EFAC Australia recognises the untimely death of Bishop John Wilson, retired assistant bishop in the Diocese of Melbourne and a committed evangelical and supporter of EFAC.

Click here for a recent article that John that wrote for Essentials.

The following is written by Tim Foster of Ridley Melbourne as a tribute to John.

John Wilson was a former student and long-time friend of Ridley Melbourne. He studied at Ridley from 1960-1962 and tutor 1963-1964. Deaconed and priested in 1964 he served in the Diocese of Armidale. He went to the USA for his doctoral studies, setting out to focus on Hebrew and Aramaic, but after his intended supervisor moved he wrote a dissertation in early church history entitled, The First Epistle of Clement : a theology of power studies. John returned to Ridley as a lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew from 1973-1985. He left in 1985 to become Bishop of the Southern Region, continuing to support the college as a member of the Council from 1987-2006.

During his time as a lecturer John was instrumental in establishing the Ridley bookshop. Having worked part-time in a bookshop while undertaking his doctoral work in the USA, he was able to introduce many significant improvements. He revolutionised the ordering service significantly improving the range of stock and competitiveness of the shop. His interest in the bookshop continued after leaving the faculty, as he chaired the Bookshop Management Committee for several years.

John was both a scholar and a pastor. Even while he was a lecturer he kept in touch with parish life being Assistant Curate at St Michael's North Carlton and later at St James Old Cathedral. He was one of the early champions of women in ministry who will be remembered as a friend, mentor and supporter by many. He promoted the Ridley Certificate, a program that offered courses in external centres such as Frankston, and the setting up of the Centre for Applied Christian Ethics (CACE).

With the Australian Christian publishing industry in decline John recognised the importance of Christian publishers for promoting local scholarship, and put considerable time and energy into building Acorn Press. In more recent times John turned his attention to Islamic studies publishing the major study, Christianity alongside Islam which has been the subject of many enthusiastic reviews. The forthcoming Lenten Studies, The Old Testament on the Way to the Cross will be his final publication.

Ridley Melbourne thanks God for the life and ministry of Bishop Dr John Wilson. He has placed an indelible mark on the college leaving a legacy for which future generations owe a great debt. We will remember him as a man of prayer and deep spirituality who stands as a great encouragement and role model for those in ministry.

We express our profound condolences to his wife Jill and his family. His death is a great loss to us all, but particularly for them.

His funeral was held on Friday 28 January at 1.30 pm at Christ Church Berwick, and a Diocesan Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Right Reverend Dr John Wilson in St Paul’s Cathedral was held on Wednesday 2 February 2011. Ridley was represented on both occasions.

“I am the resurrection and the life... Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26.

Tim Foster
Ridley Melbourne