Stewart Dinnen - Prayer and Action
Stewart Dinnen based his life on the realised principle of a vital union with Christ, and genuinely lived it out as a daily habit.
He died aged 81 on 12 August, after a month in hospital during which his gracious witness, despite the oxygen mask, powerfully impacted the staff. Who was Stewart Richmond Dinnen? A pianist who could make Three Blind Mice sound like a classical piece. Personally shy, but forthright when the need was .there. A leader who was quick to publicly apologise when he was wrong. A man of vision, always on the cutting edge. A statesman, yet ever caring about another's needs. A disciplined man who also held others to the highest. An independČent mind, yet aware of his need of other people and their support. A man who, untied to any particular theological persuasion, cared for all God's people and sought to minister to them. And therefore, a man who enjoyed wide acceptance and effected spiritual impact across denominational lines. A godly mother, Scripture Union, and Crusaders were all formative in Stewart's youth in Scotland, and in 1940 God used Dr Wilfred Morris, a missionary to India, to spark a passion for Jesus and the spiritually lost among unreached cultures which motivated the rest of his life. With India in his sights Stewart applied to the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (now WEC International) and married Marie Gourdie. Their destination changed but the partnership remained rock solid, united' in purpose and mutually supportive through 58 years of teamed ministry.
The newlyweds were needed at the WEC Missionary Training College in Glasgow where Stewart became Dean of Studies and then Principal. Ten years later their next appointment was to the USA, to commence another MTC along similar lines; but a staff crisis in the Australian MTC diverted them to Launceston. Here God kept them at the helm until 1978, through them rebuilding the college making it a uniquely potent equip-per of cross-cultural workers. Stewart was instrumental in seeing established state branches of CBMC, Keswick and the Evangelical Alliance, and in 1978 he received an MBE "for distinČguished Christian service to the community".
Stewart's next appointment was as International Leadership Training Officer for WEC, ideal for a man who longed to see others effectiveČly trained. Then a term as International Director was folČlowed by the position of Ambassador-at-large. In these years Stewart wrote 13 books-and several manuals. The preacher/teacher in him was active to the end; fighting weakness he honored a commitment to preach twice in his home church- the Sunday before his final hospitalisation. Stewart was a man of faith, comČbining prayer and action on the basis of God's faithfulness to His promises. He loved the Bible, relČishing every opportunity to explain its profound truths in simple life-changing ways. His purpose was always to motivate others to obediČence and equip them for strategic effectiveness. He was a spiritual father to many. For WEC lnt'1 he provided visionary, focused leadČership. For Christ's sake he investČed his life in others. His great joy at the end was to know that both daughters, Ruth and Grace, with their husbands, shared his and Marie's passion for Jesus and the Kingdom.
With thanks to Don Barns, Evan Davies and Steve Nicholson