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John Brownlow Geyer

GEYER, John Brownlow. b. Wakefield, Yorkshire, 9 May 1932. He was educated at Silcoates School, Wakefield, the Congregational foundation for the sons of nonconformist ministers. After National Service (1951-53), he read Theology at Queens’ College, Cambridge (BA 1956), and trained for the Congregational ministry at Mansfield College, Oxford (1956-59), with a period studying at Heidelberg (1957-59). He was minister of the Congregational Church, St Andrews, Fife, and chaplain to the Congregational Students at the University of St Andrews (1959-63). During this time he formed and directed a successful Rock and Roll band, The Rebels, and was a member of the Dunblane Consultations*. He was minister of Drumchapel Congregational Church, Glasgow (1963-65).

He was tutor at Cheshunt College (1965-67) and at the joint colleges of Cheshunt and Westminster, Cambridge (1967-69). From 1969 to 1980 he was minister of Little Baddow Congregational (later URC) Church, Essex (one of the oldest buildings of English Nonconformity). He was minister of Weoley Hill URC Church, Birmingham, and chaplain in the University of Birmingham (1980-91), before returning to Scotland as minister of Dundee Congregational Church and chaplain to Congregational students at the University of Dundee (1991-2000). He retired to Tayport, Fife.

He published a commentary, The Wisdom of Solomon (1963) and Mythology and Lament. Studies in the Oracles about the Nations (2004), on the Old Testament prophetic writings, together with scholarly articles on other Old Testament subjects.

Geyer’s hymns have appeared in a number of books. ‘Christ our great King at his table presides’ and ‘Our risen Lord we will adore’ were both in New Songs for the Church (1969), and ‘Fire is lighting torch and lamp at night’ is found in several late 20th-century books. The hymn for which he is best known is the hymn for Baptism, ‘We know that Christ is raised and dies no more’*.

Other hymns include ‘Our voice in song we gladly raise’ and ‘The Lord in mercy bless us now’, both in Rejoice in the Lord (1985), and a translation in Cantate Domino (1980), ‘You gave us all the world for our dominion’, from Christa Weiß*, ‘Die ganze Welt hast du uns überlassen’.

JRW

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