Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JOHN, GEORGE (1918-1994), minister (Bapt) and college principal.

George John was born in Pen-rhiw in the parish of Eglwys Wen, Pembrokeshire, on 8 November 1918, the son of William and Margaret John. He had one sister, Mattie, and two half-sisters from his widowed father's first marriage. He was educated in the local primary school and in Cardigan County School. He was baptised in Bethabara Baptist church and there, under the ministry of the Revd Lewis Young Hayden, he began to preach. In 1938 he was admitted to the Baptist College in Bangor as a ministerial student, registering at the same time in the University College of Wales, Bangor. He graduated with honours Welsh in 1941 and in Semitic languages in 1942. He gained a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1945, with New Testament Greek and Church History as his main subjects.

He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1945 and for the next twenty six years pastored Baptist churches: Cwmduad and Ffynnon-Henri (1945-48), Tabernacl, Llwynhendy (1948-59), and Bethel, Dre-fach (1959-71), with Rehoboth and Clawdd-coch being placed under his care in 1968. In 1951, while minister of Tabernacl, Llwynhendy, he married Elsie Margaret, the daughter of David Henry and Elisabeth Ann Jenkins, Llwynhendy. Two daughters were born to them: Delyth Margaret and Carys Elisabeth.

In 1971 he was appointed professor of New Testament Studies in the Baptist College in Bangor, succeeding D. Eirwyn Morgan as head of the College in 1980. He was elected President of the Baptist Association in Caernarfonshire in 1982. In 1984, he retired to live in Llandysul, but continued to lecture for a time in the University College of Wales, Lampeter.

George John was a lover of quiet corners, but, nevertheless, he was an eloquent and substantial preacher. He took Pregethu: Yr Uchel Alwedigaeth (‘Preaching: the High Calling’) as the topic of the Dewi Gravelle Memorial Lecture delivered under the auspices of the Baptist College in Moreia, Meinciau, in 1986. The college subsequently published the lecture in 1990. After his death, a collection of his own sermons and talks entitled Gardd Duw was published in 1999 under the editorship of Desmond Davies. His other publications are sparce, although, for ten years, he was a member of the panel entrusted with the translation of the Apocrypha for new Welsh translation of the Bible, Y Beibl Cymraeg Newydd and he prepared the draft translation of some of the longest books, including 1 Macabees. His essay Paul y Dyledwr (Paul the Debtor) was published in Efrydiau Beiblaidd Bangor 3 (1978), a collection of theological essays by staff of the University College of Wales, Bangor.

George John died 6 January 1994 and was buried in Pen-y-bont, Llandysul.

Sources:

  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary 1995, p. 71;
  • Seren Cymru , 28 January 1994, 4 and 11 February 1994.
  • A monochrome photograph of him appears in Gardd Duw , 1999, (ed. Desmond Davies).

Author:

D. Hugh Matthews

Published date: 2010