At the end of March and following many battles with cancer, David Ollerton was called home to be with his Lord. It is well said that you are able to get a fuller picture of a Christian on his death bed than in any other place. David’s hope and assurance in the promises of the Gospel shone through both his life and last illness. He died well, with his eyes firmly fixed on his Saviour and his confidence in the unchanging promises of his unchanging God.
A Lancastrian by birth, David was converted during a mission conducted by Cliff College. Although he initially trained as a teacher, he soon became aware of God’s call to ministry. He trained at Birmingham Bible Institute, and then spent time leading a team of young people working voluntarily for the London City Mission. His first pastoral charge was in Cefn Cribwr in 1978. He later moved to a new church plant in Esher, Surrey, a move he was later to describe as going ‘from coal dust to gold dust’! In 1998 he returned to Wales as teaching elder in Rhiwbina Baptist Church. During his time there the new Ainon church in Tongwynlais was planted before he turned his energy and gifting to securing the church plant at Grace, Porthcawl. His periods of ministry were attended by seasons of great blessing, as he witnessed many converted by God’s grace.
While in Esher he felt called to learn Welsh, and on returning to Wales new opportunities for a wider ministry opened for him. Initially this was realised through co-lecturing annually with Dr Tudur Jones in Bala. Menter Eglwysi (Churches Venturing) was a conference for leaders which focused on the historical patterns of church and leadership, with the lessons applied as we serve today and anticipate tomorrow. Through this conference he became well known amongst a broad sphere of leaders from different streams, and his pastoral visits to these leaders were to become transformative to many in their different contexts. As well as establishing a new Welsh-language training school for potential leaders, DAWN Cymru, David also devoted himself to establishing Waleswide, with the intention of encouraging new church plants across Wales. With Waleswide he gathered a broad representation of evangelical men to work together both on the steering group and to support gospel work locally.
David was a keen student of history, and was especially interested in individuals like Huw Owen of Bronclydwr, Phylip Pugh of Llwynpiod and Howell Harris. During the past few years he applied academic rigour to his convictions about contextual mission and ministry. He was awarded his doctorate on current patterns of mission in Wales and adapted his thesis to publish ‘A New Mission to Wales’. The book, available from Waleswide, reflects his passion for Wales, as well as his passion for a faithful Gospel witness in all our communities.
We extend our sympathy to both Liz his wife and their children Ruth, Andrew and Joy, praying that they may know the peace of God.