Influential Kenyan born Christian leader Richard Bewes dies aged 84

Richard Bewes and his wife Pam
Richard Bewes and his wife Pam.

Reverand Richard Bewes OBE, the former rector of All Souls church Langham Place in London, has died aged 84.

He was born and raised by missionary parents in Kenya, along with his two brothers and sister, which he described as ‘a most tranquil upbringing’, and his book, ‘Under the Thorn Tree’ recalls his early life in the East African country.

Richard made a confession of faith as a teenager, partly under the influence of church minister John Stott.

After studying at Cambridge University, he remained in the city where he trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, before being ordained to ministry in the Church of England in 1959.

Richard Bewes and family in Kenya
Richard Bewes, with his parents and siblings in Kenya.

Richard became Rector of London’s All Souls Church in Langham Place after leading two churches in England’s south-east with his earlier wife Liz. Its international nature continued to develop, with some 2,500 coming through its doors every Sunday. He chaired the Church of England Evangelical Council throughout the 1990s and was involved in raising up and training church leaders  through Africa Enterprise.

A friend and colleague of the international evangelist Billy Graham, Rev Bewes chaired Graham’s Greater London Mission in 1989 having been 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.

In 2005, he was awarded an OBE by the queen in 2005 for services to the Church of England. Among his interests outside his work were photography and tennis.

He is survived by his wife Pam Bewes, whom he married in 2012.

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