The Revd Graham Charles Clay: 1953-2018
'A very loving, caring pastor with a strong emphasis on Scripture, who leaves a lasting legacy of what it means to be a Christian and the hope we have in Jesus.'
Graham was an accredited Baptist minister for 27 years having been ordained in the Methodist Church and serving the Methodist Connexion first in Nelson, Lancashire and then in Port Talbot, South Wales, followed by two years in an independent fellowship in Bridgend, South Wales.
Born and brought up in Cardiff to Christian parents, he had one older brother. The family attended a Methodist church and his father was a Local Preacher. On leaving school at the age of 17, Graham was employed as a trainee manager in a printing works, with the prospect of eventually taking over the business.
In 1973, while stewarding at Spree 73 in London, he heard Billy Graham preach each night and gave his life to the Lord. Shortly afterwards, he completed a one-year certificate in evangelism at Cliff College in Derbyshire, during which he felt the call to candidate for the ministry. He subsequently spent four years training at Wesley College, Bristol.
He met Edna at Cliff College. They married at the end of his year there and had four sons, all of whom married, and nine grandchildren. He loved his family deeply and was a man with a great sense of humour and fun.
In 1990 Graham entered the Baptist ministry, serving in Pembroke Dock, Torquay and Stratford-upon-Avon. He was a very loving, caring pastor with a strong emphasis on Scripture. His preaching, teaching, prayer ministry and pastoral care touched many lives and his heart’s desire was to encourage people to “keep close to Jesus”.
In July 2017 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease which he faced with courage, determination and an ever-present smile, continuing to show concern and care for everyone he met. After Christmas he contracted pneumonia and died suddenly in hospital on 15 January 2018.
The Revd Neil Le Tissier conducted a service of thanksgiving at Stratford-upon-Avon Baptist Church on 27 February. The service was focussed on Jesus and concluded with two verses of a Wesley hymn which were sung at Cliff College to close the weekly class meeting.
And if our fellowship below
In Jesus be so sweet
What heights of rapture shall we know
When round His throne we meet.
He bids us build each other up
And gathered into one
To our high calling’s glorious hope
We hand in hand go on.
Graham will be greatly missed by his family, friends and church, but he leaves a lasting legacy of what it means to be a Christian and the hope we have in Jesus.