrindod Wells, which grew in almost every aspect of its witness
One might almost say that Maurice entered the Baptist ministry on a Raleigh bicycle! His wife Edna worked in the Raleigh factory to finance his training at Paton Congregational College. The college tweaked the course to include Baptist Studies.
Maurice left school when he was 14 and worked in a gent’s outfitters. He went back to the shop following his National Service but his heart was always in the work of spreading the gospel. He was elected senior deacon at Whitemoor Baptist Church and subsequently “Pastor” when he was only in his early 30s. During his time there he commenced the Maurice Heath Evangelistic Association and also his Summer Christian Camps for Young People. He did all these things despite the fact that he was lame after a near fatal polio attack which confined him to an “iron lung” as a youngster.
Following his studies at College, Maurice was inducted to the Baptist church at Long Crendon and after four years there moved to the Tabernacle, Llandrindod Wells. During a more than 30 year ministry, Tabernacle grew in almost every aspect of its witness, despite losing the occasional disgruntled groups who asserted he was not evangelical enough!
The Tabernacle was a huge Victorian building, far too large for a modern church. Toward the end of his ministry the building was declared unsafe, but, unfazed, Maurice led the church to face the challenge. The building was replaced with a block of flats and a new modern worship centre. A fortnight before the building was due to be handed to the church, the builder went bankrupt and it was seized as part of his disposable assets. Once more it was apparent he was the right man for the challenge. Thanks to him the building was released to the church.
During his time in Llandrindod Wells, Maurice was involved in Association and Union work, as well as lots of other things in the community. Deteriorating heath led his moving to Hathern, Leicestershire, the church he had often preached in former years and he found supportive fellowship there during the last years of his life.
His wife Edna had predeceased him but his children lived nearby. Tim, Sarah and Stephen and their families who were all at his bed side when he passed away. We remember him with thanksgiving.
William Maurice Heath born in Walsall, May 26, 1928, and died 8 March, 2017.
The Revd Meredith Powell