Tony Tyndale (April 17,1926 - August 24,1999)

An Officer and a Christian Gentleman

by Robert Brow 1999

In the fall of 1963 I did a three months speaking tour in the United States and Canada for the mission that is now Interserve and the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship. You can be either tired of or tired from. And by the end of that assignment I was both. I was counting the days to get home to Mollie and our four children back in England.

Tony met me off the bus in Kingston, Ontario, immediately took me under his wing, and helped me enjoy those last three weeks. Just by the look of him and his careful attention to every detail of the schedule, I guessed he had been an army officer. Sure enough he had served for eight years with a famous tank regiment, the Royal Dragoon Guards. I later discovered he had a first class English education as a boy at Winchester College (1940-43) and did an honours degree in Russian Language and Literature at Worcester College, Oxford.

His wife, Penelope, welcomed me to their home. When we came to Canada the next year I often visited them in Montreal and in Toronto. And I am amazed at how many seeds were planted that had a fruitful influence in my life.

The first Sunday in Kingston Tony arranged for me to speak at St. James Church, Kingston. The Rector was Desmond Hunt, and fifteen years later he persuaded me to come there for a very happy eleven years at the heart of Queen's University.

I was introduced to Charlie Leach, and spoke at the weekly meeting connected with Camp Iawah (In all thy ways acknowledge Him). The name was the idea of Don Cannell, and he and many of our other Kingston friends were part of the Iawah family. I often spoke at that camp, and we still send our grandchildren there every summer.

Tony arranged for me to speak at Queen's Christian Fellowship (connected with IVCF). And when we came to Canada in 1964 he arranged for us to be at students camps at Campus in the Woods and the Laurentians. As a result of contacts with InterVarsity I was asked to write Religion: Origins and Ideas, 1966 (it is still accessed by dozens of readers every week from my web site). It was published through Tyndale Press in London.

Strangely Tony Tyndale was directly descended from the original William Tyndale (1490-1536) who translated the New Testament into English (1524-25). He had to flee to Europe, where 1000 copies were printed, and illegally distributed in England. After being condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, he was captured in Antwerp, and executed (1525).

Tony studied theology as I did at Tyndale Hall,Bristol, and just before he died he was appointed Chancellor of Tyndale Theological Seminary in Toronto.

I saw less of him when I moved from Toronto to Kingston in 1978, but I kept hearing good things of his work with Penelope at Holy Trinity Church, Thornhill (1979-81), then with the South American Missionary Society (1982-94).

The passion, which he often shared with me, was for unordained Christians to be freed, equipped, and used to the full. That was the topic of his doctorate at the Ontario College of Education in the University of Toronto, 1987. He also taught the ministry of the laity at Wycliffe College (1985-92).

The last five years of his life he travelled again and again to central, eastern, and southern Africa "working with Anglican bishops, clergy and lay leaders to teach, train, and promote the ministry of the whole people of God" (taken from the memorial service brochure, October 24, 1999). The fruit of that costly labour of love can be seen in the huge church growth which has taken place across central Africa. I am sure he regretted, as I do, the typical style of one man ministry that still leaves most congregations in North America bound hand and foot.

He leaves Penelope (widowed after 43 years of marriage), and their four children Mark, Andrew, Rachel, Nicholas, and five grandchildren. With many others in over 100 countries, I thank God for his influence on my life.

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