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Jeremy Marshall (1963-2023)

We are giving thanks to God for the life of Jeremy Marshall who died this last weekend. We asked his friend, colleague and former pastor, Ken Brownell, to give us his reflections.

It was my privilege to have known Jeremy Marshall ever since some 37 years ago I became associate minister at East London Tabernacle Baptist Church (ELT), which he was attending.

Jeremy had only recently come down from Cambridge and was beginning his career in the banking sector. During his time at ELT, Jeremy met and married his wife Jeanette with whom he would have three children, Naomi, Nat, and Sam.

After living in Zurich and the United States, the Marshalls settled in Sevenoaks in Kent. Jeremy eventually became the CEO of Hoare’s Bank in the City of London. Sadly, Jeremy’s life was cut short after the long and gruelling treatment for his cancer. Over the years we kept up the friendship and ended up working together as trustees on several Christian charities.

Every Christian should use the package of gifts, opportunities, and circumstances that God gives them for his kingdom and few have done so more effectively than Jeremy.

Jeremy had been greatly gifted by God. He was a very fine preacher, and many have greatly benefited from his wise counsel. But although many thought he could have been a gospel minister he chose to stay in so-called secular work.

The skills that took him to the top in banking he used to help the various organisations he was involved with – London Seminary, Christianity Explored, Kingdom Bank, Equipping Pastors Worldwide, The Word One to One to name a few – to help them run more effectively with a clear gospel vision. Through this work, he came into contact with many more organisations and churches, including those in FIEC.

Meetings chaired by Jeremy were a joy for their brevity and effectiveness. Through these organisations, his personal networks, and his relationships with colleagues and friends, Jeremy kept the gospel central. He was supremely gifted in sharing the gospel with almost everyone he met. But as well as that, Jeremy was gifted in being immensely generous with his time, money, and counsel in seeing things happen for the kingdom.

Gifting needs opportunities to be used but Jeremy didn’t just wait for them to come along: he made them happen. Almost to the end, Jeremy always seemed to be connecting people with people. I would ring Jeremy about a matter – small in the big scheme of things – and by the end of the conversation I had a list of ideas for action and the promise of email addresses which was promptly delivered. Numerous other people could testify to the same experience.

Jeremy was a convinced Calvinist, but he certainly didn’t suffer from the fatalism of some of that persuasion. He was a firm believer in the counsel of Ecclesiastes 11:1: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” In his sovereignty, God uses the efforts of his children to accomplish his purpose to advance his kingdom.

As well as gifts and opportunities, in his sovereignty God gave Jeremy the circumstances in which he served him. He was brought up in a godly Christian family. His father, John Marshall, was a conservative Congregational minister whom Jeremy adored - even if they robustly disagreed about many things - and from whom he inherited a big, gospel-heartedness.

The Marshall family would travel far into Eastern Europe with Bibles to visit pastors long before the fall of Communism. Later, Jeremy continued to support gospel work in Serbia. Other circumstances could be mentioned, but perhaps it was Jeremy’s cancer that he used most effectively for the gospel. As summed up his book Beyond the Big ‘C’, Jeremy spoke publicly and privately in the last few years of how, as a Christian, he was dealing with this affliction.

So much more could be said but I must speak of Jeremy’s godly character.

He wasn’t perfect, as he would have been the first to acknowledge, but the fruit of the Spirit was evident in him and not least the kindness with which he dealt with people no matter how seemingly insignificant. Mention also must be made of Jeremy’s love of Jeanette and his children, his mother and his sisters, and their families.

With others whose lives he touched, I can truly say that there are few people I have known who have lived as all out for Christ as Jeremy Marshall.

All too soon he has gone to be with his Saviour having died in union with him.

Only heaven will tell what blessing his life has brought.

Jeremy Marshall was the guest at the 2021 London Leaders' Gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. You can watch his interview with FIEC London Director Trevor Archer below, in which he shared his thoughts on evangelism and leadership.

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