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Funeral of former minister Peter Stearman: 'a true Christian gentleman'
The funeral of a former minister of Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Garston was conducted at the church on Thursday last week.
Pastor Peter Horace Stearman was born in Norwich in May 1921. Shortly after becoming a member of the church in 1936 he enrolled at the denomination’s college situated near Rugby to study for the ministry, graduating in 1942. During his time there he made many friends including Vera Howard, who was to become his wife in 1944.
In 1945 the couple set sail to work as missionaries in Ghana, finally arriving there after a three-week sea voyage.
This being wartime they travelled in a convoy of 40 ships accompanied by two destroyers and took a very circuitous route.
Upon arrival at their destination the two 24-year-olds found themselves with a workload which involved care of 40 churches and companies and management of 10 church schools. Their bicycles, which they brought with them, became their main form of transport.
Returning to England in 1953 with their three daughters they worked in the Bristol area, where two more daughters were born, before moving on to care for churches in Southampton and Bournemouth.
In 1964 Peter took over as Senior Minister as Stanborough Park Church in Garston assisted by his wife who also worked in the denomination printing works situated on the estate, before being moved to a church in South London in 1967.
In 1969 Peter became President of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in Wales, remaining in Cardiff for seven years before moving back to his home church of Norwich prior to retirement to the Isle of Wight in 1986. However, even in retirement he was still involved in caring for churches on the island.
In 1998 the couple moved to Garston to be near their daughter Carolyn, the only one of their five daughters still living in the UK.
But even then the couple were called out of retirement to provide short-term care for the church in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
Peter and Vera celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 2004.
He kept himself active during retirement and he and Vera were the enthusiastic owners of two prize-winning allotments in Abbots Langley, until failing health saw his daughter taking them over and continuing to win prizes.
His final months were spent at Lancaster Court in Leavesden. He passed away peacefully on January 18, just a few weeks short of his 92nd birthday.
A spokesman for Stanborough Park Church said: "Peter will be remembered by his friends and family as a devoted husband, kind and loving father and grandfather to his seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren, a caring shepherd and pastor to his many congregations, a true Christian gentleman with a keen sense of fun, a role model to other ministers and a faithful servant of his Lord".