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Obituary - Canon Barbara Baisley

Originally Published 25 November 2001

Canon Barbara Baisley, Anglican Chaplain at the University of Warwick from 1985 to 1992, died at her home in Berkswell, Coventry on 25 September 2001 after a long battle against cancer. Her funeral took place on 29 September, at St John the Baptist, Berkswell, where in 1997 she had joined her husband George, the Rector, as non-stipendiary minister. Barbara had recently come to national prominence in 1999 as a result of reaching the final of The Times Preacher of the Year award. This was followed up in November 2000 with the publication of her book, No Easy Answers, a powerful, personal, theologically reflective, often humorous, account of her illness and her attempts to come to terms with it.

As University Chaplain, Barbara was popular and respected amongst staff and students alike. She was rare in her ability to impart to others her exuberance and love of life while remaining candid about the challenges entailed in the Christian journey. It was Barbara's ability, winsomely, to articulate her struggles with issues of faith and life that made her an attractive and compelling companion for so many.

With Father Dominic Round, her Roman Catholic colleague, she helped to transform the Chaplaincy into a vibrant, ecumenical community, a legacy from which it still benefits. Her dog 'Jones' often accompanied Barbara to the Chaplaincy.

Barbara was a pivotal figure in the diocese in the heady days leading to the first ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England in 1994. She was ordained deacon in 1987 and made Coventry Diocesan Adviser for Women's Ministry in 1990. She took up an assistant post at St Nicholas' Kenilworth in 1993. After her ordination to the priesthood, she was made an honorary Canon of Coventry Cathedral in 1996 and at the same time became Head of the Vocations Department.

Barbara leaves husband George and two adult sons Andrew and Robert.