Obituary: Canon Raymond Hammer

Raymond Jack Hammer, theologian and priest: born London 4 July 1920; Assistant Curate, St Mark's, St Helens 1943-46; Senior Tutor, St John's College, Durham 1946-49; Professor in Doctrine, St Paul's University, Tokyo 1958-64; Chaplain, British Embassy, Tokyo 1954-64; Honorary Canon, St Michael's Cathedral, Kobe, Japan 1964-94; Lecturer, Queen's College, Birmingham and Lecturer in Theology, Birmingham University 1965-77; Director, Bible Reading Fellowship 1977- 85; Secretary to Archbishops' Consultants 1983-92; Librarian, Worcester Diocesan Library 1989-94; married 1949 Vera Reed (two daughters); died Redditch 14 January 1994.

RAYMOND HAMMER and his wife Vera offered themselves for service with the Church Missionary Society in 1950 and sailed for Japan, where Raymond took up a post on the staff of the Central Theological College in Tokyo. To serve in that country after the Second World War and in a church that was of modest proportions with all the effects of wartime deprivation was itself a challenge. When one adds the task of learning the language and adapting to a formal culture it can be appreciated that the couple faced formidable obstacles. For Raymond Hammer it was a time of significant achievement. Along with the growth of his family the number of his engagements increased too. He was promoted from Lecturer to Professor at St Paul's University, Tokyo, and became Director of the International Institute for Religious Teaching, Chairman of the Tokyo Ecumenical Discussion Group and eventually Secretary of the National Christian Council for Japan.

In Japan's Religious Ferment (1961), part of a series edited by Canon Max Warren, Hammer shows an impressive level of scholarship for someone who had arrived in that country only a decade earlier. His appointment in 1964 as an Honorary Canon of Kobe Cathedral was a sign of the great esteem in which he was held by his fellow Christian Japanese. He was also chaplain to the British Embassy.

Hammer had an obvious vocation for the Anglican ministry and a gift for theological study. He received his early education in London, but he and his parentsmoved to the North-west shortly afterwards. It was as a pupil at the Liverpool Institute that Hammer revealed his intellectual powers and earned a place at St Peter's College, Oxford. He took his BA Hons whilst a student at Wycliffe Hall and received his MAin 1943. He was ordained deacon in Liverpool Cathedral in 1943, serving a title at St Helen's. Though learning his pastoral skills, he continued to study, achieving his Bachelor of Divinity status in 1945. It was his skill in this field that led to his appointment as Tutor at St John's College, Durham, in 1946, where he later became Senior Tutor.

The Hammer family returned to England in 1964 and while Raymond was a theology Lecturer at Queen's College, Birmingham, he was made Director of the new Non-Stipendiary Ministry course for the West Midlands. This enabled men with full-time professional or occupational careers to train as part-time clergy (an opportunity now extended to women).

It was from this post that Hammer came to the vacant chair of Director of the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), the main Anglican organisation to assist in the reading and understanding of the Holy Scriptures. His predecessor, Ian Thompson, had laid solid foundations for the work, and it was these which Hammer, with his considerable theological expertise, built on.

He took in hand the selection of new writers and designs for the Fellowship. Circulation had fallen and it was Hammer's first task to reverse the trend. In this he largely succeeded, but his heart was set on a more ambitious project. Following a tentative lead by Thompson he was eager that notable theological writers contribute works on scriptural themes. In securing such authors, Hammer displayed one of his great gifts, he seemed to know everyone that mattered.

Licensed to officiate by the Diocese of London from 1977 he had also assisted with the NSM Course at Southwark and gave some help there even after his work at BRF had ended. Hammer was also licensed in Coventry and Worcester dioceses and continued to exercise his ministry there.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits