On 27 July 2017, the funeral and thanksgiving service for Leslie Jarvis was held at the Baptist chapel in Market Street, Hailsham.
The chapel was full, with family, friends and Christian brothers and sisters from many of the churches that Leslie had helped through his preaching and pastoral ministry.
The spirit of thanksgiving and worship, especially through the singing of Leslie’s favourite hymns, was a testimony to the grace of God in his life and a wonderful support to Leslie’s wife Nettie and his family.
Jonathan Jarvis gave a message of thanksgiving and reminiscence on behalf of his mother, brother and sisters. Pastor Paul Relf gave the reading and prayer, and Pastor Howard Sayers spoke from Philippians 4.
Leslie and Nettie were married in 1960. In the 57 years of their marriage they opened their home to hundreds of friends and visitors, and reached out by practical care and hospitality. Their garden provided delight and sustenance. Leslie was a keen gardener and beekeeper, and a well loved and admired husband, father and grandfather.
Leslie gained experience in accounting and the timber construction industry before accepting a call to pastor Enon Baptist Church, Chatham, in 1968. He guided the church for 38 years, until his retirement from that position in 2006, handing over to Paul Relf.
During that time, he designed a new church building and oversaw the move into the new location. He was active in committee work on behalf of, among others, the Sovereign Grace Union and Ministers’ Help Society.
He took a particular interest in the ministries of Grace Baptist Mission and Christian Compassion Ministries in the Philippines, where he helped in construction projects, including a residential block for needy children.
Since Leslie and Nettie’s move to Hailsham and their joining in membership at Market Street in 2012, our beloved brother ministered faithfully among many of the smaller and pastor-less churches in Sussex, as well as further afield.
Here at Hailsham we shall miss his wise and gracious counsel in many ways, as he brought his many years of experience to bear on our church life. In particular, we will miss his godly and earnest prayers in the prayer meeting and in private. Men of prayer, such as Leslie, are a tremendous strength to a church and we are all the poorer for the lack of them.
Leslie was also a great encourager to many people who were going through times of trouble, even when he was struggling with his own health problems in recent months. We thank God for every memory of a true ‘Barnabas’.
Howard Sayers and Jonathan Jarvis