Joseph Colin Ayrey
1922 – 2010
Reverend Joseph Colin Ayrey passed away peacefully on April 6 aged 87. He had moved to The Booms Rest Home and Hospital, Thames, just a week earlier from Manukau, Auckland, where he had resided since 1973.
He was with family as he passed from this earth into the place he had preached of and longed for.
Born in Waiuku in 1922, Colin was the youngest of three children born to Stan and Ann (nee Waddilove) Ayrey. They had emigrated in 1910 from Preston, Lancashire, England.
In New Zealand, Stan and Ann engaged in sheep and dairy farming before running a grocery store in Herne Bay and later owning a dairy farm in the Morrinsville area.
It was during this time that Colin met Loma Troughton, who attended the local Brethren Assembly while Colin was a member of the Morrinsville Baptist Church. Colin’s older siblings were Hilda Parker (d. 1997) and Stan Ayrey (d. 1943 while flying across the New Hebrides in an electrical storm during WW II). The loss of his brother at this early age was one of the factors that motivated Colin’s passion for souls.
Colin was accepted in 1945 for training at the Baptist College in Remuera, Auckland, with a very clear sense of call to ministry confirmed by Genesis 12:1. Colin and Loma’s engagement lasted four years until his graduation.
Married by Rev Roland Hart in 1949 in the Morrinsville Brethren Assembly, their life of adventure took them to Rangiora (1949-1953, during which time Annette was born), Berhampore, Wellington (1953 – 1957, where Hilton was born), Northland, church planting based in Kaikohe (1957-1962, where Delwyn was born), Epuni, Lower Hutt (1962-1966), Cambridge (1966-1973) and finally Manurewa, Auckland (1973 – 2000). Colin was never officially farewelled from his last post, as his passion led him to engage with people in practical and spiritual ways until his failing health prevented that.
Colin’s great love for God and driving passion to bless people motivated him to look for opportunities to bring God’s influence into people’s lives. He was always grateful to His Lord and Saviour that he had the opportunity to see many lives changed by the power of God.
Colin will be particularly remembered for the five years of church planting where he covered more than 80,000 miles on windy gravel roads throughout Northland, spending two nights a week away from the family.
Another great delight for Colin was his involvement with the Asian community. Initially he was a sponsor for many refugee and immigrant families from Asia. Once he invited them to church he required the help of an interpreter. Kim Leong became that man and is now the pastor of a strong Chinese church attached to Manurewa Baptist.
Also during his Manurewa days, Colin enjoyed working with the senior members of the church, chaplaincy work at Howick Baptist Home and Hospital, and the establishment of a Sunday afternoon service at Elmwood.
Colin will be remembered for his tremendous energy, passion and determination. His days began very early writing sermons, praying and seeking God for ways to fulfil the call he carried. That same determination flowed into his private life where he was never afraid to embark on challenges which often took him beyond the realms of his natural abilities.
Colin enjoyed outdoor family holidays and in later years travelled extensively with Loma around New Zealand, also taking several trips overseas.
Colin is survived by his wife, Loma, (residing in Thames), with whom he celebrated 60 years of marriage last November. Loma was the love of his life and was always at his side enabling him in ministry and bringing him great inspiration.
Colin has left a rich Christian heritage for his family and has been used by God to touch many lives. He is sorely missed by his wife, 3 children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
– Annette Finlay