John McKittrick, A Servant of Jesus Christ: An Autobiography
My great-grandfather, John McKittrick, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on 17 March 1903.
In August 1924, he immigrated to Australia, coming to faith in Jesus Christ during the sea voyage from Glasgow to Sydney.
In 1933, he made a commitment to serve with Sydney City Mission: a mission established to serve Sydney’s homeless and most vulnerable. The rest of his life was spent serving among Australia’s (and especially Sydney’s) destitute, homeless, alcoholics, sex workers, and poor. Passionate about evangelism and social justice, he personally led many thousands to Christ, while helping the most destitute of Sydney rebuild their lives.
Just before he died on Monday, 23 August 1982, he wrote down a little of his story.
Here is his story of mission in Sydney, in his own words . . .
A New Life, a New Creation
As I begin to write some of my experiences, I feel, in a measure, presumptuous, for there are so many dear servants of God all over the world who no doubt have had perhaps more wonderful experiences than I have had, but we do not hear about them. So many people have said to me, “You must write your life story—people should hear about the experiences in your life, that it may help some.” I can assure you that’s my only desire!
I thank God I was brought up in a Christian home. In Deuteronomy 6:5–7 God says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might, and these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart and you shall teach them diligently unto your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you wake up.” My parents were godly people and tried to fulfill this and all other Scriptures. My dad’s religion began in his own life, then in the life of his family. Because of this his ministry outside was God-honoring and blessed by God. He was a well-received lay preacher, preaching in mission halls and open-air meetings in Glasgow. The highlight of the open-air meetings was the backcourt meetings. He went into the back court of tenement buildings with other workers and sang and preached the gospel, reaching people as they went about their daily tasks.
When he was called up to go to the army, Pastor D.J. Findlay of St George’s Tabernacle said it would take three men to fill his place in Christian service! His dear wife faithfully backed him up, my godly mother, who spent hours each day in prayer.
You would think that having been brought up in such an atmosphere of Christian love the family would all become Christians, but brother Bob and I were not converted till after teenage days, and the other three in early life. Samuel is now in the Baptist ministry, and Elizabeth and Joseph are in glory. Bob was called by God from being an engine driver to be a city missionary, and what a great ministry he had! He, too, has since gone to glory—he was knocked down by a speeding car and killed as he was escorting an old couple across the road.
Bob and I were mates all through our teenage lives. One thing which stands out about those days is how, when we brothers went camping every weekend in the summer with two or three other mates, we invariably arrived home on Sunday night to find our parents and several other godly souls praying to God for our salvation. I know now that this was one of the great factors in keeping us from many evils. I was deeply conscious of this on many occasions. Bob and I stopped going to church on Sunday, being mainly interested in sport.
I decided I would leave home and go to Australia. Before going I married Mary Larmour, a lady I had met whilst holidaying in Northern Ireland. I did not want to lose this little Irish colleen. Her grandparents brought up Mary and I had to go to Granddad to ask for her hand. He was totally blind and was sitting in his garden when we talked. He said, “John, turn round, face the church, and promise before God you will always love and care for her.” I did so and I have sought always to do this. By the way, the marriage was not consummated till she arrived in Australia about ten months later with my parents and family.
She and my parents prayed much for me as I set off for the new land, and I believe it was in answer to their prayers and those of many others that I was converted. On the ship deep conviction of sin came upon me. I didn’t like the company of the kind of fellows I had always associated with. Their language was not always the nicest and they would often tell dirty stories. Instead of listening to them I sneaked down to my bunk and began to read the little Bible my mother had given me, and which I had promised to read every day, but had had no intention of doing so.
I attended a service one Sunday night in the dining saloon and there I accepted Christ as my own personal Savior. I could not tell you anything the preacher said, but I knew I was a sinner and that Christ the Son of God died for my sins on the cross, and I accepted him as my Savior. I knew all this from home and Sunday School, but had never done anything about it till that day.
On the ship I met a dear old Scottish gentleman who offered me a job at the Newcastle Steel Works. This, I believe, was an answer to prayer, as were many other things, because I arrived at Newcastle almost stony broke. I did not come out by assisted passage and the fare was much for a young fellow. The lady who owned the boarding house where I went to live took me in on condition I paid on payday.
Another real answer to prayer was that on the Lord’s Day I went looking for a church to worship in and was led to the Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle. The minister, Rev. B. Gawthrop and his dear wife and the young people made me feel so welcome, and I settled in with these dear ones and was baptized. Although just a young Christian I knew I should be doing service for and with my Lord. I asked could I teach in Sunday School and was given a class of seven eleven-year-old girls. One lass had not been to Sunday School for weeks. I went to visit her and found she was a very sick girl. I went several times to see her and had the joy of leading her to Christ. Her dear mother died not long afterwards—I had the joy of leading her to Christ as well.
Could I put in a little bit of humor here? Later I went to board at the same place as another young fellow from the church. Harry and I were not pleased with the porridge—it was too thin. So we decided that on Sunday morning Harry would make the breakfast, but Harry made the mistake of making the porridge too thick—we had to nearly cut it with a knife! The dear landlady was not too pleased, but she got the message.
I worked hard and saved, and prepared a home for my wife, parents, and family who joined me ten months later. My conversion brought such joy to my parents it completely changed everything. The first thing I did after my decision was to write home and tell them. Mother was in the community washhouse in the backyard. Father got the letter, opened the window, and called out, “Mother come up, good news!” She rushed up the three-story stairs, drying her hands as she went. Dad said, “John is converted!” They threw themselves into each other’s arms and wept with joy.
