View All Photos

Edwin Lennard Minchin

Photo courtesy of Lester Devine.

Minchin, Edwin Lennard (1904–1987)

By Lester Devine

×

Originally trained as a secondary history teacher, a career long Adventist educator, Lester Devine, Ed.D., has taught at elementary, secondary and higher education levels and spent more than three decades in elected educational leadership positions in two divisions of the world Church, NAD (1969-1982) and SPD (1982-2005). He completed his forty years of denominational service with a term as director of the Ellen G. White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University College in Australia where his life-long hobby of learning and presenting on Adventist heritage issues became his vocation. 

First Published: January 29, 2020

Lennard Edwin Minchin was an Australian-born minister and youth leader. An intensely spiritual man who was also an accomplished musician, he served the Church as a youth leader, beginning in 1931, with distinction in both Australasia and later in Northern Europe, and then for 16 years in the General Conference prior to his retirement in 1970.

Born on February 2, 1904, 1 Minchin’s parents, who became Seventh-day Adventists around 1906, were John (Jack) Minchin and Martha Ellen (Nellie) Hitchcock.2 They were some of the first converts in the state of Western Australia.3 When his father died in 1918 and his mother, Nellie, also died approximately 18 months later,4 Len Minchin and his older brother, Gerald, were cared for by their two sisters, Florence Marguerite (Laird)5 and Ruby Constance (Britten).6 They had two older brothers, Victor and Harold.7 Both Gerald and Lennard Minchin attended the Darling Range School (now Carmel Adventist College).8 As the two youngest children in the family, Gerald and Len Minchin had a particularly close relationship.

Len Minchin graduated from the Darling Range School on December 14, 1923. He completed the missionary course along with his lifelong friend, Thomas Bradley.9 They both went on to study at the Australasian Missionary College (Avondale), graduating from the ministerial course in 1924.10 Much later, he reflected on his time at Avondale:

A flood of memories comes over me as I think of the associations and influences that moulded my life so strongly during those days of preparation for my life work. Some of the most powerful influences in my life stirred me during college days at Avondale…Avondale has given me wealth untold. I may have forgotten much that I learned in the classrooms, but left with me for ever are deeply spiritual and character-building influences that cannot be adequately evaluated. The lives of dedicated, unselfish teachers, a vision of the world's needs, treasured friendships, a commitment to the Lord Jesus and the finishing of His work powerfully moulded my life and prepared me for the work God had for me to do…Never did I dream in those wonderful days that I was receiving, at Avondale, a preparation of heart and life that would send me to the uttermost parts of the earth in a ministry that grows richer and more rewarding with the passing of the years.11

Together with Bradley, Minchin began work in New Zealand in December 1924.12 He was appointed to work with an evangelistic team including J. W. Kent, James Pascoe and, Miss E. Stewart. In 1926, they were in Invercargill, South New Zealand.13 However, in February that year, he accepted an invitation to serve as a music teacher and dean of men at New Zealand Missionary College (now Longburn College) in North New Zealand.14 In 1928, his duties were reduced to music teacher.15 There he met May Pocock whom he married on February 8, 1928, in Australia.16 Pocock was born in Cooranbong, New South Wales, on June 2, 1900.17 Her parents were John and Charlotte Ann Susie Pocock.18

Len and May Minchin had five children: Kelvin Lennard, born in Palmerston North, New Zealand; Joan Marie (Neall), born in Wahroonga, New South Wales; Yvonne (Dysinger), born at Wahroonga, New South Wales; and twins, Valmae and Leona (Gully), born at Beecroft.

