John Stott memorial service
Hundreds of people gathered in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Friday 13 January, to thank God for the life of Rev. John Stott, who died last year at the age of 90.
The former Rector of All Souls and founder of both the Langham Partnership and Institute for Contemporary Christianity (ICC), was so well-loved and respected that service organisers had to ‘ticket’ the memorial and allocate spaces on a first come, first served basis.
A communal prayer (litany) of thanksgiving was led by Rt Rev. Michael Baughen. Canon Mark Oakley, treasurer and canon in residence of St Paul’s, also took part.
The sermon, taking Revelation 17:14 as its key text, was given by hymn writer Rt Rev. Timothy Dudley-Smith, former Bishop of Thetford and author of Mr Stott’s biography.
He said, ‘My text begins by drawing our eyes to Jesus Christ, risen, exalted, victorious and reigning. It is this Jesus who is at the heart of our worship today, as he was always at the heart of John’s life’.
He added that God called Mr Stott and gave him wonderful gifts so that his ‘work should not die with him, but grow and flourish under the hand of God’.
Bishop Dudley-Smith did not miss the gospel opportunity either, questioning the congregation: ‘May I put to each of you individually, how is it between you and Christ this morning?’
Four personal tributes to Mr Stott’s life were also given. These were from Frances Whitehead, Mr Stott’s secretary for 55 years; John Chew, retired archbishop of Singapore and Langham scholar; Robert Aboagye-Mensah, presiding bishop Methodist Church of Ghana and Langham scholar; and Ruth Padilla DeBorst, general secretary Latin American Theological Fellowship and Langham scholar.
The ongoing visions of the ICC and Langham Partnership International were presented by Mark Greene and Chris Wright respectively. The final blessing was given by Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (www.johnstottmemorial.org).