Tributes to the Revd Jim Graham
The Revd Jim Graham, who led Gold Hill Baptist Church for nearly 30 years, has died aged 84
Jim was minister of Gold Hill Baptist Church in Buckinghamshire from 1968 – 1994, a period which saw membership mushroom from 120 to more than 600. Described as one of the fathers of the modern charismatic renewal movement, he never wavered in his commitment to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
‘Much was achieved during the 28 years of Jim Graham’s ministry,’ states the Gold Hill website. ‘The concern of the church became the centrality of Christ; the authority of Scripture; the practical outworking of teaching through House Groups; the movement of the Holy Spirit in renewal; the importance of fellowship.’
It goes onto to say that at one point the church supported 60 full-time workers under Jim, there were nearly 30 house groups and it became necessary to have two morning services.
Announcing his death, Gold Hill’s present senior minister the Revd Malcolm Duncan released a statement from Jim’s family:
We cannot begin to express how grateful we are to God for all that he meant to us. He was a deeply loved dad to us and our spouses and Papa to our children as well as a devoted husband to our mum, Anne, who passed away in 2012. His death leaves a great chasm in our lives but we are deeply comforted by the reality that he is now free from the restrictions of his physical body and that he is more alive and more fully himself than he has ever been. We take great comfort from our shared Christian hope and know that we will be united again.
Quoting Psalm 100 (I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter his courts with praise), the statement continued:
Dad did this. His last few days were marked with a deep sense of thankfulness to those around him and to God. We are not surprised by this, as our father was a man of deep faith, enormous grace and overflowing thankfulness
In a further post Malcolm thanked all who have passed on kind messages regarding Jim, who authored numerous books and was a former president of Youth for Christ. He said:
I am so blessed to have walked alongside him and Anne in the closing years of their lives. We became close friends and I am so grateful to God for them. Many of you knew them both for so much longer. What a joy you brought to their lives and what a joy they brought to yours.
Baptist minister the Revd Stephen Gaukroger, who succeeded Jim as senior pastor at Gold Hill, described him as “thoughtful, careful, gracious and wise.”
Jim remained a church member at Gold Hill, and Stephen said:
It shouldn’t have worked – the history of senior ministers retiring and staying in the congregation is littered with problems – but it did. Jim was most loyal and supportive.
I asked him to remain on the staff team, and he was such an asset, particularly to the younger members: he had time to sit and listen to them; his capacity to care for them was amazing. He just embodied what he preached.
Many more tributes have appeared across social media (see below). Amid the tributes Malcolm stressed the importance of not turning Jim "into a porcelain saint":
He was not that. He was flawed and broken like the rest of us and he would not want us to indulge in making him into something that he was not. Our gatherings as a Church family on Sunday 10 July will remember him but not worship him. We will worship the God Whom we each love and adore and Who loves us all.
On Sunday Gold Hill duly gave their gatherings to 'thanking God for Jim, praying for his family and reflecting together as a church family', Malcom said. This will be available to download and listen from the website at the end of the week.
Jim’s thanksgiving service is at Gold Hill on 22 July at 2pm and all are welcome.
The consistent revolutionary - "I get my sense of significance and self worth from surrender to him, to Jesus" - an interview with Jim Graham in The Baptist Times, January 2009