OMF (UK) is sad to announce that John Wallis, our former National Director, passed away on 7 September at the age of 85 following a stroke.
John served as National Director from 1978 until 1989, but this was just a part of a life dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
John was born in 1936 and came to Christ during his national service. At Clifton Theological College, while preparing for ordination, John met Kim Chin Kyung, a Korean student who would have a profound influence on him. John went on to serve churches in Blackpool and Leeds. At the latter, a visit from Kim Chin Kyung challenged him and Kathleen with opportunities to serve the church in Korea. In 1969 they joined OMF to serve in South Korea.
As a curate, John had seen that lasting ministry was built not on the personality and powers of the leader, but on the Bible. This emphasis led John to help pioneer Scripture Union in Korea. In 1974 health issues meant John & Kathleen had to return home, but 50 years on, Scripture Union Korea continues to help children and young people engage with God’s word.
Back in the UK, John was appointed Candidates Secretary and West Regional Representative for OMF in Scotland in 1975. After a period of service as National Director, John & Kathleen left OMF at the end of 1989 and John took up a position as the minister of an international congregation in The Hague. John later served at Emmanuel Church, Northwood. In the UK, John was also involved in supporting the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM) for over forty years, including as COCM Council Chairman until 2017. Although John and Kathleen retired to Norfolk in 2002, there John helped start ‘The Word on the Wash’ – an annual Keswick-style Bible conference.
John was also the author of several books including What’s the Point, After All?, and Come into His Presence. Stanley Davies, who served as General Secretary of the Evangelical Missionary Alliance at the time of the Wallis’ departure as National Director wrote, ‘John Wallis’ contribution to the cause of world mission has been deeply appreciated by many. In different situations, whether at local church level or in national conferences for Christian leaders, he has been a faithful ambassador for world mission’.
John is survived by Kathleen, his wife, their three children Andrew, Ruth and Simon and eight grandchildren.
We would like to thank Peter Pattisson for his help in preparing this tribute.