David Jebson (1926-2009)
How do you reach millions of people in the UK every week with a gospel tract? This was the motivation behind David Jebson’s Thought for the week, which was published in several of the free UK newspapers.
David was born in 1926, the eldest son of a devout Methodist family living in London. The family moved to Harrogate at the beginning of WW2, where David joined the Air Force Cadets, one reason being to avoid going to church.
He was called up to the RAF, training as a radar mechanic before being posted to India. Through the friendship and consistent witness of Christians on the camp in 1946, Jesus Christ met with his chosen servant and authored faith in the life of David Jebson. It completely changed his outlook on life and it wasn’t long before he was used to bring a colleague to faith in Christ.
Following demob, David returned to Harrogate and was involved in gospel work, including the boys club he ran with Hudson Pope and open-air work. But David felt the Lord would have him in full-time service. Following a period of training, he was drawn to the work of the Liverpool City Mission and joined the staff in October 1950.
Work in the mission included open-air preaching, tract distribution, door-to-door visitation, church ministry and children’s work, as well as pastoring churches at Dovecot (1957-1969) and Bromborough (1969-1971).
David’s faith was tried in the furnace of affliction. After marriage, God blessed David and Thelma with two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. Tragically Margaret died following a domestic accident in 1963. Later they adopted another daughter, Sharon.
David served as superintendent of the mission from 1971 until he retired in 1991. He said this meant he was ‘re-tyred’ and set about serving the Lord with renewed zeal. Involved with Chester City Mission throughout retirement, he and Thelma settled into Flint Evangelical Church, from where David preached over a wide area.
Thought for the Week had been started in 1984 while David was at the Liverpool City Mission, and was published in the local free newspaper The Merseymart. Once retired, David expanded this work, contacting free newspaper editors across the UK. Several took him up on his offer of a free, weekly ‘thought’.
When interviewed in 2004, twenty years and one thousand thoughts later, he observed: ‘In 100 years time, if someone goes up into an attic and finds a copy of one of these newspapers, the only article that will still be of relevance to them will be the Thought for the Week’.
Many gathered on 27 March for a memorable funeral service at Flint, led by Pastor John Davies. Stuart Olyott preached from Philippians 1:21.
David’s passing provides opportunities for others to continue this work. Could you? (Further information from: www.thoughtfortheweek.co.uk)