Willis Metcalfe (1922-2009)
Willis Metcalfe, a director of both Evangelical Press and Evangelical Times, went to be with the Lord on 8 June.
Converted to Christ as a twelve-year-old boy in the Methodist chapel at Snape near Bedale, he later undertook evangelistic training at Cliff College, Derbyshire, in 1947-48. He prepared for missionary work in China, but this was thwarted firstly by ill health and secondly by the Communist takeover of 1949.
Willis returned to the family occupation of farming in Yorkshire over the next 60 years. He had a deep interest in the work of Christ’s kingdom in many countries. He served as a Methodist local preacher, until seceding from Methodism in 1964 over the denomination’s unbiblical ecumenism. He became a founder member of Zion Evangelical Church in Ripon in 1965.
Willis was one of the first directors of Evangelical Press, along with Robin Bird its founder; and an early director of Evangelical Times, which had been founded in 1967 by Dr Peter Masters. His support and vision for these publishing works, especially in association with the late Bill Clark, helped to spearhead the propagation of the Reformed faith across many parts of the world, and latterly into China itself.
Willis’ zeal for the Lord of hosts continued to the end. He was a prime mover behind the starting of Truth in Science, an educational organisation pressing for scientific integrity in the teaching of origins (www.truthinscience.org.uk) in UK schools and colleges.
His last short illness from cancer was characterised by the same rejoicing in the grace of God that had adorned his life. All who knew Willis knew that his Christian profession was undergirded by an immensely inspiring, rock-like trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We remember in prayer his wife Anne, and his immediate and wider family, in their sad loss.