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John Stott
John Stott in 2006. He has been described as ‘a renaissance man with a reformation theology’. Photograph: Kieran Dodds

Though the name of the Rev John Stott, who has died at the age of 90, rarely appeared in the UK national press, in April 2005 Time Magazine placed him among the world’s top 100 major influencers. A comment piece in the New York Times six months earlier had expressed surprise that he was ignored by the press, since he was a more authentic advocate for evangelical Christianity than more colourful figures such as Jerry Falwell.

Stott, radical in his conservatism, could not be pigeonholed. He was deeply committed to the need for social, economic and political justice and passionately concerned about climate change and ecological ethics. He regarded the Bible as his supreme authority and related its teaching to all areas of knowledge and experience. He insisted that Christians should engage in “double listening” – to the word of God, and to the world around them – and apply their biblical faith to all the pressing issues of contemporary culture. He himself researched, preached and wrote on a wide range of matters – from global debt to global warming, from the duties of the state to medical ethics and euthanasia. This was the kind of evangelicalism he embodied.

Read more in this detailed obituary from The Guardian

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I heard this morning that John Stott died yesterday. A few minutes ago I found his memorial website which is a great source of information about John Stott’s life and details of upcoming memorial services.

John Stott’s successor as International Director of Langham Partnership International, Chris Wright, has written the following message on the website.

Message from Chris Wright

It will not be possible to write the history of the church in the 20th century without reference to John Stott. His remarkable ministry spanned the whole of the second half of the century and even in his eighties he was making an impact on the 21st.

His leadership of the evangelical movement, both in the Anglican Communion and in wider inter-denominational settings, was a major factor in moving it from rather narrow-minded fundamentalism after the Second World War, to the fastest growing part of world Christianity that it is today. The list of movements and institutions he founded, fostered and strengthened can be read in the biographical pages of this website. His books have challenged and nourished millions of Christians into a balanced and thinking biblical faith.His legacy through the global impact of the Langham Partnership International and the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity is incalculable. Chris Wright

For the vast majority of people whose lives he influenced profoundly, however, he was simply ‘Uncle John’ – a much loved friend, correspondent, and brother, to whose prayers we will never know how much we owe. Like Moses, he was one of the greatest leaders God has given to his people, and yet at the same time, one of the humblest men on the face of the earth. He was, for all of us who knew him, a walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus, whom he loved above all else.

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I remember being at a conference of UCCF Associates Ireland many years ago south of Dublin and during a break, chatting to John about birdwatching. Much more recently while a guest in Belfast  of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, John was taken on a birdwatching trip by two friends of mine John Piper and David Clarke. David now owns an autographed copy of one of John Stott’s perhaps less known books Birds Our Teachers: Biblical Lessons for a LifeLong Bird-Watcher

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World Class? flyer

World Class?

An evening to explore a wide range of opportunities for Christian teachers overseas. The Mount Belfast Thursday 20 January 2011

Wycliffe is one of 14 agencies hosting this event under the banner of Mission Agencies Partnership (MAP). We will start with an evening meal followed by presentations on how to get involved and stories about the experiences of teachers, parents and children.

Find out more about this event:

on our Wycliffe website

and also how to sign up for the event

on the MAP website

 

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I’ve just posted a blog with the same name on the Wycliffe UK Blog where you can also read it.

“We studied the monkeys and chameleons that live around the school… a big step up from the woodlice and caterpillars which my class studied last year!” – Karen in Uganda

‘World Class?’ is an event running in Belfast on Thursday 20 January 2011 which aims to share some of the fantastic opportunities available in teaching overseas.

Would you like a new environment in which to teach? A different climate as winter sets in here in the UK? The chance to be involved in bringing God’s Mission to God’s world?

Take your pick from a computer trainer in Bangladesh to a speech therapist in the Philippines; from an English teacher in Brazil to a music teacher in Madagascar; from a theological education lecturer in Rwanda to a dorm parent in Kenya… and many, many more.

Having been a school principal in a boarding school in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa for 8 years, I know all about constant staff turn-over.

“Teachers are high on our ‘most wanted’ list and we recruit staff for schools in many parts of the world.” – Mission agency website

This is not just for the younger generation! A couple in their sixties had this to say: “We felt we were useful and that God used our willingness to go, even at our age.”

Or what about teaching English as a foreign language?

Teaching English can open opportunities to share with students outside class and get involved in local fellowships.” – Mission agency website

‘World Class?’ will be hosted by 14 Mission Agencies Partnership (MAP) agencies including Wycliffe Bible Translators in Belfast on 20 January 2011. It will be  a great opportunity to find out more about the range of opportunities for teachers overseas.

More details and how to register or email Lindsay at l.davis@eauk.org.

Find out more about teaching with Wycliffe.

I also posted this on Facebook where I got this excellent response from colleague Catherine Young who works with Wycliffe in Asia:

…and, you know, teachers who have experience in the UK would be SO good in mother tongue first multilingual education programmes … working with local communities, helping them develop curriculum, make materials and set up schools for children who have never had access to education in their own language!! Teachers, you have so many opportunities to get involved!!! 🙂

 

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Clarke & Alison at Rain Forest

Clarke and Alison Rice arrive home today from Cameroon where they have spent a year as short term members of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK at Rain Forest International School in Yaounde. In their final blog before catching the plane, they write about what they will miss – and what they will not miss – but the blog reflects a year of learning as a young couple from Coleraine, N. Ireland came to grips with a very different culture and made a significant contribution in the lives of people they worked with.

I suspect that God has also taught them a lot about himself and them selves.

Here are the closing paragraphs from the blog All Good Things

We’ll not miss the feeling of being aliens in a strange culture (whether that is the local culture or when surrounded by other foreigners). We will miss the lovely, warm, Cameroonian people though who have helped us feel at ease. We will miss the humbling experience of having to listen to and learn from others, every single day.

Looks like we’ll miss more things than we’ll be glad to leave behind. I suppose that’s a good thing.

Better go now, or we will miss the plane!

Have you read the rest of it? It’s right here

If you enjoyed this blog, you can browse their previous postings covering their year in Cameroon.

Who knows it might inspire you to get in touch with Wycliffe UK and explore how you can play a part in bringing God’s Word to those who don’t yet have it in their language.

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