Andrew Pratt (b. 1948)

Andrew PrattAndrew Pratt was born in Paignton, Devon in 1948. For his first degree he studied Zoology (B.Sc. Hons., London) before going to the University College of North Wales in Bangor. Andrew obtained a M.Sc. in Marine Biology which was partly dependent on a thesis on the Effects of sympatho-mimetic drugs on the rectum of Pleuronectes platessa (effects of drugs on the guts of the plaice). From here he went to St Luke’s College, Exeter, since absorbed into Exeter University, to study for a PGCE.

Andrew has taught in Essex, Wrexham, and Liverpool together with some brief spells of supply teaching since entering the ministry. Subjects have ranged through biology, chemistry, religious studies, swimming, personal and social education, and health education.

During his M.Sc., he began to foster a belief in God. He became a member of the Methodist Church in Exeter. Moving to Essex he saw little of the church as both his parents died in a space of a year and he was away seeing them at weekends. In Wrexham (Gresford) he sensed a call to the ministry and in 1979 went for theological training at the Queen’s Ecumenical College in Birmingham. He was there for three years, partly doing a post graduate Diploma in Theology at Birmingham University and partly doing ministerial training. It was here that Andrew began to write hymns as a means of exploring theology. He had already written poems (mainly for private consumption!) one of which was published in a college magazine at St Luke’s in 1972.

Since leaving Birmingham, Andrew has been stationed in Northwich, Nantwich, Leigh and Hindley, and Orrell and Lamberhead Green (near Wigan). While in Nantwich he began to achieve publication of his texts, firstly in Hymns of the City and then, under the guidance and constructive criticism of Bernard Braley, with some regularity in Hymns and Congregational Songs. Andrew was asked to be part of the group that edited Story Song, Big Blue Planet and most recently Sound Bytes. He contributes regularly to Worship Live and has had articles, hymns and reviews published in The Bulletin of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland (of which he is now the Editor), the Theological Book Review, Writers News, Writing Magazine, the Methodist Recorder, Reform and Crucible. His first collection of hymns, Blinded by the Dazzle, was published in 1997. During 2002 Whatever Name or Creed was published. He is a Non-Executive Director of Stainer & Bell Ltd., and was instrumental in their establishing a web site (www.hymns.uk.com) carrying contemporary hymn texts which could be downloaded for local use. He is Chair of the Pratt Green Trust.

On two consecutive years Andrew entered the Pratt Green Essay Competition, achieving second and joint first prizes. This work acted as a springboard for his research in hymnody. In 1997 he gained a M.A in English from the University of Durham for his research into Frederick Faber’s Hymns on the Four Last Things. He has researched the origins of the Methodist Hymn Book (1933) for a Ph.D., at Liverpool Hope University College. A book based on this research, O for a thousand tongues – the Methodist Hymn Book (1933) in context was published by the Methodist Publishing House.

Andrew continues to write. He now lectures at Hartley Victoria College (part of the Partnership for Theological Education in Manchester). His latest collection of hymns is More than Hymns (Stainer & Bell Ltd). He is involved in writing and contributing to other books relating to hymns and worship including a series of reflections on selected hymns of Charles Wesley (Inextinguishable Blaze) and has co-written with Marjorie Dobson a book of resources for times of bereavement, Poppies and Snowdrops (Methodist Publishing House).

He was one time Chair of the Methodist Peace Fellowship.