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Derek Prime (1931–2020)

May 2020 | by Ian Balfour

Derek Prime
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Derek James Prime, pastor, author, and conference speaker, has died aged 89.

Raised in London, Derek was invited to a Bible class at Lansdowne Evangelical Free Church in West Norwood when aged 13. This led to his conversion and baptism.

Derek completed national service before pursuing higher education. He gained an MA in History and Theology from Cambridge before becoming a schoolteacher in Battersea.

In 1955 Derek married Betty Martin. Two years later he became Pastor of Lansdowne Evangelical Church.

In 1967 he became National President of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches and in 1969 accepted a call to minster at Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh.

He spent eighteen fruitful years there. A ministerial colleague fondly recalled ‘the multitude of things that he made better’, such as pastoral care of the church.

Derek made time to train six men for ministry. They worked with him for two years prior to progressing to their own pastorates.

He encouraged members of the Young People’s Meeting in their discipleship and helped students from all over the world, keeping in touch with many after they returned to their own countries.

Retirement proved busy for Derek. He frequently spoke at churches and conferences and authored many books, perhaps the best-known being On Being a Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work, later revised with Alistair Begg (former assistant to Derek) in 2013. His final publication was A Good Old Age.

Derek’s daughter Cilla died in 2003 and his wife Betty in 2007. He leaves three children: Esther Grant (involved in Navigator work), Tim (chairman of the Deacons’ Court in Charlotte Chapel), and Jonathan (Associate National Director of the FIEC), eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Derek will be sorely missed but remembered by his family and many friends as a godly, gracious, and gentle man.

Ian Balfour