Pioneering pastor remembered for his compassion
IPSWICH: From humble beginnings in the West Indies to representing a union of workers and establishing a nationwide church from his family home, William Greenaway will be remembered as a tolerant, driven and compassionate man.
Born in 1931 and raised on the tiny island of Montserrat, Mr Greenaway, who died aged 78 last week, was among the first wave of migrants to make a home in the UK.
Moving to Ipswich with wife Eileen in 1960, he settled with his young family in Chevallier Street and took a job working first at Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies and then Crane’s foundry.
Mr Greenaway quickly positioned himself at the heart of the community by pioneering the Shiloh Pentecostal Church, which began life at the Greenaway family home and now boasts churches across the country in London, Wales, Birmingham, Slough and Leicester.
As Pastor Greenaway, he also took on the responsibilities of treasurer, Sunday school teacher, and even church bus driver.
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At work, he spoke for colleagues as a union representative and was noted as an excellent mediator, once proposing a symbolic walk-out on behalf of underpaid nurses during the 70s.
Despite frequently facing discrimination in many areas of the society he had adopted as his home, Mr Greenaway maintained a philosophical outlook at all times, as daughter Florence explained.
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“He always had a positive attitude,” she said. “He was a very jovial man and a great storyteller.
“He came here in the 60s, and as we all know, Britain wasn’t such a welcoming place at that time. He accepted quite a lot, but his attitude is probably the reason we’re still here today.”
Mr Greenaway had all the makings of a teacher, and when not at work would lead bible study and church services for a rapidly growing congregation who came from as far away as London.
The church moved to a more established home in Silent Street during the mid 60s and in recent years relocated to Vernon Street, where Mr Greenaway continued to give services until his retirement.
In later life, Mr Greenaway suffered heart problems and died at home in Nacton Road last Friday.
He is survived by wife Eileen, children James, Paul, Florence and Pat, grandchildren Naomi and Luke, niece and nephew Joan and Charlie and the brethren of Shiloh Pentecostal Fellowship.
A funeral service was due to be held at Ipswich International Church, in Barrack Lane, today at 11.30am, followed by interment at the Lawn Cemetery.
Donations will be gratefully accepted for Papworth Hospital Charity and all enquiries should be made to Co-operative Funeral Services, 47 St Helen’s Street, Ipswich Suffolk, IP4 2JL, or on 01473 257242.
n Did you know William Greenaway? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk