John Walker, and his wife Michele, joined us in January having previously worked as the Vicar of Calverley for over 17 years. Here’s a chance to get to know him better as John shares his story with us: Where have you been?
I am married to Michele (who is from Canada) and we have three children, all who are adults now; Sarah, Michael and Jonathan, now married to his wife Philippa and who have a son Joseph Jonathan.
Karl Barth (20th Century theologian) told the story of an old lady who once went to the evangelist Kohlbrügge and asked him, ‘Tell me, sir, when were you converted?” The evangelist, knowing well that she was interested in the details of his Christian experience, replied, “Madam, I was converted nineteen hundred years ago when Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose again.”
My apprehension of that reality has developed throughout my life beginning with the influence of my parents (Father, a Vicar having been a Church Army Evangelist, an Anglo Catholic Evangelical) who died when I was 7 and my Mother when I was 9. The Clergy Orphan Corporation Boarding School, where I spent ten formative years, had a strong Christian ethos and I was influenced by the Chaplains and staff; sang in the choir; confirmed as a teenager. Billy Graham (admired by my father) wooed me to Christ in 1966 – and in 1967 at theological college where I was training for ordination, a student friend helped me across the threshold of adult discipleship. The same friend introduced me to ‘charismatic renewal’, and with others to ‘world mission’, which was later further fuelled by a period spent with YWAM and then 5 years as a Mission Partner in Paraguay South America during my altogether 40 years of ordained Anglican ministry.
My understanding of Who God is, (the Trinitarian Fellowship of Father, Son and Spirit) and of my relationship in and with that beautiful ‘Community of Love’ through my adoption in and through the Lord Jesus, has grown and developed throughout my adult Christian life, and continues do so.
What are you most passionate about? A rediscovery of the Trinitarian Gospel, which was the bread and butter of the Early Church for the first four Centuries but, tragically lost in the ensuing centuries. It can best be summed up in this sentence from Dr C.Baxter Kruger: “The gospel is not the news that we can accept an absent Jesus into our lives. The gospel is the news that the Father’s Son has received us into his and we now share in and enjoy the relationship Jesus Christ enjoys with His Father!"
What is your role at St George’s? I am primarily involved in Pastoral Care three days a week in addition to Sundays, which includes visiting in homes and hospitals as well as prayer ministry/counselling on a personal level for and occasionally preaching and leading worship. I have also become involved with the Wednesday Fellowship which together with Cilbie Appleyard we are seeking to develop and grow! Michele and I are delighted and feel privileged to have been called to be a part of St George’s life, work, and witness.
What does sharing life, loving Leeds look like to you? I first came to live Leeds as an orphan in 1957 and have a growing love for this city and its inhabitants. My longing is that everyone, both ‘churched’ and ‘unchurched’ might come to know in their personal experience the wonderful truth of their ‘inclusion’ in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus and of their adoption to ‘sonship’ through Him; no one has been left an orphan. (See John 14:18)