Renowned Norfolk evangelist and author
Renowned Norfolk evangelist, author and businessman John Wright died peacefully on Sunday night. Colleague and friend Barrie Lawrence pays tribute.
John slipped away quietly and peacefully late on Sunday November 29. However, one would assume that his arrival in heaven was anything but peaceful, and that he received a truly thunderous welcome there.
‘A spiritual giant’. ‘An apostle of faith’. ‘A prolific author’. These are just a few of the ways in which John has been described over the years.
The following is adapted from John’s profile on the Branch Press website -
John Wright came from a family who, since the eighteenth century, had produced missionaries and businessmen in every generation. His great grandfather, Prebendary Henry Wright, was General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society.
As a bachelor of 32 and a regular churchgoer, John had a dramatic conversion experience. This was the prelude, as it was for Joseph in the Book of Genesis, to a period of tribulation balanced by many great blessings. Businesses collapsed, he went through a desert experience of two years unemployment, he had cancer and finally the undeserved humiliation of Prison. The hands of the Potter have been manifestly at work building a man of faith and endurance. Throughout these trials and afflictions John’s sense of humour never left him. The joy of the Lord was his strength.
John and wife Sue lived near Norwich. They have four sons and a daughter, all of whom are on fire for God. John was a businessman who trained at the Harvard Business School. He had been a Director of Reckitt & Colman Food Division and had founded a Merchant Bank in Norwich in obedience to the Holy Spirit, despite having neither money nor any knowledge of banking! He started the St Matthews Housing Association which provides accommodation for the homeless in over 80 houses throughout East Anglia. He also started the Stop a Copper Society whose members stop police and traffic wardens to express their appreciation.
John was the founder and force behind Branch Press. He was a prolific author of dozens of inspiring books. He had been a Lay Reader for 40 years and was a member of the College of Evangelists instituted by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. He was also an International Director of the Full Gospel Business Men of whom the Archbishop of York has said, ‘We need more men like them.’
John and Sue had travelled to 36 countries since 1978, preaching the Full Gospel in word and in deed in the power of the Spirit with signs and wonders. Romans 15:18-20. John’s ministry as an evangelist, teacher and encourager of daily witnessing has been appreciated in all main line denominations. His particular passion was for church members to be born of the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit and learning to walk as Jesus walked, doing the things that Jesus did, seeking and using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
John’s testimony continues to move people from tears to laughter and is a great encouragement for anyone going through a time of affliction. He also had a healing ministry arising from gifts of knowledge to confirm the preaching of the Full Gospel.
His influence on the lives of Christians and others locally, nationally and internationally is immeasurable. He and his ministry were unique, and are irreplaceable. He will be greatly missed by multitudes.
John was 86, and lived for over 50 years just south-east of Norwich. He had suffered from cancer for ten years, and whilst in Priscilla Bacon Lodge hospice for the final three weeks of his life, was still telling those around him of the wonderful change that Jesus makes in people’s lives.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue, and children Francis, Jemimah, David, James and John.
John Betts, director of Celebrate Norfolk, paid tribute saying: “John Wright was a good friend, a man of God who loved Jesus and had a passion for the lost and an amazing evangelist. There will be very many people who testify to his faithfulness to God and love for them which led to their salvation. It has been a great privilege to know John and share fellowship with him. He will be greatly missed. My love and prayers are with Sue and the family.”
Read some of our previous articles about John Wright.
Please add your own memories or tributes to John below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org