Minchin was invited to be the youth leader of the South New South Wales Conference in 1931, thus beginning a long commitment to ministering to young people.19 He also became education secretary for the conference.20 He was ordained at the New South Wales annual conference in Sydney on October 12, 1935.21 Then, in 1936 he began ten years and two months as secretary of the Missionary Volunteer department for the Australasian Division (now South Pacific Division).22

The Minchins moved to England where Len Minchin served as Missionary Volunteer and Sabbath School secretary for the British Union Conference between November 1946 and June 1950.23 He held the same positions in the Northern European Division until June 1954.24 At the 1954 General Conference session, he was appointed associate secretary of the General Conference Youth Department.25 He remained in that position until 1962 when he was appointed a general field secretary of the General Conference,26 a position he held until his retirement in 1970.27

Len Minchin was well known as a revival speaker.28 Typical of the ministry, in late 1957 Minchin conducted a month-long series of revival meetings in the small dusty desert town of Tulare in Central California. During that time, he stayed in the home of a New Zealand-born couple, A. James Haskins, MD, and his wife Millie. Gregarious by nature, Minchin and the family enjoyed their fellowship together with common interests in things “down-under,” in the mornings, but after the mid-day meal Minchin would quietly retire to his room for prayer and study until late in the afternoon. Then, he would emerge from his room and, remaining withdrawn, play the family’s Hammond organ for an hour or so. Afterward, he would announce it was time to travel to the evening meeting, a drive taken pretty much in silence. On the journey home after the meeting Minchin would be tired, but open to some limited quiet conversation. By the next morning he would revert to his normal cheerful self.

That month not only powerfully influenced the family with whom he stayed, but also with the cluster of churches around Tulare in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California.29

Very late in life, when quite frail and no longer mobile, friends would visit Minchin in Loma Linda, California, and he would sit on a kitchen chair with a blanket on his lap, with his face glowing, and talk of Jesus who was the center and complete focus of his life.30

Edwin Lennard Minchin died on February 24, 1987,31 not long after his daughter Valmae, one of the twins, died from the complications of diabetes on August 25, 1986.32

Sources

Blair, R. E. G. “Margaret (sic) Ellen Minchin obituary.” Australasian Record, October 27, 1919.

“Darling Range School Closing Exercises.” Australasian Record, February 2, 1924.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record,” September 21, 1931.

Edwin Lennard Minchin Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Edwin Lennard Minchin Service Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: ‘Minchin, Edwin Lennard.’ Document: ‘E. L. Minchin Personal Service Record.’

“Faculties: New Zealand Missionary School.” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926.

Gerald Hopetoun Minchin Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

“Greetings to Old Friends from Pastor and Mrs E. L. Minchin.” Australasian Record, January 7, 1952.

“Life-sketch of Edwin Lennard Minchin.” Australasian Record, May 30, 1987.

Minchin, E. L. “Loyal Missionary Volunteers in South New South Wales.” Australasian Record, September 4, 1933.

Minchin-Comm, Dorothy. “A Desire Completed: The Story of the Minchin Brothers, Two Sons of Western Australia.” Lake Elsinor, CA: Dorothy Minchin-Comm, 1991.

Naden, L. C. “Report of the Australasian Division.” Australasian Record, July 20, 1970.

“Nominations: Faculties, New Zealand Missionary School.” Australasian Record, September 24, 1928.

“North New South Wales: Annual Conference.” Australasian Record, December 2, 1935.

Palmer, C. S. “Ruby Constance Britten obituary.” Australasian Record, August 12, 1957.

“Partial Report of the Nominating Committee.” ARH, May 31, 1954.

“Partial report of the Nominating Committee.” ARH, July 31, 1962.

Piper, A. H. “Charlotte Ann Susie Pocock obituary.” Australasian Record, September 11, 1950.

Shell, S. H. “E. L. Minchin Visits South New Zealand.” Australasian Record, April 14, 1969.

“South New South Wales Annual Conference.” Australasian Record, December 14, 1931.

“South New Zealand: The Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, February 8, 1926.

Speck, A. E. “Florence Marguerite Laird obituary.” Australasian Record, January 20, 1930.

“Flash Point.” Australasian Record, June 19, 1978.

“Three World Leaders Testify.” Australasian Record, July 17, 1967.

“Young Australians in America.” Australasian Record, October 3, 1955.

Notes

  1. “Life-sketch of Edwin Lennard Minchin,” Australasian Record, May 30, 1987, 10.