Dad soon found ways of witnessing for his Lord in the new country. One of these ways was to join the Northern District Open Air Campaigners, and he took his two eldest boys with him. It was out in the open-air I learned to preach, and from this began preaching in churches.
Called to Fulltime Service: The Sydney City Mission
It was six years after my conversion that God called me into the Sydney City Mission. I relate about the call so that it might help some young Christians. I was happy in my Christian service with no thought of full-time service, when there came a letter from a fellow Christian who was a city missionary, saying there was a vacancy for a missionary and he felt I was the man for the job. He said to write immediately as the vacancy had been open for a while. He also stated that in my application I should tell the committee all about my capabilities. This was a big decision to make—we had three children and one about to be born, I had a steady job, and we were happy in our house. Mary and I took it to God in prayer and got my parents and other Christian friends to pray. About a fortnight later I made application, very briefly enclosing a reference from Rev. F. Rayward who was then the Superintendent of the Newcastle Central Mission. I had worked with Mr Rayward in the open-air meetings. By the way, when I went to see Mr Rayward about the reference he said, “Jock, what salaries will you receive, you have a wife and little family to keep?” I replied, “I haven’t even enquired about that. If God wants me in this work he will provide our needs.”
At this time I began to feel that this must be God’s plan for me, because of certain happenings. I thought that if the Mission Council were to invite me for an interview it would be good if I were working on night shift, as I could go to Sydney after work and be back for the next shift. To work this shift it meant I would have to do a job I had never done before: this was to start the finished kiln. I was not surprised when the foreman said on the Friday, “Jock, could you come in on Sunday night and start the finished kiln?” Of course I said, “Yes!” By this time I was waiting for the prepaid telegram that arrived inviting me to meet the committee on the Wednesday.
When I arrived at Sydney on the Wednesday it was the busy peak hour, and when I saw all the crowds of people I was scared, I felt like getting the train back home again. I said, “Lord if you want me here I’ll come,” and peace came to me. When I got to SCM Headquarters, Rev. S. A. McDonald, the General Secretary, was engaged, and I was shown into the hall. It was the night of the Annual Meeting and on all the seats were copies of the Annual Report. I picked one up and read of something that was involved in serving in the Sydney City Mission, and again I wanted to run home! Again I said, “Lord I’ll come,” and again came peace.
Mr McDonald took me to another building where members of the Council interviewed me. It was some weeks before word came that I was accepted. I believe in the meantime Mr McDonald went to Newcastle and heard me preach in the open-air and at a special children’s meeting in Mayfield Baptist Church.
After the appointment was made I was still very nervous and felt so inadequate. In my readings God led me to Genesis 18 where God said Sarah would bear a son and she laughed for all the laws of nature said it was impossible. God was displeased and said, “Is anything too hard for God?” The other word from God was from Exodus 4:10 and 11, where Moses, being commissioned to go and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, said to God, “I am not eloquent,” and God said, “Who made your mouth?” I went to the Mission knowing there was nothing too hard for God and that he who made my mouth would speak through me in his own wonderful way.
It was hard to leave my little family and my dear wife who was expecting another child at any moment. We often laugh about that: Mary had mumps and she was expecting. Mother and father lived nearby, so she had help if needed. John was born about three weeks later.
Early Days in the Mission: Woolloomooloo and Millers Point
My first fortnight in the Mission was spent in the district of Woolloomooloo with a dear old missionary who was filling in because of staff shortages. He had labored in this district of the red light for many years and everybody in this district knew him. One day he took me round the place where these women operated and it was moving to see how even these poor fallen women respected him. He talked with one woman and she wept as he talked. Afterwards he told me her story. She had become pregnant as a young teenager and her father cast her out of the home. He told me she would always say it could have been so different if dad had not been so hard.
I said everybody knew him; we had a dear mother at Paddington who was influenced to Christ through this dear old man. She tells how while she was bathing her baby and the next little girl was crying her heart out, there was a knock at the door and a voice saying, “I’m coming in.” In walked the missionary, picked up the little girl, and nursed her till mum was finished, had a word and left, putting a pound note in her hand. One night there was a meeting in a house and the old man kept on his overcoat till finally he had to take it off—and, underneath, no jacket—he had given it away! He was very unorthodox in his conduct of meetings and in all of his work, but this dear man of God had a great witness for his Lord and Master of whom we read, “He went about doing good and the poor heard him gladly.”
Before long I was settled in as missionary at the Millers Point Branch of the Mission. A new work had been added to this branch: the hall was to be open every night so men could come in from the street, play table games, have a cup of tea and biscuits, and have a little message from the Bible. At this hall a men’s free breakfast was conducted on the Sunday morning, and over a hundred men attended and heard the gospel preached. For the first time I saw men under the influence of methylated spirits (metho). One man who was heckling had a big red face and a white tongue.
