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Richard Bewes, former rector of All Souls, dies aged 84

by Justin Brierley

Rev Bewes was an influential Christian leader in the UK throughout his life. He was the rector of All Souls from 1983 until his retirement in 2004. Rev Bewes also served on the Church of England Evangelical Council in the 1990s and was on the British Board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for much of his life.

Church leaders have paid tribute to his life and ministry.


Mike Reeves, Principal of Union School of Theology tweeted: "Richard Bewes - kind friend, humble mentor, faithful soldier of Christ – is today crowned with glory by his saviour." 

Born and raised by missionary parents in Kenya, Rev Bewes made a confession of faith as a teenager, partly under the influence of church minister John Stott, who would continue to be a mentor to him during his undergraduate years and as one of his predecessors at All Souls. 

After studying at Cambridge University, he trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and was ordained to ministry in the Church of England in 1959.
Rev Richard Bewes with Billy Graham during a UK mission

Rev Bewes continued to be passionate about Africa and was involved in raising up and training church leaders there through Africa Enterprise.

His ministry also took him to various other parts of the world to teach and preach, as well as composing hymns and writing 20 books, including his most recent 'Under The Thorn Tree' (Christian Focus), which recalls his early life in Kenya and his vision for revival in the UK church.

Rev Bewes was a friend and colleague of the international evangelist Billy Graham and chaired Billy's Greater London Mission in 1989. He was present as a teenager at many of Graham's early evangelistic rallies in the UK in the 1950s, which he described as having had a life-changing impact on him.

Rev Bewes was awarded an OBE by the queen in 2005 for services to the Church of England. 

A keen photographer and tennis fan, he was frequently to be found at Wimbledon during the championships.  

He is survived by his wife Pam Bewes, whom he married in 2012, both of them having known earlier bereavements.  

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