Still going strong 70 years on

howard secomb

Howard Secomb can look back on 70 years as an ordained minister but still wants to talk about the future.

“The faith is still strong,” the 95-year-old said after attending the Service of Tributes at Synod 2017, where he was the longest ordained minister in attendance.

Mr Secomb, who has been to every Synod since Union, said he was in good health and “very fit”.

“It’s very interesting, catching up on the past and looking into the future,” Mr Secomb said after the service.

As a Methodist minister Mr Secomb served for 14 years in Tonga, where he was president of the Free Wesleyan Church.

He was also principal of the Tupou College for boys from 1951 to 1963.

Tupou College celebrated its 150th year in 2016 and can claim to be the first secondary school in the Pacific Islands.

During his ministry career Mr Secomb also served in Nunawading, Forest Hill, Preston, East Doncaster and Ascot Vale before retiring 30 years ago.

He said that although the membership had gone numerically downhill, he is inspired by the “continuing life of the church and Christian witness”.

Mr Secomb’s wife Janet was born in Tonga and is the daughter of revered Methodist minister and advocate of church union Dr Alfred Harold Wood, who was the founding principal of Tupou College.

At Tupou College’s 150th anniversary celebration in Melbourne Mrs Secomb delivered a speech in Tongan.

Mrs Secomb is the sister of renowned Basis of Union commentator and former Uniting Church President Rev Dr D’Arcy Wood, who was also born in Tonga and returned to the island in 2015 to perform the coronation of the current king.

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