Obituary: Canon Bryan Green

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Bryan Stuart Westmacott Green, priest: born 14 January 1901; Curate, New Malden 1924-28; Chaplain, Oxford Pastorate 1931-34; Vicar, Christ Church, Crouch End 1934-38; Holy Trinity, Brompton 1938-48; Rector of Birmingham 1948-70; Honorary Canon, Birmingham Cathedral 1950-70 (Emeritus 1970-93); married 1926 Winifred Bevan (one son, one daughter); died Thame 6 March 1993.

BRYAN GREEN was one of the most effective evangelists in the Church of England.

A conversion experience in his teens led Green to have a passionate concern to share the Gospel. In the early Thirties he became one of the youngest speakers to address the evangelical Keswick Convention. In the late Thirties and early Forties he moved from a conservative stance to being a much more open evangelical. By the end of the Forties he had started visiting the United States, and after a preaching mission in 1949 at St John the Divine Cathedral in New York he became an internationally known evangelist who was always at his best preaching to large numbers.

Throughout the Second World War Green was Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, where he drew great crowds and in particular helped many young couples; he had a special interest in those whose marriages had gone wrong and was one of the early advocates of remarriage in church.

Green's greatest period of ministry was as Rector of Birmingham from 1949 to 1970. He drew enormous congregations to St Martin's, Birmingham, with his preaching. He was instrumental in restoring the church, and building St Martin's Hall and its adjunct buildings. Both have served not only the church, but the city as a whole.

At the heart of his ministry Bryan Green was a parish priest. During his time in Birmingham he would spend three months a year on missions but he always felt that the credibility of all he did was based on his work in the parish. He was also a superb team leader: I was his curate for five years and was always amazed at his ability to draw out the best from his colleagues and affirm them. He was the kind of man who had a hundred good ideas each day and worked himself to the bone. At the height of his ministry he would work right through the night once a fortnight, dictating replies to the many letters he received from those who read his articles on everyday ethics and morals in the Women's Illustrated and in the Birmingham Post.

Green was impatient of church structures and his short period in Convocation was a reflection of this. Anything which impeded the progress of the Gospel in his eyes had to be side-stepped.

Bryan Green had a wonderful partnership with his wife, Win. Their home was always open, with a flow of guests both staying and coming to meals. Right to the end he never stopped thinkingof new ideas and new ways of interpreting and sharing the Christian Gospel. There are many hundreds of people who owe their commitment to Jesus Christ to Bryan's ministry.

The late Bishop Christopher Chevasse of Rochester wrote in 1951 about Green's book The Practice of Evangelism: 'The Rector of Birmingham knows more about evangelism than anyone else in the Church of England, and anything he writes is well worth the careful attention of the Church.'

(Photograph omitted)

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