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The Revd Norman Trussler: 1921-2017 

Former minister of St James Road Baptist Church, Watford who worked in the horticulture sector after leaving full-time ministry


We were saddened to hear recently that former St James Road Baptist Church minister, the Revd Norman Trussler, passed away on 17 June, aged 95. Norman was minister here from January 1963 to December 1972, and he never returned to the church to visit following his departure; so very few of the current SJR Membership would remember him, or have met him.

During his tenure at SJR, he lived at the manse with his sister Grace, and they then moved to Wiltshire upon the conclusion of Norman’s pastorate here, when he opted to leave full-time ministry to work in the horticultural sector. Grace died on 13 November 2007.

A major issue which dominated Norman’s time here was the decision to demolish the original dilapidated 1903 church on the corner site and construct a brand-new church building. A Church Meeting in October 1963 agreed to meet the financial challenge. After a couple of years of financial and planning-related discussions, demolition of the old church building commenced in December 1965, the foundation stone for the new building was laid in February 1966, and the formal opening then took place on 3rd December 1966: an occasion extensively covered by the Watford Observer at that time.

Other highlights during Norman’s tenure included:

  • A change to Church Rules to allow the appointment of retiring long-standing Deacon, Mr L Freeman, as Elder in May 1964, and more flexible rules for the election of Deacons in 1970.
  • Visits of teams from London Bible College helping to run ‘Mission to Family’ sessions in 1965 & 1966 and further linking-up with LBC for training in Open Air witness in 1971.
  • Running of coaches to Billy Graham Crusades in 1966 & 1967.
  • Replacing the Boys’ Brigade in 1966 with a non-uniform organisation Calebites.
  • Running of Church Holidays over a number of summers.
  • The establishment of children’s summer Holiday Venturers weeks from 1969.
  • Ongoing support for South Oxhey and Flaunden Baptist Churches.
  • Establishment of a telephone link to Shrodells Hospital to enable occasional services to be broadcast on Watford Hospital Radio from 1971.
  • Continued steady progress in paying off the extensive debt on the new building through sacrificial giving.


Norman also had pastorates at Tetbury (1951-55) and Foots Cray (1955-63). We give thanks for Norman’s life and ministry. 


The Revd Alice McDermott, minister of St James Road Baptist Church, Watford 

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