I’m heading today to a memorial of someone whose life and impact has been far bigger than most would know. He’s well known to some, and no doubt the church will be packed, but it’s the people around him who invariably became the ‘stars’ and he didn’t mind that at all.

He’s at the heart of my doctorate dissertation which you can read on this blog, and there’s much more about him that could and probably should be written in years to come, and I think his wonderful daughter Chick has that in hand for the future.

Here’s a short account (9000 words) of his life and ministry I put together in 2018 as part of my own discipleship and learning . If it’s a blessing please quote and share as you see fit. Any errors are entirely mine, but please do tell me so I can correct them. For himself, John didn’t like people telling his story that much, he was nervous that the wrong people got the praise and glory in Christian stories, and when he read biographies about people he knew in person he said he often could barely recognise them from the writing…

I wonder how he would have felt about all the thanks that will be given to God today at his memorial for a life lived well?

I’m hugely grateful for the chance to get to know him a little. I think his story is just the sort we need today, but have a read and see what you think!

Robed choir lead the service
John’s successors at St Mark’s Gillingham and Canford Parish
An amazing reunion
A typical moment of humour in the service as John’s successor at HTB Sandy Millar opens his address.
Nicky Gumbel opens the service.
‘One of the most godly, prayerful, brave, pastorally sensitive, kind, cultured (got a half blue from Cambridge in squash), sporting, musical, artistic, gracious, charming, wise and one of the most self effacing men you could get to meet never mind work for… he revolutionised the clerical ministry for generations – whether they knew it or not’ Sandy Millar