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‘A great servant of the Baptist family’ 

Tributes have been paid to the Revd Dr Roger Hayden, who died last Thursday (3 March), aged 80

RogerHaydenRoger served as Area Superintendent of the Western Area of the Baptist Union (now known as the West of England Baptist Association) between 1986 and 2000, having previously been a minister of four Baptist churches: Waterbarn, Bacup (1961-66), Broadmead, Northampton (1966-71), Haven Green, Ealing (1971-81), and Abbey, Reading (1981-86).

A scholarly yet accessible historian, he was committed to explaining Baptist history. He wrote the highly readable English Baptist History and Heritage, and was both a former Vice President and 'stalwart member' of the Baptist Historical Society. He also served on Baptist Union Council for a number of years.  

While Roger was ‘a great servant of the Baptist family in a whole variety of ways,’ he was ‘first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ, a deeply committed man of God,’ said the Revd Nigel Coles, Regional Minister Team Leader at WEBA.

Roger was my immediate predecessor and was a very helpful colleague and encourager of me personally. The last time we met we prayed, read scripture and confessed sins together and this is how I shall remember him. Please pray for his wife, Edwina and their family at this time.

The Revd Dr David Coffey was Baptist Union General Secretary throughout most of Roger’s period as Superintendent. He said:

I valued Roger as a colleague on the Superintendents Board during my time as General Secretary. He never shirked the challenge of digging out the deeper issues behind any proposed changes to the Union and was a fearless champion for causes he felt were being marginalised in public debate. His encyclopedic knowledge of Baptist history ensured we always walked in well trodden paths, but equally he was open to new ways of mission and once he caught a vision he was passionate in promoting its cause.

David also highlighted Roger’s humility and the centrality of Christ to his life.

My Presidency of the Baptist Union (1986-87) coincided with his appointment to the Superintendency of the Western Area. During a visit to the annual meetings of the Gloucestershire Association Roger was invited to introduce himself to the gathering. He could have presented his ministerial cv. He might have cast an early vision for his new ministry as Area Superintendent.
Instead Roger gave his testimony along the lines of ‘Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so’. For all his numerous titles and achievements, being a disciple of Jesus Christ was central to Roger's life and ministry.

The Revd Dr Keith G Jones, President of the Baptist Historical Society, highlighted Roger's accessible and high quality work as a historian. 

The Baptist Historical Society has lost a Vice President and stalwart member of the Society in the death of the Revd Dr Roger Hayden. Roger was a passionate man and an inspiration to many, not least in his work as a historian. His speciality was the Particular Baptists and the development of Baptist life in Bristol and through the Bristol Baptist College. He placed us all in his debt by his persistent scholarship, which was of a high quality. Nevertheless, he was not a remote academic, rather someone committed to explaining our past.
He had a wide range of readers who benefitted from his knowledge through his English Baptist History and Heritage, published in 1990 by the Baptist Union Christian Training Programme.

A service of thanksgiving for the life and ministry of Roger will take place at 2pm on 8 April at Broadmead Baptist Church in Bristol.

Please share your tributes to Roger in the comment box below or by emailing phobson@baptist.org.uk

Baptist Times, 09/03/2016
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