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Richard Denham (1927-2013)

September 2013

On 31 July, the Lord called Rev. James Richard Denham into his presence. Richard was 86 years old and leaves a widow, Pearl, and seven children. He had served as a pastor and missionary in Brazil for 61 years.

      In 1952, Richard and Pearl sold their possessions, leaving a pastorate in Oregon, America, to work with Richard’s parents who had recently established a mission in Amazonia.

      Richard and Pearl settled in the small river port of Manicoré, where they were met by strong opposition led by two Roman Catholic priests. God’s Word, courageously preached in spite of opposition, soon brought forth lasting fruit and an evangelical church was born.

      In the late 1950s, they moved to the city of Manaus and opened the first evangelical bookstore in the state of Amazonas. After embracing the doctrines of grace through reading publications of the Banner of Truth Trust, Richard was struck with a vision for reaching the Portuguese-speaking world with sound biblical truth.

      Pearl’s health had failed twice in the tropics, so the couple moved south to São Paulo (the industrial hub of Brazil’s rapidly growing economy) to begin a publishing ministry that would last the rest of their lives.

      In the 1980s the Denhams moved to São José dos Campos where they, along with two other families, founded Grace Baptist Church — the church where Richard’s funeral was held.

      Editora FIEL (Faithful Publishing House), which the Denhams began, translates and publishes Reformed literature in Portuguese for Brazil, Mozambique and Portugal. To date, over 200 titles have been published.

      FIEL also runs an annual conference in Brazil to edify ministers and promote Reformed literature. It has an enormous influence for good, with around 1300 attendees including some pastors’ wives and children.

      Today Tiago Santos oversees FIEL, with Richard’s son Rick extensively involved in its wider ministry.