  2. Dorothy Minchin-Comm, “A Desire Completed, the Story of the Minchin Brothers, Two Sons of Western Australia” (Lake Elsinor, CA: Dorothy Minchin-Comm, 1991), 4.

  3. Gerald Hopetoun Minchin Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Folder: “Minchin, Gerald Hopetoun,” Document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  4. R. E. G. Blair, “Margaret (sic) Ellen Minchin obituary,” Australasian Record, October 27, 1919, 7.

  5. A. E. Speck, “Florence Marguerite Laird obituary,” Australasian Record, January 20, 1930, 7.

  6. C. S. Palmer, “Ruby Constance Britten obituary,” Australasian Record, August 12, 1957, 7.

  7. Dorothy Minchin-Comm,” 4.

  8. Ibid., 30.

  9. “Darling Range School Closing Exercises,” Australasian Record, February 2, 1924, 6.

  10. Edwin Lennard Minchin Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference archives, Folder: “Minchin, Edwin Lennar,”’ Document: “Biographical Information Blank,”

  11. “Three World Leaders Testify,” Australasian Record, July 17, 1967, 8.

  12. Edwin Lennard Minchin Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference archives, Folder: “Minchin, Edwin Lennard,” Document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  13. “South New Zealand: The Camp Meeting,” Australasian Record, February 8, 1926, 6.

  14. “Faculties: New Zealand Missionary School,” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926, 35.

  15. “Nominations: Faculties, New Zealand Missionary School,” Australasian Record, September 24, 1928, 5.

  16. “Flash Point,” Australasian Record, June 19, 1978, 16.

  17. Edwin Lennard Minchin Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference archives, Folder: “Minchin, Edwin Lennard,” Document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  18. A. H. Piper, “Charlotte Ann Susie Pocock obituary,” Australasian Record, September 11, 1950, 7.

  19. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record,” September 21, 1931, 4.

  20. “South New South Wales Annual Conference,” Australasian Record, December 14, 1931, 5-6.

  21. “North New South Wales: Annual Conference,” Australasian Record, December 2, 1935, 5.

  22. Edwin Lennard Minchin Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference archives, Folder: “Minchin, Edwin Lennard,” Document: “E. L. Minchin Personal Service Record.”

  23. Ibid; “Greetings to Old Friends from Pastor and Mrs E. L. Minchin,” Australasian Record, January 7, 1952, 2-3.

  24. Edwin Lennard Minchin Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference archives, Folder: “Minchin, Edwin Lennard,” Document: “E. L. Minchin Personal Service Record.”

  25. “Partial Report of the Nominating Committee,” ARH, May 31, 1954, 1.

  26. “Partial report of the Nominating Committee,” ARH, July 31, 1962, 24.

  27. L. C. Naden, “Report of the Australasian Division,” Australasian Record, July 20, 1970, 6-7.

  28. For an overview see Dorothy Minchin-Comm, 102-109.

  29. Lester D. Devine, personal knowledge. Devine to live with the Haskins family for a year in Lindsay, California, less than a week after the Tulare revival series finished.

  30. Lester D. Devine, personal knowledge. His father-in-law, Percy Allen, had graduated from Avondale with Len Minchin in 1924, and Minchin later presided at the wedding of Percy Allen to Win Harker. Devine first met Percy and Win Allen’s daughter, Noreen, on the way to the revival series Len Minchin conducted in the Ashfield Town Hall in Sydney, Australia, in February, 1963. Noreen was to become Lester’s wife. Fifteen years later, while living in Central California, Lester and Noreen drove Win Allen, down to Loma Linda to visit Len and May Minchin one last time.

  31. “Life-sketch of Edwin Lennard Minchin,” South Pacific Record, May 30, 1987, 10; “Young Australians in America,” Australasian Record, October 3, 1955, 13.

  32. Dorothy Minchin-Comm, 109.

×

Devine, Lester. "Minchin, Edwin Lennard (1904–1987)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BAIE.

Devine, Lester. "Minchin, Edwin Lennard (1904–1987)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BAIE.

Devine, Lester (2020, January 29). Minchin, Edwin Lennard (1904–1987). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BAIE.