Millers Point was a small district and I went round from door to door visiting three times in nine months. We had a good ministry in this district; one outstanding conversion was a man who came one morning to the hall without shoes, in his stockinged feet. He had slept in the Domain and someone had stolen his shoes, and he felt that it was the end. He was on his way up to the bridge to commit suicide when he saw the mission hall, came in, and came to Christ. He was gloriously changed and came out to the open-air meetings, giving his testimony to what Christ his Savior had done for him. We had a ministry to the young people, especially the boys. It was in a depression time and I used to cut their hair and do other things to help them. I went up one day to see our Superintendent and to ask him if I could do some hospital visiting, and he said, “We have something else for you”—it was the district of Paddington. We were sorry to leave the workers and people of Millers Point and dear sister Edgar. One worker said, “We resented your coming, but we are sorry you are going.”
“His Will Be Done”: Paddington
The shift from Millers Point meant we had to leave the house we lived in, in Lower High Street, and seek a house in Paddington. I had decided we must live in our district and my wife was right with me. We found a double-storied place not far from the hall. We had a really distressing experience in relation to this. One night we woke up with John, the baby, crying and discovered bugs crawling all over him. The old lady who lived in the house before us had not been able to keep it clean. It was not a very nice experience for us who had never seen a bug before, but we accepted it as part of the new life and got in and cleaned it up.
The Paddington ministry was a great one with dear sister Pite and a great crowd of lovely workers, and we were six-and-a-half years in this district. At the close the Municipal Council sent us a note of thanks with an accompanying letter to our Mission Council. This was, of course, because of the help given to the needy through soup kitchens and in many other ways. We had a ministry to unemployed men. A little weatherboard cottage became vacant close to our back door, so I rushed to the landlord and took it; the rent was ten pound per week. I rang Mr McDonald and he said, “You will have to put it to the Mission Council.” I said, “I will lose the cottage.” He said, “All right, Mr Cowley and I will come and see it.” I rushed round to the landlord and told him not to say I had already paid the first week’s rent. They saw the cottage and I told them I would do a work amongst unemployed men. Mr Cowley said “Fine, my boy, go ahead. Here is the first week’s rent.”
In this work God raised up a dear man who said, “John McKittrick, help people who are in real need and I will foot the bill at the end of each month.” I presented to him a list of all helped and he paid the bill. One time he was looking over the list and he saw a tube of toothpaste listed. He said, “John McKittrick, you are a bit extravagant, I use ordinary soap to clean my teeth.” Here was a dear man giving hundreds of pounds to help needy people and washing his teeth with soap! I had taken the tube of toothpaste to a man in jail; I thought it would be good to take the little practical gift as well as telling him of our wonderful Savior.
The most important part of the ministry was that we saw young and old come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. On Friday night we had a Bible study; up to twenty young people came; then we went out for an open-air meeting. One night it was very cold and windy, and we nearly did not go to the open-air meeting, but then decided to go to Elizabeth Place; it had houses on three sides, with only one opening.
A young man came and sat down on the footpath, attracted by Ben Ewing’s singing. We showed him the way of salvation and on the Sunday night he came to the service and announced he had accepted the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Ernie became one of our teachers and is now an Anglican minister. I believe what contributed to Ernie’s conversion was that that night our open-air meeting was followed by a night of prayer at the hall. Several young people stopped for some hours and others till Saturday morning when it was time to go to a meeting that they conducted themselves at Bronte Beach.
We had many and varied experiences as we sought to help the needy and bring the gospel of Christ to them. The Mission directed those who came to Christ into the church of their choice, and because of that we had no service on the Sunday mornings. I well remember some young men going with me to Burton Street Baptist Church—at least two were new converts—and on the way home praying and praising God as we walked. Another time I took a new convert to the Lord’s Table at Burton Street and, as we sat in meditation, thinking of Calvary and all that our blessed Redeemer suffered for us, this dear man who had been redeemed from much let out such a loud sob it was heard all over the church—what a moving occasion! Another morning, hurrying to Burton, I saw I could not make it in time so, with my three children, slipped into the Salvation Army meeting. It was a visiting officer who said to his congregation, “Have freedom to express your Christian joy in your own way.” There was a dear old man who took out his handkerchief and began throwing it in the air and walking up and down the aisle, occasionally shouting, “Hallelujah!” It was a bright, happy service, at least the children thought so—they wanted to go to the Salvation Army every Sunday morning!
A big night at this branch was the Annual Meeting when over two hundred people came, people who had had many happy associations with Paddington Mission, many who had found Christ. Our local Member of Parliament, Mr M. O’Sullivan, MLA, never missed, and he always brought a word of real appreciation and encouragement.
It was while at Paddington that our lovely lass Mary, our eldest daughter of ten, was taken to be with the Lord. She was a lovely girl, and how we missed her, but I will leave my wife Mary to tell you that from a copy of a paper she gave at a young people’s meeting in another district:
I take this opportunity just to testify what Jesus means in a mother’s life. Having brought nine children into the world and being the grandmother of ten you will surely grant that I must know something of what I am talking about. My first little baby only lived three weeks, having been born prematurely. This was a big blow to me, but in this big sorrow the Lord Jesus was very real. Only a mother will know about those days, weeks, and months of waiting and glad anticipation, then disappointment and awful loss. Our third child was taken also, when she was a lovely lass of ten years. I went into Paddington Women’s Hospital to have my seventh child, leaving this very capable lovely girl assisting her father to look after the four others. Whilst in hospital complications set in and I was kept in longer than usual. Whilst there, Mary, who was a big strong girl, was suddenly taken ill. The doctor diagnosed it as meningitis and she was rushed to the Children’s Hospital. She was there three days when I was discharged from hospital.
