The uni chaplain who had time for everyone he met
17 February, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
Rev Craig Barber was the chaplain at London Metropolitan University until November last year
TRIBUTES have been paid to a “devotional” clergyman who was well-known in churches across Islington and the City.
Rev Craig Barber, 45, was the Chaplain at London Metropolitan University until November of last year, when he retired on health grounds.
Rev Barber went to Abbotsfield School for Boys in Uxbridge before gaining a degree in theology from the University of Surrey. Later in life he obtained a masters degrees in theology from the University of Chichester and King’s College. He had been ordained for almost 15 years and spent much of his time in parishes in Brighton and Crawley, Sussex, as well as being chaplain to a girls’ public school, before moving to London.
He was passionate about social justice issues, working with different faiths and liberation theology, which focuses on the liberation of oppressed peoples, as well as supporting people in an academic environment, according to a biography from the Fleet Street St Bride’s Church website.
Rev Barber stood unsuccesfully for the Conservatives in Bunhill ward in 2014. A former Young Conservative, he worked for an organisation in Brighton and Hove helping alcoholics, drug addicts and the homeless.
When living in Roscoe Street, Finsbury, he helped vicar David Allen out at St Clement’s, King Square, taking Sunday services and preaching on occasions. He also assisted at St Magnus the Martyr in the City.
Cardinal Rector Phillip Warner said: “He was very devotional and prayerful.
“He was a good preacher, good at holding people’s attention, but also wonderfully caring.
“He could often be seen after a service on a Sunday chatting to someone who needed help or encouragement. He really lit up a room.”
Rev Barber joined London Met in July 2010.
“Fr Craig had the ability to make time for everyone he met, whoever they were, even if he was needed elsewhere,” said Athena Barrett, an internal communications officer at London Met.
“He was more a listener than a talker and that was the special thing about him. Fr Craig had a great memory when it came to people and conversations and he was able to re-start a discussion from weeks previous because his sole focus of attention had been the person standing in front of him.
“He will be missed for his ability to create relationships that were light, easy-going and yet profound at the same time.”
After retiring from London Met, Rev Craig moved to Whitstable in Kent. He died on January 19. His funeral was held at All Saints Whitstable.
As is common for priests who die while in office, his funeral was taken by a bishop.
Bishop of Fulham Jonathan Baker gave Rev Barber his last communion and took the funeral on Friday, which was well attended by fellow clergymen and women he met throughout his life.