Chappo called home

Chappo called home

Sydney’s leading evangelist for more than 50 years, John Chapman, has passed away in hospital at the age of 82.

“Chappo”, as he was affectionately known, was converted in his teens and became involved in the Anglican Youth Department and later the Department of Evangelism, where he was director for more than 25 years.

His wide preaching, teaching and writing ministry saw him speaking to groups throughout the Sydney diocese, in Australia and overseas, particularly in England where he was a regular visitor.

In later years he passed on his wisdom on evangelism and preaching to generations of ministry trainees and colleges students. He was also prominent in evangelism in universities, particularly during the 1970s and 80s.

His books A Fresh Start and Know and Tell the Gospel sold in the tens of thousands and helped many Sydney Anglicans with personal evangelism and sharing the gospel.

Mr Chapman never married but was at home in many churches across the diocese. The single quarters at Moore Theological College was named “John Chapman House” in his honour.

Although he had been ill for some time, Chappo received a stream of visitors from around the world during his retirement in Sydney’s south.

In recent weeks, one of his last duties was a project close to his heart, the newly created John Chapman Foundation, established in October to raise money to recruit and train evangelists.

He was admitted to St George Hospital in late October and had been on the critical list for a week.

On Friday November 16, several close friends visited to read the Bible, pray and say their last farewells to a man who was one of the most loved preachers in the Sydney Diocese in second half of the 20th century.

He finally succumbed to multiple organ failure on Friday night.

Archbishop Peter Jensen immediately paid tribute to his long-time friend and colleague.

“Chappo represented the very essence of what our diocese has always stood for and continues to stand for. A strong affirmation of the authority of the Bible, the importance of preaching and an approach to evangelism which made it central while at the same time respecting the intelligence and integrity of the listeners. He was a man of faith like Joshua of old, and he lived out his faith with clear godliness of life,” Dr Jensen said.

“Like many others, Christine and I feel the loss acutely. When i visited him on his last day, he reminded me once more that he prayed for us daily. His support for me personally for over 40 years has been an incalculable blessing,” he said.

Russell Powell

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