Ruth Beasley-Murray: 1922-2020
An active church member who took on leadership roles in wider denominational life, Ruth was typical of many ministers’ wives of her generation: first and foremost a ‘home-maker’, she saw her role as supporting her husband George in ministry
Born on 3 June 1922, Ruth’s parents, John and Daisy Weston, ‘planted’ what became a vibrant Brethren assembly in Catford, South London. At the age of 18 Ruth met her future husband George Beasley-Murray, then a Spurgeon’s College student leading a Christian Endeavour holiday in Ilfracombe, North Devon. Before the two-week holiday was over George told Ruth that she would become his wife! On 4 April 1942 George and Ruth were married at Ashurst Drive Baptist Church, Ilford, and for over 51 years shared a happy married life together. Ruth lived up to the Hebrew meaning of her name: she was a true ‘companion’.
Ruth was typical of many ministers’ wives of her generation. First and foremost a ‘home-maker’, she saw her role as supporting her husband in ministry – not least by ensuring that the children never interfered with George’s studies! Once married she never sought paid employment, but was happily involved in the life of George’s two churches (Ashurst Drive, Ilford, and Zion, Cambridge). She enjoyed cooking – and enjoyed even more welcoming guests into her home. When George became Principal of Spurgeon’s College, Ruth started regular meetings in her home for students’ wives and fiancées – ‘soirées’ as they were known - where the ‘talk’ was always followed by coffee and refreshments.
At that stage Ruth began to take on leadership roles in wider denominational life. A long-standing member of the national committee of the Baptist Ministers and Missionaries’ Fellowship, she became its President. In 1972 she was elected National President of the Baptist Women’s League and travelled up and down the country addressing groups of women. Ruth was also very involved in a ‘moral welfare’ project based at Vernon Baptist Church, King’s Cross; and an International Club attached to Bloomsbury Baptist Church. All this was in addition to bringing up her four children: Paul, Elizabeth, Stephen (now Grace), and Andrew.
Wherever George’s work as a New Testament teacher took him, Ruth always was an active church member: first at Holmesdale Road Baptist Church, South Norwood in South London; then in the Seminary Church at Rüschlikon and Salemskapelle, the main Baptist church in Zurich; and finally at St Matthew’s Baptist Church, Louisville. In George’s retirement she continued to be involved in local church life: at Elm Road Baptist Church, Beckenham; Holland Road Baptist Church, Hove; and St Peter’s, Blatchington. In her final years she was a member of South Street Baptist Church, Portslade.
George died on 23 February 2000. Life as a widow became increasingly tough for her – how she missed George! Her last years were spent in care and were marked by constant pain and by loss of sight. Yet despite all her limitations she always ‘counted her blessings’ and remained cheerful to the end. She passed into her Saviour’s presence on 1 December 2020.