making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ in Birmingham and for the world

A man ablaze

Dear Friends,

You may have heard the news that Michael Green died peacefully on Wednesday 6th February following a brief illness.  Many of us will remember Michael with great fondness and enormous gratitude as a persuasive evangelist, distinguished theologian and engaging author.  Even at St Stephen’s we have reason to thank God for him: he spoke at a church weekend away in 2001, led a mission with other local churches in 2003 and preached several times.  We enjoyed a particular connection with him while his daughter Jenny (Maclennan) and her family were with us.

What was it about Michael that made him so special?  (Here I am indebted to a tribute by Simon Ponsonby on the website of St Aldate’s Church, Oxford where Michael was Rector 1975-1987, which seems to capture him perfectly).  He says that Michael was “a man ablaze with the love of God and the Spirit of God, and people came to watch him burn – with a heart, mind and mouth set on fire.”  Just like John Wesley, who was once asked the basis for his success and replied: “First I set myself on fire, then people came to see me burn.”  

In this, Michael was the embodiment of Romans 12:11: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour”.  His love for Jesus was enthusiastic and infectious to the end.  He wanted nothing more than to know Jesus better himself and to make him known to others.  Even last year, at the age of 87, he was leading a university mission at Warwick!  He was “a true legend in his own lifetime – famous for making Jesus famous.”

Yours warmly, in Christ,

Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)

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