In 1967 Arthur, Margaret and their three children, Alison, David and Neil moved from Huddersfield to a new house on King Lane as a result of Arthur starting a job as an engineer in the Leeds City Planning Department. Prior to this they had been active in Salendine Nook Baptist Church where Arthur had been a Deacon and, in looking for a new church, they soon found MBC. Within scarcely a year of joining Moortown as members Arthur was elected to the Diaconate and was persuaded by the new Minister, Ralph Drake, (who himself was only a year into his ministry) to take on the role of Church Secretary on the retirement of John Smith. This decision probably slowed down the process of creating his lovely garden at the new house, and was the start of fifteen years loyal and loving service working with Ralph Drake and later Michael Caddick as Ministers.
Arthur was a great Church Secretary and pastorally-minded Deacon. His great commitment to the life of the church was shown each year at the AGM in his annual Secretary’s Reports – beautifully summing up, with humour and positivity, the ups and downs of a church year with emphasis on the blessings of God in the church… something which Margaret and Arthur were famous for passing on to others!
The Barr home was always welcoming and many of us remember house-groups there, the prayer chains, the listening groups they ran, and well into old age their faithful involvement in many other aspects of Church life.
Physical weakening was frustrating for Arthur who, all his life, had been a lover of the great outdoors: the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands and Islands and especially his beloved Isle of Arran. In recent times some of us have had the privilege of sharing reminiscences with Arthur of these lovely places and of church holidays – always laced with humorous anecdotes and with a twinkle in his eye. We have also learned of his pride in his Scots ancestry, his belonging to the Moffat Clan and his ambition to own a kilt!
Arthur’s passing at a difficult moment in the Church’s life reminds us of how the love of Jesus is demonstrated and passed on by acts of kindness, faithfulness and love of others which his life demonstrated. He will be greatly missed, but not forgotten.
We remember Alison, David and Neil and their families in our prayers.
And a word from Graham
Arthur was a compassionate man, a loyal friend, an assured Christian and a committed church member. Whenever I visited him (and Margaret) he never dwelt upon himself but asked after me and all in church. Arthur (and Margaret) had a deep care and connection for their children and grandchildren, there was a photo of the whole family in their lounge and we would talk and pray for those in the picture. At the end of each time we often listen to his recording of the ‘Fishermen’s Choir ‘– especially “Will your anchor hold” and we would always pray.
A few years ago Arthur and Margaret came to us for Christmas dinner, we had a wonderful day.
It is difficult to sum all this up. But maybe Arthur does this best. Every time I called he would greet me saying “Bless you!” Arthur was a blessing in his words and the way he was. I am so grateful for having known him.
As many of you will know Arthur served as a deacon and church secretary for many years. As his family will tell you – in those days that involved going up to church every weekend to stoke the church boiler with coal before the Sunday services!
Our thoughts and prayers are with Arthur’s children, David, Alison and Neil and with their families. We also pray for those here at MBC who have known Arthur a long time and will share their sadness.
It brings such sadness to lose Arthur, but we haven’t lost him for although he has died we know that he is not lost but safe in the Lord’s arms. We also know that Arthur is an ongoing blessing to us in who he was and the times he shared with us.
“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23: 5b, 6
Our pictures (top to bottom) show Arthur c.1970, not long after being appointed MBC Church Secretary.
A picture of Arthur and Margaret taken by the late John Ritchie (just one of a set of wonderful portraits John took of church members in the 8o’s).
Arthur (3rd from left) pictured with his fellow deacons and MBC Minister Rev Ralph Drake.
Arthur assisting Ralph at a Communion Service.
Margaret and Arthur relaxing during a stay in Keswick in 1983.
Arthur’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 15th of December. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 restrictions no more than 30 people can be present which means that only his family and a few invited friends can attend.