Rev. Dr Richard France (1938–2012)
On Sunday 10 June, More Parish Church held a memorial service for the life of Rev. Dick France, who went home to glory in February aged 73.
Dr France had a strong academic background, having written a doctoral thesis on Jesus and the Old Testament. He was called to the ministry and ordained in 1966. After ordination, he undertook various roles, including curate at Cambridge, senior lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, warden of Tyndale House and Vice-Principal at the (then) London Bible College.
He was a notable academic, lecturer and author and, from 1995, oversaw the Wentor group of nine parishes until his retirement in 1999. He devoted much of his life, particularly in his retirement, to writing, including commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
Dr France’s successor as rector of the Wentor group of parishes, Rev. Norman Morris, took the memorial service. He said, ‘Many will remember with gratitude his ministry here. Mr France had come from being principal of Wycliffe Theological College, Oxford, and was a biblical scholar with an international reputation.
‘I spoke with Dr France in January and, movingly, he said he was content with his life and looking forward to being closer to Jesus Christ in the life to come.
‘We thank God for Dick France, his ministry here and in many other places, and extend our sympathy to his wife Barbara and the family at this time of loss’.
A tribute from Wycliffe College, Oxford, said, ‘Mr France was one of the leading New Testament scholars of his generation, producing outstanding work especially on Matthew’s Gospel and the way the New Testament is a fulfilment of the Old’.