Obituary: The Right Reverend Neville Chamberlain, Bishop of Brechin
Bishop Neville Chamberlain died on Monday 8th October 2018, after some time of illness. Bishop Neville was elected Bishop of Brechin in 1997, when he was serving as the Rector of St John’s, Princes Street, Edinburgh.
Bishop Neville was married to Diane, who died some years ago and they had four children. He studied for a BA at Nottingham University, then trained for the ministry at Ripon Hall, Oxford. He served three periods of curacy in the
Diocese of Birmingham, the third being in the ecumenical context of St Michael’s Gospel Lane. He then became the Vicar at St Michael’s for three years, from 1969 to 1972. He then spent three years outwith the ministry, working as a probation officer. He returned to the church, serving as Executive Secretary of the Social Responsibility Committee of the Diocese of Lincoln and also became a canon of the cathedral.
In 1982 he was appointed the Rector of St John’s, Princes Street, in Edinburgh, where he served for 15 years. This ministry was a rich and full time, with occasional controversy with, for example, the famous temporary murals painted outside the church with comments on political and social issues of the day.
His time in Brechin is remembered for his positive energy and enthusiasm for the Diocese and its people. He continued to have a focus on social justice and ensured that the SEC in Dundee carried on its work in Urban Priority Areas: his theology was one that had to have a practical outworking in the wider world. He developed
Diocesan training in Faith and Mission, appointing a Diocesan Adviser in Ministry and starting regular clergy training and support meetings, which continue to this day. He also supported the diocesan companionship links with visit to Iowa and
fundraising and visits to Swaziland.
Bishop Neville retired in 2005 after his sixty-fifth birthday and retired initially to Edinburgh. In due course he became the Master of Hugh Sexey’s Hospital in Bruton, Somerset.