I had just arrived home and was having a cup of tea with my husband and a dear friend from Melbourne when the doorbell rang sharply. The door was opened, I heard the boy say, “You are wanted at once at the hospital.” My husband then told me Mary was critically ill. He rushed off to the hospital just in time to see her pass home to be with Jesus. This was a big blow to us. Dad and I cried together night after night but through it all we proved the power of our wonderful Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a copy of a letter we sent to more than a hundred sympathizers who expressed their sympathy by wreath, letter, or card. “Our dear friends, thanking you for your sympathy we want you to know we have been so conscious of the sustaining power of God; truly his grace is sufficient for every need. As we watched our girlie grow we rejoiced because she was not only growing a big girl physically but mentally and above all spiritually. Having accepted Christ as her Savior at the age of six we saw the fruits of God’s Spirit in the young life and this is sufficient indication of the help she was in the Mission and in the home. In four days she was taken off with meningitis. What a loss to us, but our loss is heaven’s gain, and we do not grudge Mary to our dear Lord. She was a sweet little bud down here; she is now blooming in the garden above. She was able to play and sing the beautiful hymns of Zion; today she is singing in the heavenly choir. We were training her for service here but God said, ‘Your place is up here.’ We miss her so much but we have sweet peace in our hearts. We know that our Heavenly Father doeth all things well. ‘The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord.’ Thanking you for your expressions of sympathy and love at this time.”
I could go on telling you of the wonderful way God undertook through our whole lives. It was not always easy to make ends meet on a missionary’s salary—seven little lives need a lot of care and understanding, but I can say from a heart full of praise and thanksgiving: “God always undertook.” When we were struggling to pay off our home, more than once my husband went in to the solicitor to be greeted by, “John McKittrick, a friend of yours rang up to say take fifty off John McKittrick’s mortgage and charge it to me.” I think of the time we were on holidays at Katoomba and the Mission Accountant promised to send our salary. Somehow it was overlooked and there was the daily trip to the Katoomba Post Office, whilst the cupboard was becoming more and more bare, but it still came just in time. The wife of one of our missionaries could vouch for this because she was a girl in our district at the time and she was spending the holidays with us. She used to call it black Friday. God never once let us down. I would say to you dear young people that the secret of real living, not only for mothers, but also for all, is to take the Lord Jesus into your life and let him have control. He will never let you down. It is we who fail him.
God holds the key
Leave all things in the Father’s hands
He holds the key
He will unravel every knot
His promises will stand each test
His love bestows the very best
Oh, do not fear—pray, trust and rest
God holds the key.
When Bill Clack and I arrived at the hospital, our little girl Mary was nearly home. We gathered with the nurses round the cot and committed our dear one to our great heavenly Father. On the way down the ward Bill pulled out his New Testament and said, “John, the promise is here.” I said, “Bill, when Mary took sick I committed her to God’s keeping and his will be done.” God gave me the strength to stand beside a little white coffin in Kinsella’s parlors and tell my people we were proving all that we had told them of God’s power for every circumstance of life.
We were appointed to Balmain and again found it so hard to part with the dear workers and many friends.
Tents and Tennis: Balmain
What a challenge the district of Balmain presented! One of the highlights was the Tent Missions. I could see what a great opportunity to reach people this could be. All through the district there were single blocks of land not built on; with a tent we could get to the people’s very door, and then the unusual way of presenting the gospel would appeal to the people. I went to an auction of army gear and picked up a second-hand tent that would seat about two hundred people. The men of the district were a fine bunch; some of them were young in the faith but they got right behind the effort. Missions were held all through the district, people came into the tent and were gloriously saved. One of the missions went for continuous days, seven days at four different places. You might ask how we managed to do that. The workers came each Saturday morning early, dismantled the tent, carted it to the new site, and set it up again ready for the night meeting; it was a colossal task. I remember one dear brother saying to me, “My muscles are all sore!” No wonder, they all loved it!
Eventually the tent was blown down and ripped to pieces in a storm. We continued the mission in a church hall, but it was not the same. One man whose wife was a young Christian (converted one night in the missionary’s home) said to his grown-up family at the breakfast table, “We must do something about another tent, I’ll give one pound,” and that morning he got ten pounds. I used this in an appeal for a new tent. The money was given, so I went and bought another good second-hand tent. The mission was continued in the tent and the first man to be converted was this same man. He and his wife have borne a great witness for Christ through all the years. We built a mission hall by volunteer labor on one of the sites where we had the tent at this time; God used Birchgrove Branch over the years to the salvation of precious souls. We lived in Birchgrove and the first fruits of the Balmain ministry were our next-door neighbor. Mary and Mrs Emblem had morning tea together and little chats about eternal things. This dear lady is now a member of a church at the Lakes District; her two young people were converted too, and have set up Christian homes. A granddaughter is a missionary in Brazil.
Another great witnessing ministry was in the open-air. I had a box on a three-wheeled bike that carried a record player and an amplifier. I could pull into a street, play a good record, and then speak the message. Every Saturday morning I went to Woolworths’ busy corner in Rozelle, sometimes joined by some of our young people, and heralded out the glad message of God’s love in Jesus our wonderful Savior. On Tuesdays I went to Palmolive at lunch time, Levers on Wednesdays, the Dock on Thursdays, and spent Sunday nights after service on the main street outside the Post Office, at which meeting we were often joined by people from other churches and always a good number of our own people.
