Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MICHAEL , JOHN HUGH ( 1878 - 1959 ), minister (Meth.), Professor in Methodist colleges in England and Canada, Biblical exegetist ;

b. 9 Aug. 1878 in Port Dinorwic, Caerns. , son of Thomas and Kate Michael . He was educated at Friars School , Bangor , before entering the University College of Wales at Bangor , where he graduated B.A. in 1899 . After being a lay preacher on the Caernarfon circuit , he was persuaded to offer himself as a candidate for the ministry with the Wesleyan Methodists . He was accepted and in 1900 he went to Didsbury College , Manchester , where he successfully completed a B.D. course. Then, in 1903 , he was appointed an assistant professor at Headingley College , Leeds , where he remained for four yrs. As a minister he travelled in the circuits of Wakefield (3 yrs.) and Eccles (3 yrs.) before going to Canada in 1913 , having been appointed Professor of New Testament Studies at Emmanuel College of the University of Victoria in Toronto . During World War II he was joint minister of Eaton Memorial church in Toronto , while continuing his studies with great success. In 1919 he received an hon. D.D. degree from Queen's University , Canada . Throughout his period in Victoria University he contributed regularly to theological periodicals , and of his published books perhaps the most important was his commentary on the epistle to the Philippians in the Moffatt New Testament Commentary series ( 1928 ). As a lecturer and preacher his delivery was eloquent and with conviction; he never lost his Welsh accent. The message could be severe but for his occasional flash of wit which made his lectures and sermons all the more effective. He shared the friendship of professors and famous men of his day, such as Reinhold Niebuhr , Albert Einstein , James Moffatt and Wilbert Howard , who was for a period one of his fellow-students at Didsbury . Another fellow-student at Didsbury was Edward Tegla Davies (see above) who described him as being well over six foot tall, broad, with a princely head, a firm yet gentle character and defender of the weak.

Having spent years in Toronto , he became a supernumerary there and continued to bring a blessing to many through his sermons and writings. He d. in Toronto , 6 Jan. 1959 , having been a minister for 56 yrs.


  • The Minutes of the Annual Conference Methodist Church , 1959 , 191;
  • Who's who in Canada (Toronto) , 1922 .


Reverend Eric Edwards, Wrexham

Published date: 2001