Reflecting on the life of the Revd Leo Osborn

20 September 2023

By the Revd Martin Turner

Monday mornings at Wesley College, 1975, were liturgy with the formidable Raymond George. “Leo, you seem to be reading something under the table” “Oh Mr George, it’s the Birmingham football paper, I brought it in to ask if you think it is appropriate to have a thanksgiving service for Villa winning the League Cup!”

There were always two sides to Leo. He was one of the wisest leaders in Methodism, ministering at large and lively churches, a much loved and respected Chair of the Newcastle District, President of Conference and latterly Chair of the Resignations Panel, lead in Methodist – Roman Catholic discussions, valued member of the Faith and Order Committee and mentor to many.

His ministry was threaded through with pastoral care, which was the theme of his 2011 Presidential year. Without formal academic qualifications he was scholarly, reflective, well read and a fine preacher. He offered deep wisdom and prayerful insight into the leadership of Methodism, many were grateful for a discreet and timely word in times of trouble.

He never forget his evangelical roots, in later years adding to that richness the treasures of pilgrimage and contemplative Celtic spirituality. He faithfully served the Lord he loved all his life, the mind of Christ his Saviour ruled his life in everything.

The other side of Leo wider Methodism may not always have seen. He was hilariously funny, with an acerbic wit aimed at all and sundry, but especially towards friends who were in his view unfortunate enough not to support Aston Villa!

In all his ministry Leo was wonderfully supported by Charlotte. Theirs was a marriage marked by individuality, mutuality and love. Charlotte’s support to Leo throughout his various ministries was returned as he supported her late call to Anglican ministry. Leo was a friend to so many, he was my best friend. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

The Revd Martin Turner is a retired minister who has served across 38 years in Yorkshire, Hertfordshire and Westminster and who now cares for St Michael’s Whaddon LEP.

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