We had many different receptions but mostly were well received. Mr McDonald came to the Dock meeting one day and was moving around amongst the men when one man said, “I don’t believe in what you are telling us, but I believe in him.” I had had the privilege on one occasion of showing this man some practical Christianity.
One Sunday morning I was preaching at the Balmain Baptist Church when a big man, who had just enough drink to make him want to fight everybody, made his way, after a while, up to the pulpit to fight the preacher. He tripped on the little platform in front of the pulpit and, as he fell, he struck a big heavy oak flower stand and lay on the floor. As the deacons were taking him out he said, “He got me a beauty, didn’t he?” My own young people never forgot this incident; in fact, it was one of them who reminded me about it.
In the midst of this busy round of preaching activities I did not neglect visiting the people. I went through every part of the district from door to door more than once. I had the privilege of ministering to a dear spastic young man for over ten years. In the morning I would run over and get him out of bed, and wash and dress him. Barry was almost completely helpless, everything had to be done for him; may I pay tribute to a dear mother who just lived for him. Barry is a bright lovely Christian. In the dining room of the house he had a big, heavy oak music stand and on the stand a big Bible; he had a pencil with a rubber on the end and with the pencil in his mouth he turned the pages. He loved God’s word, and loved to be taken in his chair to services.
At our golden wedding celebration a young woman told of her poor crippled father who was visited sometimes twice a day by the missionary who helped her mother to get him out to the side of the bed and prop him up with pillows to give a little measure of ease, then helped get him back to bed at night. She told of how her mother got a poisoned leg, and how no one could be found to look after the family whilst she was in hospital. The missionary brought a single mattress from home and slept on the floor beside her father, and cared for him and the two little girls. This dear man used to cry with pain, as we would shift him to try to ease him. One day he said, “What have I done to deserve this?” I replied, “I cannot explain it, but one thing I do know, there will be no pain in heaven.” He is there now; he came to know Christ as his Savior.
I must mention a part of this ministry that I believe God blessed, and that was the sports program. We had teams in the Churches Soccer Association for men and boys, and some of our Christian young men used this to touch the lives of young people outside the church.
We built a tennis court just behind the mission hall. I went to see the owner of this block of ground to ask if we could rent it from her. She was a very gracious lady, and said we could have it on the one condition that if she sold we would immediately vacate. The block was used very often by people to dump rubbish, but our men and young people spent many hours clearing and preparing it. The many redback spiders were one of the hazards! I went to see a cartage contractor five doors up the street about ashes for the foundation. This man had the contract for taking the ashes from Lever Bros to the dump and he was happy to help. I said, “How much per load?” He said, “If you like you can give the carter something.” He was a fine old man—I coveted him for Christ. His backyard adjoined a portion of the tennis court ground and he sought to save us a lot of work by tipping loads of ashes and making a ramp so that the lorries could drive into the court and save us barrowing all over, but the plan had to be abandoned—the first load sank down in the ashes, and, worse still, the petrol poured out of the motor and it was rationed in those days! This dear old man just ran and got a container and tried to catch some of the spilling petrol. He set an example that many Christians could well follow.
The tennis court proved a great boon. On Saturdays and during the week, especially on Ladies’ Day, it was going from early morning. On Saturdays as many as thirty would be enjoying the fellowship and the fun. Dick Low would be trying to give everyone a game; we had to have four-game sets. One day I played a set with one of our young men, and as we both came off the court he said, “Many games like this and you will convert me to tennis”—Dan was a keen cricketer. I replied, “I know what I would like to convert you to.” Later he did come to our Lord Jesus and became an active worker in his church and the Christian Police Fellowship.
During the war days our mission halls became Civilian Aid Centers. They were prepared to help people if their homes were bombed and destroyed. We had about fifty palliasses stacked up and lots of emergency food stored in cupboards. We had trained personnel, people who had at least the St John Ambulance Certificate. We missionaries and Sisters had to sit for the examination. I was on holiday at the time of the final examination and on my way to the place of examination I was checking up on my paper on burns. Whilst waiting to start, there was a suggestion to have some prayer. Sister Bladon prayed, “Lord, you know how busy John McKittrick has been, help him.” The examiner took us in groups of three. One of the questions asked at our group was, “If you got a fishing hook in your arm, what would you do?” I was able to answer because one of my boys got a fishing hook in his arm whilst on holiday and I rushed with him to the doctor who cut it out. When I came back an old fisherman said, “What you should have done was to take the hook through and not pull it back.” The other question was on burns. I got my certificate although it was not necessary for me to have it; I had a good number of trained workers. When the siren went on the night the Japanese were in Sydney Harbour, we were all prepared for what might happen.
A real prayer ministry followed all this up and that is why God blessed. One Sunday School picnic a man said to our Sunday School Superintendent, “Where do you get all the children from?” He said, “Half an hour’s prayer before Sunday School.” We started the Lord’s Day with a prayer meeting at 7am. We also had a prayer meeting each Wednesday night and before all other meetings. We had people who knew how to pray. There was the young woman who prayed, “Lord, may the City Night Refuge be a rescue shop within a yard of hell,” and the dear old lady of eighty who would cry, “Lord save Beattie Street!” and “Lord, save my husband!” God answered her prayers—her husband was converted before he died and people were converted in Beattie Street.
We were buying our own home; an uncle of mine in the homeland had willed us about two hundred and fifty pounds. I went to the local agent and told him to let me know if he had anything that would suit our family. I was riding along one morning when I saw the “For Sale” board on a house. When I went in to the agent to see about it, he said it would be the very thing for us, but had not thought of it before. Mr Cowley, our treasurer, bid for it and terms were arranged for paying it off. It was an old two-story place. With the help of the family we painted inside and outside, and we were very happy in Terry Street.
Then came the challenge of the City Night Refuge, such an entirely different ministry! What an uprooting, and what a sad parting—after thirteen-and-a-half years we had become part of the district!
Before we leave this district may I be permitted to put in two cuttings from Balmain papers?
Workers come in all shapes and sizes. One of the smaller and least assuming varieties is young John McKittrick, Superintendent of the Sydney City Mission in Beattie Street. I’d hate to have to compete with him on a piecework job. Have you seen his spare-time job of the last few weeks, the new tennis court in Beattie Street! John McKittrick has put in some terrific toil there, all work so that those who help him to help others can play. That bike of his is a worker too: I’ve seen him transporting bags of cement on it, bags of sand, and even a wheelbarrow. “Mac” breaks every union rule ever made, works about an eighty-hour week, probably doesn’t know what he gets paid for it, definitely doesn’t care whether he is paid or not, is never without an intriguingly friendly grin on his face and gives as his motto, “Need not Creed.” Many are called but few are chosen and it strikes me young “Mac” was well chosen. If I had half his heart I’d be a better man.
More than four hundred residents packed the Balmain Town Hall last Saturday to pay their respects to missionary and Mrs John McKittrick on their Golden Wedding celebrations. The McKittricks spent thirteen years in Balmain following mission and charity work during the depression and war days. Although now living in Campbelltown this well-known couple are still remembered here for the help they were always prepared to give to those in need. A relative, Samuel McKittrick, who came with his wife from Nelson Bay Baptist Church for the Balmain celebrations, summed up the feelings of those at the Town Hall with the words: “Some ministers preach good sermons, John McKittrick went further than that—he lived them.” During his time in Balmain, John McKittrick was well known as a man on a bicycle with a ready smile and helping hand for everyone. Mary on the other hand always held open house for those who were hungry.
Mention should be made of the great ministry of sisters Bladon, Edgar, Mason, and McMillan—great servants of Christ.
A Home to the Homeless: The City Night Refuge
I was visiting Mr Cowley our Treasurer in hospital and he said to me, “Can’t you get me help for the Refuge?” Mr McDonald had asked me on two occasions to take the Refuge, but I said not while a certain gentleman was there. This man came from the old set-up of the Refuge before the Mission took over and used to take charge if there was no manager. To say the least, he did not know how to deal with the men. When Mr Cowley said this, it seemed as though God said, “You must!” I went home and said to my wife, “Come and have a look at the City Night Refuge.” When she had a look at the place and I told her how I felt God was challenging me to take over the place, she said she was willing to come. I went to our Superintendent and I said I was willing to go to the Refuge. I never even asked about salary. I found later it was sixteen pounds per week with food and accommodation; the whole of the staff’s gratuities, as they were called, was under fifty pounds per week; the highest-paid man was the cook who received 6 pounds. The men were happy to have this small money and to have a secure home and they did not get into trouble.
We were to live in the historic old cottage that was next door to and part of the Refuge. Mary went to a Balmain firm which we knew and had special long curtains made for the old lounge room. This was only one of the ways we sought to brighten up the old house; we paid these off by time payment out of our big salary. I will always remember the first day as I went to take over, kneeling down in the old room, literally trembling and committing it all into God’s hands.
What a task it was! R.G. Henry, one of our missionaries said, “John, you will have to shut it down and commence in a new place, it stinks.” And it did stink! The Mission hadn’t long taken it over, and the original committee could not get men to run it properly.
Every night at least one hundred men would line up in the street waiting to come in for the evening meal. The Police van would come down and take any man who had too much drink to the cells. This was the first thing we altered. There was an old building in the yard of the Refuge that was used for storing furniture; the furniture was removed elsewhere and I rang a plumber friend to ask when he could put on a new roof. He said straight away, and within a week the men were off the street. They came into this building that we called the Assembly Room at 3.30pm and played dominoes and table games or just talked. My own two youngest boys often played with them.
The second thing was the staff quarters. These men who were supposed to be keeping the place clean were sleeping in a dormitory with about an inch of fluff and cigarette butts on the floor. The first few weeks were hell and it came mainly from the staff. We decided to divide this dormitory up into little cubicles and every man had his own little room with his dressing table, etc. Our own handyman, a very fine old Irishman, did the alterations. This meant we got a better class of man coming to us for work.
There were two big dormitories, each with fifty-two beds. The beds in one were free. In the other two shillings and sixpence was charged per night. This meant that a man out of work could have a free bed till his dole came through, and then he paid for his bed. We had pensioners who came for periods, but they were not allowed to remain permanently.
On the free beds were canvas sheets which were not changed, but white sheets that were changed once a week were on the paid beds. I ordered the canvas sheets to be replaced by white sheets. The old man I mentioned before, who used to sometimes take charge when there was no manager, said, “You’ll ruin the place!” The work was very much in the red then, and the extra fifty-two sheets sent to laundry added quite a bit of extra expense. It was not long before we installed our own laundry unit with our own laundryman. Another thing contributing to our being in the red was having to buy quite a lot of the food required, but it was not long before we were in the position of having to buy very little. When we took over, a man with an old horse and cart brought in the food. This man was not too clean, yet he had been a sergeant in the army at one time. He went to the big bakers for food that had been left over from the day before. He would just take the trays of food and tip them into his cart. When he came to the Refuge a big sheet was spread out and the cart was tipped up, the best picked out and the rest went into the piggery bin. This was soon altered. A little motor van was purchased with “City Night Refuge Mission to Men” and our address on the sides, and the horse and cart were sold. The old man was given another job and the manager brought in the food. The food was carefully picked and handled, with the result that much less had to be paid for it, for with the better approach more people were ready to help.
One of the gifts picked up every weekday was sixty pound of meaty bones, the backbones of the ox. These were put on to boil, left overnight and stripped in the morning, and this formed the basis of the stew for the evening meal for over two hundred men. One holiday we had four hundred and fifty men lined up for a meal—one of the other places was shut in the holidays so they all came to us. How did we manage? We always had plenty of tinned soups. At the end of the winter season the big firms sent us in lines that had been left over and these were stored in readiness. We added plenty of soup to the already prepared stew, and it was quite a good meal with two slices of bread and a bun and, of course, the good cup of tea. I always told the cook to make a good cup of tea!
The other daily meal was breakfast: a plate of wholemeal porridge and two slices of bread, one with jam and the other margarine, and again the cup of tea. How did we seat such a crowd? There was seating for one hundred and twenty, and the first one hundred and twenty dinners were on the tables ready. After that the men picked up their dinners from the server, and by that time men were beginning to move out and others were able to take their place at the table. It was a colossal task with a staff of alcoholics and pensioners!
It was seldom a man was turned away without a meal, but it was different with beds—if a man had had too much drink he didn’t get a bed. Many a man I lifted bodily from the table for playing up—as he sat in his seat I put my arms round him, pinning his arms to his side, and dragged him out. After the evening meal they went to bed at 6.30pm. This was why the Refuge was commenced in the beginning, I believe, to keep these men off the streets. The bell went at 6.30am in the morning, one hundred and four men locked up for twelve hours and the only man to deal with any unruliness was the manager!
Near the beginning of the ministry I came back from receiving food to find the cook with his face bleeding and his shirt torn; he told how a man had come into the kitchen knocking them all about. I said, “Come and show me him.” When we got to him I said, “You cannot come here knocking the staff around, you must go out.” He said, “Get the police to put me out!” I said, “We don’t do that here,” and grabbed him by the arm, the cook taking the other side. As we were taking him out, he said, “I’ve left my case back in the Assembly Room.” I said, “Go and get it.” When he got back to the Assembly Room where all the men were, he said, “Come on, McKittrick, I’ll have a go at you!” I tried to dissuade him, but he insisted, so I just took off my coat and watch and handed them to my boy and demonstrated what I had learned as a young man in Glasgow. The next morning some of the men said, “I wish I could box like you.” It got around that I had been the champion of the Navy! I did not disillusion them, it came in very handy—fellows would want to fight, and then change their minds.
No alcohol was allowed on the premises; the penalty if caught was that the bottle was poured down the toilet. One day a man came in with a new bottle of wine; I took it from him and made to the place to empty it, but had not time to get there so I smashed it on the concrete floor. He threw a punch, but immediately was all apologies.
One night when a certain man asked for a bed, Mr Glasby, a retired police officer who was helping in an honorary capacity at the time, said, “We won’t give him a bed, he is a stand-over man.” What we did if we did not want a man to have a bed was to keep him waiting till all the others had gone off to bed. As this man saw all the others going up to bed he came to the desk saying, “Where is my bed?” We said, “We haven’t got a bed for you!” Immediately he threw a punch and when I jumped round the desk to deal with him in the same way, he piped right down—Mr Glasby roared with laughter! (By the way, Mr Glasby took over the management some time after we left and did a very fine job.) We had no difficulty in dealing with such men—God always helped us. Paddy, a wild Irishman, would come up to the desk punching one hand with the other, demonstrating his strength, but he didn’t frighten us.
These men, as I said, were closed in their dormitories for twelve hours, and as you could well imagine there were occasional incidents. I used to inspect the dormitories at different times in the night, sometimes at midnight, and sometimes I would find a man with a bottle at his side. I would pick it up and whisper, “See me in the morning”—he invariably lost his bed.
Occasionally there was a fight in the middle of the night; if I was asleep Mary heard them and wakened me to deal with it. One night a fellow picked me up like a baby and was carrying me to the open window. I said something and immediately he dropped me and said, “Oh, it’s you Mr Mac.” This man was in the DTs—they have extra strength in this condition. I booked him in the following night, but before bedtime he came to say he was going out—some of the men had ganged up against him because of the previous night. How these poor men have to suffer! Another time I was a long time fixing up a fight and when I was coming down the stairs I met my wife coming up the stairs in her dressing gown and a big iron bar in her hand. She thought something must have been happening to her husband.
What prevented a lot of unnecessary trouble of this kind was that a man was stationed at the door and watched that no one came in with a bottle. Sometimes they even fanned the man, that is, running hands down the pockets. This was a job we had big twenty-three stone John doing. One night he closed the door and came hurrying round to me “Mr Mac. there’s a big man going to kill me,” and sure enough when we got to the entrance door a big man rushed at John saying, “I’ll kill the big so and so; I have just done seven years for nearly killing a man, I’ll kill him.” We were able to fix everything up all right.
