REV. JOHN DALBY (1939 TO 1940)
Born in Leeds on 2nd April 1898 into a family whose Methodist roots went back to the days of John Wesley. After leaving school at eighteen he enlisted as a soldier in the First World War, was wounded, taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Germany. After his release in 1919 he went first to Leeds University and then to Oriel College, Oxford, where he gained his MA. In 1924 the Wesleyan Missionary Society sent him to Ceylon where he became Vice-Principal of Wesley College, Colombo, and where he married Christine Raw, who loyally supported him in all his work. They had two daughters, Margaret and Rachel. From 1929 to 1940 John was Principal of Wesley, moving on to Richmond College where he also became Principal. In 1938 he was accepted for the ministry. He always looked upon his time in Ceylon as a period of great privilege and rich experience.
The Dalby family returned home in 1944 and John’s first appointment was to the Lincoln (Aldersgate) Circuit, followed by a term in his native county at Pudsey, and then back to Lincolnshire to the Sleaford (Northgate), Lincoln (Central) and Coningsby Circuits. He retired in 1963 to Nettleham and continued to preach in and around Lincoln, becoming deeply involved in the life of the local Methodist Church where he was able to exercise his pastoral gifts to the full; for, scholar though he was, his great interest was always in people. He loved the fellowship of his colleagues and in staff meetings and FK his gentle humour was always appreciated. When old age and failing eyesight brought limitations, John joined the family at Stones Place MHA. Always sturdily independent, he came to terms with dependence, discovering the truth of Milton’s words, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” No longer able to conduct worship himself, he loved to share in the services at the home. On Christmas morning just before his death he was in his usual place for Holy Communion; as he received the elements John said as always his firm “Amen”, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life. Such was the manner of his passing from us on 30th December 1989 in the ninety-second year of his age and the fifty-second year of his ministry.