Service of thanksgiving for Jean Wilson
Gigi Graham, daughter of Billly Graham, is among the Christians paying tribute to mission worker Jean Wilson at a service of thanksgiving today.
Wilson died on 13 January at the age of 79. She worked with Billy Graham during his first visit to London in the 1950s and remained involved in his ministry, managing the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association office until 2008.
She was a close personal friend of Graham and his late wife, Ruth. He praised her "multiple gifts" and her contribution to the ministry over the years.
"Your love of the Lord has been an encouragement to many people, including our family," he said.
Wilson was also involved in the work of humanitarian and mission organisation African Enterprise from the time of its founding by Michael Cassidy in 1962.
She was a trustee when AE was incorporated in the UK in 1978 and served as AE's UK director and international treasurer in a voluntary capacity.
Her heart for Africa led her to be known as "Queen Jean" by many African leaders.
It was only a serious stroke that caused her to retire as director of AE in 2008. At this time she was appointed as a "Life Fellow" of AE by trustees.
AE paid tribute to her enormous contribution to the ministry over five decades, praising her "heart for mission coupled with great business ability".
Cassidy said: "She was one of AE's real greats, a vintage woman of God, loved and admired by so many all over the world."
Wilson was a life-time member of All Souls, Langham Place, in London, where the service of thanksgiving is taking place today.
Reverend Richard Bewes, trustee of AE UK and former rector of All Souls said: "For more than 50 years, our beloved Jean has left the stamp of her self-affecting Christ-centred service all over the world.
"Christians and mission organisations are deeply thankful to God for this wonderful friend of the international church of the Lord Jesus Christ."
The sermon at today's service will be preached by Operation Mobilisation founder George Verwer. Other guests include David Applin, Tim Innes, Dave Pope, Pat Strange, Harvey Thomas and Rico Tice.