Remembering Patrick Coghlan, 1947 to 2020

Remembering Patrick Coghlan, 1947 to 2020

Peter Hyatt, former trustee of CMS and SAMS, reflects on the life of former mission partner and chair of SAMS Patrick Coghlan ahead of a thanksgiving service.

Peter Hyatt, former trustee of CMS and SAMS, reflects on the life of former mission partner and chair of SAMS Patrick Coghlan ahead of a thanksgiving service.

Patrick fell seriously ill at home with COVID-19 in March 2020. He died in the Hallamshire Hospital on 20 April 2020. Five people were permitted to attend his woodland burial in May 2020.

Understandably therefore, the family has planned a Service of Thanksgiving for Patrick to be held on Saturday 8 October 2022 at 11am at St Peter’s Church, Reney Avenue, Sheffield S8 7FN.

Gill invites anyone from SAMS and CMS to stay afterwards for a light buffet lunch at Greenhill Primary School Hall, opposite St Peter’s Church. Please email her at with any dietary requirements.

After Patrick’s curacy under Robert Warren at St Thomas’ Church, Crookes, Patrick and Gill joined SAMS and were sent to north east Brazil in 1979. There he was Vicar of A Igreja do Bom Pastor in Salvador city and oversight minister to a rural church on the island of Itaparica, where two Scottish nurses and a local health assistant lived and worked. Nine years later Patrick and Gill were invited to Porto Alegre, south Brazil. Of these very fruitful periods, more will be heard at the Thanksgiving Service.

On returning to the UK and Sheffield Diocese in 1992, Patrick became vicar of St James’ Church, Anston (14 years), then of St Polycarp’s Church (six years) until retirement from full time ministry in 2013.

After a rest(!), Patrick helped to save Greenhill’s Community Library from local authority cuts. Later he chaired this, helping with Gill to bring new life and encouragement into its expanded range of activities, including beginning a mini-library on Lowedges Estate.

Patrick joined SAMS General Council in 1996 and was elected to its Board of Trustees in 1999, becoming its chair in 2004, when I was honorary treasurer. In Patrick, we had someone who would not flinch from difficulties. Among these was a concern as to where God was leading SAMS. In 2006, with the Board’s support, we commissioned a strategic review to reimagine our partnership with the South American church and to determine how best to deliver that partnership: as an independent agency? Or to consider prayerfully another sustainable model? God led us to appoint Bill Lattimer as consultant and then executive director. Through his research and wise counsel, we discovered to our great surprise and delight, in the course of several meetings with Tim Dakin and Bishop David Urquhart in Oxford, that CMS saw SAMS as an ideal merger partner. Many obstacles lay ahead, but with God’s help, Patrick’s quiet and steadying hand as our chair saw us through all of these to a full merger on 1 February 2009

Patrick and I became two of SAMS’s three representatives on the CMS Board. He retired in 2015. That Latin America remains a thriving wing of CMS’s worldwide activities is due in no small part to Patrick’s devoted life and witness to Christ’s church. Over these past two years, I have mourned the loss of an invaluable colleague and firm friend and keenly anticipate the sharing of our memories of him on Saturday 8 October.

Peter Hyatt was a trustee of SAMS from 1997 to 2021 and CMS from 2009 to 2021.

Get our email newsletter: