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Joe West (1941-2017)

November 2017 | by Andrew Stone

On 26 July, Joe West went to be with the Lord, aged 76. On 10 August, family and friends joined together at Providence Baptist Chapel in Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire, to mourn his passing and give thanks for his life of service.

He was saved while a teenager and baptised at Totnes Gospel Hall in 1957. He began preaching on the chapel circuit of south Devon at the age of 16. He married Joan in 1962, a widow with three young children; together they had three more children.

Before becoming a pastor, he had a rich variety of jobs including petrol pump attendant, clerk in a slaughter house and ice cream seller. In the late 1960s he met Paul Hill, who introduced him to the doctrines of grace. He rejoiced to know full assurance of salvation by grace alone. He instilled into his children this list of priorities: God first, other people second, yourself last.

Joe then began a theological course at Bryntirion in South Wales, after which he became a Free Church of England minister. He went on to establish an independent Baptist church in Exeter, before being called to be pastor of Dawlish Baptist Church.

While in Exeter, Joe organised a public reading of the newly published New International Version in the main shopping precinct in Exeter. A rota of willing volunteers read the entire Bible non-stop, 24 hours a day, taking about three days. A number of students in Exeter came to faith in Christ while attending Joe’s church in Exeter; others were greatly built up in their faith. Joe leaves a widow, 6 children, 13 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Andrew Stone