'A tower of strength': vale Reverend Bruce Percival Westbrook

Sad passign: Reverend Bruce Percival Westbrook is remembered as a tower of strength and a beacon of living faith.

Sad passign: Reverend Bruce Percival Westbrook is remembered as a tower of strength and a beacon of living faith.

Reverend Bruce Westbrook will be remembered as one who was committed to serving in country congregations in which he became heavily involved in the local community.

Many sought him out for his spiritual counsel, while appreciating his passions for many sports and his willingness to help with any job.

Rev Westbrook was born on September 28, 1928 and passed away on August 12, 2017.

He was aged 89 years. A memorial service was held on August 18.

Born in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands Bruce Percival Westbrook was the youngest child of Percy and Gertrude Westbrook, and a brother to Keith and Gwen.

Bruce completed his schooling at Bowral. Feeling a strong call to ministry at the age of 18 years, Bruce began preparatory studies for ministry in 1947 at the Central Methodist Mission. He served as a home missionary at Cooma-Bombala Circuit.

Returning to Sydney in 1949, Bruce studied at Leigh College at Enfield where he made many lifelong friends, captained the cricket team and, in his final year, he was the Senior Student.

In 1950, whilst on a student placement in the Tweed Heads Circuit, Bruce met Marie Sackett. They became engaged in September 1952.

Following his ordination on March 5, 1953, Bruce and Marie married on March 14, in the Methodist Church at Lismore.

A month later he he was appointed to Wilcannia Patrol of the far West Mission. They were there for a year and left with some amazing stories of their adventures.

The placement at Wilcannia was the beginning of decades of ministry and service in country areas. Bruce and Marie subsequently served in Bathurst, Murwillumbah, Port Macquarie, Young, Tamworth and Grenfell.

In Bathurst, their first three children were born and their fourth daughter in Murwillumbah. 

Bruce was at Young in 1977 at the time of Church Union, 40 years ago, and guided the congregation into the Uniting Church. 

Many, many lives have been touched and changed through his encouragement, friendship and advice.

It was from 1966 to 1972 that the family lived in Port Macquarie where Bruce’s ministry duties covered Kendall, Beechwood, Telegraph Point, Wauchope and Bonny Hills as well as Port Macquarie. Here he was involved in sport as a club captain within the Hastings District Cricket Association.

Bruce and Marie retired to Lake Cathie in 1991. 

They continued to serve the church, becoming actively involved in the life of the Bonny Hills and other local Uniting Churches where Bruce continued to lead worship, preach, conduct numerous funerals and visit the sick and grieving as well as serve in supply ministry at Young, Cootamundra, and Norfolk Island.

Bruce supported the work of the Uniting Church Conference Centre and mentored children in the North Haven primary school. Together they served the local community through Meals on Wheels.

Bruce was a wonderful family man. There were times when the pressure of his work meant that he was absent from the home, but he was a good dad to his children, a loving and devoted grandfather.

Many, many lives have been touched and changed through his encouragement, friendship and advice.

Bruce lived a full and happy life. We are thankful that when he died peacefully, his mind was still clear and sharp.

His immediate family includes his wife Marie, daughters Nerida Willis, Vivienne Robinson, Kathryn Forster and Linda Westbrook, as well as eight grand children and three great grand children