Dion's random ramblings

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rest in peace 'Zoob'! The passing of Rev Barry Marshall

Dr Wessel Bentley, Rev Barry Marshall, Dr Dion Forster
Originally uploaded by digitaldion.

I heard today of the death of my friend the Reverend Barry Marshall. Barry, is pictured in the middle of Wessel Bentley (left) and myself (right) in this photograph taken in Cape Town in 2007. I have such a fond memory of that evening! We had come from an exceptionally heated debate at the Conference of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Barry and I are both known to be a little hot headed - so at the advice of Alan Storey (see the picture below) who was a seasoned veteran of the anti Apartheid struggle, we agreed that if either of us got antagonized into an emotional response we would simply glance across and the emotional person would have to quieten down! Ha ha! A few stares were passed during the debate that afternoon. You can read some of it on the link about Barry below.

I first came to know Barry when he followed me as a 'Probationer' (Student) minister at Trinity Methodist Church in Sunward Park in the early 1990's. We struck up quite a close friendship since we had similar interests in ministry, theology and life.

Later we got to know one another even better when we did the same Master of Theology course at Rhodes University.

In subsequent years Barry and myself shared lodgings at least twice a year at the Methodist Church of Southern Africa's Education for Ministry and Mission Unit meetings in January and June / July. We always found something about which to joke, and would nip out to meet Johnathan Anderson, Fr Stephen Barry and Bishop Paul Verryn for a little 'libation' in the evenings!

Barry and I had another close connection - my mother works for Barry's Dad, Guy Marshall. So we were frequently sharing stories about our parents, and of course our parents were frequently passing on stories and news about us!

Barry was passionate about the Christian faith, and particularly passionate about issues of justice and inclusiveness in Church and society - he was a leading crusader for the rights of gay and lesbian Christians and he and I (together with many others) worked hard within our own denomination to open the way for a more hospitable and accepting Church. When I was the Dean at John Wesley College and Barry was a minister in Edenvale we used to get him to preach in Chapel and come to teach our classes on contemporary worship. He was deeply respected, and well loved, by our students and staff.

You can find a few of my posts about Barry here.

The photograph above was taken at the Cape Town Conference of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa - it was a glorious sunset evening where a group of friends went out for a meal.

I affectionately knew Barry as 'zoob' a nickname he picked up somewhere along the line... I'm not sure when or where!
In this photograph Barry is at the end of the table with myself to his right, then Wessel Bentley, Alan Storey, and Kevin Needham. On the other side of the table is Diane Moodie and Kenneth Car. What a great evening that was!
I spoke to Barry just over a week ago when he phoned to tell me about one of our Transformation Africa / GDOP meetings that took place in PE. We spoke for 20 minutes... I now wish I had made more of that conversation!

Barry, is survived by his wife and two small children. My heart is very tender for them. Please do spare a prayer for his family. You can find a link to Barry's website here.

You're already deeply missed my friend! Thank you for your service to Christ and your faithfulness to the call to ministry!


  • Hey D,

    What an evening that was in Cape Town. I remember our meal together first at the Mugg and Bean and the next evening at the Ethiopian restaurant. Barry was as usual the center of attention. It simply does not feel real. Thank you for posting this blog.

    Barry, a dear friend who always had provocative, but stimulating things to say. Love to Elaine and kids.

    By Blogger Wessel Bentley, at 8:28 PM  

  • Thanks Dion for writing about Barry. Still can't believe it. I will always remember playing chess with Barry while talking theology. I think he usually won, but I never noticed. His thinking and conversation were always more compelling.


    By Blogger Dassie, at 9:58 PM  

  • Hi Dion, Warren Muller here an old classmate from Rhodes. Barry was with me in the Central area in Port Elizabeth for about two years. I'm now in Knysna. Barry and I ministered in different churches in Central, but were part of the same fraternal. I'm shocked by his passing and would like to pass my condolsenses on to his family and friends.Blessings. Warren.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:01 PM  

  • We have lost a fragrant flower great. He was a living Miracle,We have benefited from his extraordinary faith.

    Ncumisa Smile (P.E. Central)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:49 PM  

  • Agh what a tragic loss to the world and the Methodist Church. Barry was a friend and a mentor, he impact that lives of so many i know. His spirit of liberation will live on in many. He always taught me to question why i believe the things i do, not simply for the sack of believing. Everytime i was in his presence, i was inspired, to want to know Jesus more. To God be the Glory forever and ever, for a life full of love and grace. Blessings D, Steve Mulder

    By Blogger SuperSteve, at 10:38 PM  

  • I will miss Barry. He was a good frined and cousnellor when I was in Boksburg and his passing has made the world a little less friendly.
    God bless you for this post Dion.

    By Blogger Reformed and Renewed, at 2:04 PM  

  • This post has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Reformed and Renewed, at 2:04 PM  

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