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Famous Christians who left us in 2023

by Ros Mayfield


Rev Tim Keller

Tim Keller – the gifted evangelical preacher and pastor lost his battle to pancreatic cancer this year.  He said the prospect of dying had forced him to re-evaluate his faith.  Tributes poured in for the popular former leader of Redeemer Presbyterian church in New York who was widely respected across denominations.  He had a unique ability to unpack intellectual theology and make it accessible, as well as a genuine desire to meet others wherever they were on their faith journey.

David Pytches

David Pytches – the former vicar of St Andrew’s Chorleywood passed away in November.  Vineyard founder John Wimber inspired Pytches and together with his wife Mary (pictured), he helped to lead a charismatic revival within the Anglican church, training and equipping thousands of church leaders in Holy Spirit gifts and prayer ministry. He founded the New Wine network which spawned Soul Survivor – a youth festival and church in Watford. His death prompted a rare social media post from its embattled former leader, Mike Pilavachi, paying tribute to his much-loved mentor.

Rev Carmel Jones

Rev Carmel Jones – the financial entrepreneur who founded the Pentecostal Credit Union came to the UK aged 17, as part of the Windrush generation.  He experienced racism from an Anglican church he tried to join and later received an apology from the church and from Archbishop Justin Welby.  He found a home in the Pentecostal movement, and formed one of the first black-owned ‘banks’ which believed in lending money to black majority churches, and enabled many to purchase their own buildings.

George Verwer

George Verwer - the founder of Operation Mobilisation left a remarkable legacy in mission work.  Verwer became a Christian at a Billy Graham crusade at the age of 17, and never lost his passion for spreading the Gospel and helping others around the world.  He was instrumental in launching OM's ship ministry with ships that sail around the world spreading the good news.  He was given a posthumous award for Evangelism and Witness by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley - Senior Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta for over 50 years, Stanley was known across the world for television and radio broadcasts, and was a well-known voice on Premier Christian Radio with his programme 'In Touch'.  He barely knew his father, who died when Stanley was only nine months old, and was raised by his single mother.  He received a call to ministry at the age of 14, and gained a PhD in Theology from Atlanta before launching his broadcast career.  Franklin Graham paid tribute to his friend, saying those who heard Stanley received some of the best Bible teaching in the world.

Rosalynn & Jimmy Carter​​​​​

Rosalynn Carter – the former First Lady of the United States was married to President Jimmy Carter for close to eight decades.  The couple were lifelong Christians and returned to Sunday school teaching at their local Baptist church after leaving the White House.  Mrs Carter died aged 96, shortly after being diagnosed with dementia.  Her memorial service in Atlanta was attended by all the surviving First Ladies, President Joe Biden and her 99 year old husband Jimmy.

Rudolph Isley

Rudolph Isley – one of the founding members of the Isley Brothers, famous for hit songs in the 1950s and 60’s including “Twist and Shout”, died in October, at the age of 84.  He began singing gospel music in church and wrote several of the band’s songs.  He left the group in the 1980’s to become a Christian minister.  His family said, "Heaven has gained another angel.”

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