Revd Canon Trevor Williams

Revd Canon Trevor Williams trained for ordination at Westcott House in the late 1960s and always had fond memories of his time. He was born in 1938 in Kampala, Uganda, the son of Church Mission Society missionaries, his father serving as Archdeacon. As was the case for many missionary children at that time, he was sent to boarding school in England where he spent his senior years at Marlborough College. On completion of his schooling, he did two years National Service in the RAF, before studying Theology at Jesus College Oxford. Following completion of his degree, he returned to Uganda and completed an MA in African Studies at Makerere University as well as enjoying many travel adventures. On his return to the UK, he started at Westcott House, where he met his future wife, Sue, who was studying midwifery in Cambridge. After getting married in 1968, they moved to Bristol where Trevor served his curacy at St Paul’s Clifton. Alongside his parish work, he assisted in the chaplaincy at Bristol University. He and Sue’s first daughter, Rebecca, was born in 1969 and shortly afterwards, they moved to Oxford where Trevor took up the post of Chaplain and Fellow in Theology at Trinity College. Their second daughter, Catherine, was born in 1971.

Trevor’s much revered academic strengths as a theologian were combined with a pastoral heart and he was dedicated to both aspects of the role. It was a demanding post, with teaching responsibilities in the Theology Faculty and college, alongside the regular chapel services and pastoral roles within college. He always had time for people, staff and students, and had a great sense of humour. His subject was Modern Theology and he developed a specialism in the theology of Paul Tillich, offering faculty seminars in Tillich for over 20years.

Beyond his ministry as chaplain to Trinity College, Trevor served as the Bowles Lecturer, taking services a number of times a year at St Nicholas’s, Abingdon. He also took services at his own parish church. He was made an honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral and he served as a governor of Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

Trevor maintained a lifelong interest in Uganda and was greatly involved in the charity, African International Christian Ministry, founded by Enoch Kayayee, a Ugandan priest who studied in Oxford. Trevor became chairman of the Friends of AICM in Britain and devoted many years to its work and remained a trustee well into his retirement. He took two parties of students from Trinity out to Uganda, in 1998 to help build a medical clinic and in 2001 to help build an orphanage for children of AIDS victims.

In 1985, Trevor published ‘Form and Vitality in the World and God’ (OUP) and in 2009, having retired, he collected together some of his writings in ‘The Ultimacy of Jesus’ (Aureus Publishing).

In retirement, he remained involved in the life of Trinity, particularly enjoying opportunities to catch up with former students at alumni gatherings.  He also enjoyed some travel adventures as well as time with family and friends. Ultimately, failing health made it sensible to move up to Edinburgh, to be nearer his daughters and their families. Despite his health challenges, he retained his wonderful sense of humour and care and concern for others. He died on 5 November 2019.

Obituary and photo, R Williams.