Benjamin Ramsbottom (1929–2023)
The death of Ben Ramsbottom in January was an enormous grief to his former congregation in Luton which he pastored for decades. He was a fascinating preacher, always fresh, interesting and full of his Saviour, Jesus Christ. To spend an afternoon with him in his lovely home in the town was an introduction to how much his congregation loved him. Their gifts to him at various anniversaries he experienced as their pastor testified to their appreciation of his ministry and pastoral care. The texts of many of his sermons are available online and show the grace with which he magnified his Lord. He wrote books for children, but his biography of William Gadsby is excellent.
There was a time fifty years ago when he would be one of the writers, along with J. I. Packer, of the Evangelical Magazine, but in the following years all of us were good in building walls and so we drifted apart. If you wanted to learn from the pen of Mr Ramsbottom then you needed to read his monthly editorials in the Gospel Standard, which vocation he accepted humbly for decades. He was always worth reading. To have him worshipping in your congregation was exciting and our conversations together subsequently with him and his wife were memorable.
Mr Ramsbottom was the Pastor at Bethel Chapel, Luton for fifty-five years until his retirement at the end of 2021. He continued to preach for the congregation after his retirement right up to the first Lord’s Day of 2023. To have been spared for such a remarkably long period is a cause of much thankfulness to the Lord.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his dear wife Jean, to all his children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren.
At the evening service of the first Lord’s Day in January (just two weeks before he died), he took for his text: ‘And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee,’ and more than one person present remarked that it seemed to be his farewell sermon to the church.
We thank God for every remembrance of him.
Geoffrey Thomas is a member of Amyand Park Chapel, London.
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