The Revd Barry Vendy: 1947-2022
A gentle, caring and true man of faith, known for his sensitive pastoral ministry, his readiness to listen and encourage, and his insightful preaching
Born in Carshalton, Surrey, the middle of three boys, Barry attended a Methodist church and was strongly influenced by a Billy Graham rally in the early ‘60’s. It was while reading Economics at Durham University that he felt called to Baptist ministry and this calling was nurtured and encouraged by the Revd Norman Renshaw. Barry studied at Bristol Baptist College followed by six months at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Geneva.
In 1973 he was appointed chaplain at Bristol University and Associate Minister at Tyndale Baptist Church. It was there he met Pam, who was to become his wife, and they were married in 1976. Pastorates followed in Whitton, Middlesex (1976-1983), John Street, Stroud (1983-1996) and Histon, Cambridge (1996-2000).
Ecumenical relations were always important to Barry, demonstrated practically in Whitton where he inspired the local churches to renovate a disused shop into Rainbow - a Christian bookshop, coffee bar and shoppers creche. Arriving in Stroud, he was clear his calling included working to heal the effects of a painful split and within a few years the recently formed Stroud Christian Fellowship was fully accepted as part of the local Churches Together.
While in Stroud he became very involved in the developing Baptist Union Retreat Group, devoting a sabbatical to studying the wider, re-emerging retreat movement and also training as a spiritual director. When he moved to Histon, he continued to promote and lead retreats in the east.
Barry had always loved books and spent eight happy years working in the SPCK bookshop in Cambridge before its closure in 2008. During this time he was writing book reviews for the online Christian website, The Goodbookstall, and in all he did more than 100 reviews for them. While always having lots of books, he wasn’t a compulsive hoarder and as he became less actively involved in ministry, he readily pruned his shelves, passing on books to newly qualified ministers or one of the theological colleges.
By this time he and Pam were worshipping at Bar Hill Ecumenical Partnership. Having arrived just as the church was entering a pastoral vacancy, Barry was quickly involved in leading worship and appreciated the breadth of style and content of the different traditions. Even as his health declined and he felt unable to take larger services, he still led occasions such as the midweek communion, and his thoughtful and sensitive leading were greatly appreciated.
For the last three years of his life he was housebound but Pam was very grateful to be able to keep him at home, supported by Blessing, their wonderful Christian live-in carer, who more than lived up to her name. He died peacefully on Easter Saturday evening.
At a thanksgiving service, representatives from many areas of Barry’s life gave thanks for his sensitive pastoral ministry, his readiness to listen and encourage, and his insightful preaching. Through the many challenges he had faced, he had remained gentle, caring and a true man of faith.
He is survived by the family he loved dearly, his wife Pam, sons Jonathan and Neil and five grandchildren.