'An inspiration and example to us all'
Ramsden Bellhouse Baptist Church, Billericay, marked the 100th birthday of the Revd Raymond Bolton last Sunday (24 June)
Raymond was born on 27 June 1918 in the city of Bath – at that time in Somerset, now in the county of Avon. In his teens he felt called by God to Christian ministry, and began his long preaching career in small churches in the Bath area. He was planning to apply for ministerial training, but the Second World War intervened, and he spent the war years in the Royal Army Medical Corp which enabled him to contribute significantly to the war effort, without having to be in a combat role.
After the war he was accepted at South Wales Baptist College in Cardiff, where he completed his studies, and also met Dorothy Moller, his landlady’s daughter, whom he married in 1949. He was minister of four Baptist churches during his working life – in Chesham, Bucks; Leigh-on-Sea, Essex; Ilford, East London; and Hastings, East Sussex.
In retirement, he had connections with a number of other churches, taking services in the areas where he and Dorothy lived – Holland-on-Sea, Essex; Berkhamsted, Herts, and Billericay, Essex.
Ray and Dorothy had two children, Margaret and Stephen, and subsequently five grandchildren. Sadly Dorothy died in 2009, but Ray now has five great-grandchildren. Though eyesight and hearing are declining, Ray continues to live independently at home, uses a computer and, with help, grows fruit and vegetables in his garden.
Also in recent years in retirement Ray has continued to worship and preach God’s word in an interesting, relevant and clear way at Ramsden Bellhouse Baptist Church where he is a member – his most recent preaching contribution being on Christmas Day 2017, at the age of 99!
In addition Ray is also a prolific writer for the RBBC Quarterly Review magazine, and his regular articles “REFLECTIONS” continue to be both an inspiration and instructive to all who have read them.
Official retirement may have come but this in no way has stopped him being an active preacher of God’s word, from both pulpit and by pen.
It is therefore with great pleasure and pride that we all congratulate Ray on reaching his century, thank him for the support given over the years, wish him well in the future, and thank God for his life – an inspiration and example to us all.
Raymond in the 1960s