On another occasion John came in to me in real distress: one of the men had caught the pocket of his trousers and ripped it right down the side; he looked so funny I just stood and laughed. He said, “It’s all right for you to laugh, but it is the only pair I’ve got.” We were nearly always able to help with clothes, but John’s size was a bit of a problem. When he came on to the staff we got a suit made to measure for him, and he paid it off out of his big gratuity.
There was a man in charge of each dormitory and his job was to keep the dormitory and the beds clean, and to watch that there were no lice brought into the beds. The cook, with a helper, was in charge of the kitchen, and there were two outside cleaners and, when we installed our laundry, a laundryman. This unit cut expenses such a lot, as did a new combustion stove. At the time the laundry was built we had a beautiful new bathroom added.
Most of the staff took an interest in the place, but would never take part in dealing with unruliness—that was left to the manager. No doubt they were afraid of repercussions. One night a man rushed down from the bathroom and said, “Mr Mac, there’s a man up there and he is full of body lice.” I rushed up and, true enough, he was in a dreadful condition. This man had been in the night before so I concluded he must have left them in his bed, and it was so. The dormitory man probably had found the bed made and did not touch it. Everything had to be taken off the bed, and clean blankets and sheets put on, the man’s clothes burned, his body completely checked and clean clothes given. This was something we had to constantly watch. It was one of the many acts of kindness given in this place—a man who had been sleeping out and had become infected with body lice, would come and we would put him in a special bath, burn his clothes, and give him a clean rig-out. One old English gentleman had this operation. The next morning I said to him, “How do you feel now?” “Much better,” he said and added, “I don’t know how I get like that.” This dear man had two Christian sisters home in England who wrote to him regularly, he had very poor sight and would come to Mary to read the letters to him. When she came to the part where they would be pleading with him to come to Christ and receive him as Savior, he would say, “That’s enough,” and would not listen. I felt Arthur had sinned away his day of grace. God had ceased to speak to him. This can happen. God says, “My Spirit shall not always strive with people.”
You will no doubt be wondering what the men who came to us were like. Don’t think they were all just old deadbeats; there were men who had come from homes of culture and refinement. We had two men who were Etonians. Once we had a doctor. This man sat away by himself and we were in touch with his lovely sister who was broken-hearted about her brother. One night a man said, “Mr Mac. You are not talking to a donkey, you are talking to an officer of the Gurkhas!”—he had been an officer in the Indian army. This man had a special trade in printing and was much in demand, but would only last in a job till he got his first pay.
We had a young man of twenty seven years, the son of a titled man home in England. My heart bled for this young fellow, I tried so hard to help him. Mary had him in our home and in so many ways tried to show him we cared. We lost sight of him for a period, and then I got word that he was in one of the big psychiatric hospitals. I went to see him and the Superintendent said to me he was prepared to let him come out if I would look after him. I told him I would be happy to do that. Just before he came out he received one hundred pounds from his dad; he bought two new suits and all that went with it. When he came to the Refuge, I said to him, “Do not touch the grog, you cannot take even one drink.” He said, “I have learned my lesson, I won’t touch it.” That same afternoon I saw him outside one of the big hotels in Broadway, drunk. I didn’t see him again for three weeks, when he turned up at the Refuge filthy dirty and on the verge of the DTs. We took him in and doctored him up (Mary used to say I looked after these men more than I did her!), and when he was right again we let him go, again with a word not to touch alcohol. We did not see him for a period again, and then we heard he was back at the hospital. We thought this was the end for this young man, but he turned up at the Refuge some months later, looking the perfect gentleman. After greetings he said, “It will be different this time, I am engaged to a lovely lady.” We thought this might be the answer for him, but he turned up again and we could see he had been drinking. When we asked him about the love affair he said, “It’s all off.” I had occasion to speak to the lady on the phone and in a beautiful cultured voice she said, “John McKittrick, he is impossible—I caught him drinking metho.” The last we heard of him was that his mother had sent his fare for him to go home. We heard this young man learned to drink when an officer in the army and was stationed at a place where there was no duty on the grog.
Another man we tried to help was a brilliant fellow; he was a writer and a sculptor. In his own words he said before he was eight he could play the piano, and before he was twelve he had read as many books as any ordinary man. For over twelve months we had him booking in the men and in charge of clothing. What a disappointment when one night he came in the worse for drink; when he was on it he was truly on it! He was the only man I have known to drink metho without you being able to smell it on him; we never found out what he did. I tried to get him back on his feet again, but he was never the same. We found this out about alcoholics; they seemed to give up easily after a mistake. This man was never arrested for drunkenness. Even in the midst of a bender he would keep clean and dress fairly presentably, and invariably walked along carrying a folded newspaper. When recovering he suffered hell, perspiration would run down his face, and it was easy to see he was in agony. On one occasion taking him for a drive and a chat in the little mission van we went through Northbridge, and he said, “Mr Mac, I used to drive my own beautiful car through this district.”
Bill was a lovely fellow who would do anything for you. He helped me to paint the outside of the Refuge on one occasion, and what a job that was with our improvised trestles, etc. Bill was at Lidcombe Hospital for a period. He came back saying, “I am finished with the grog,” and told me how in his ward there was a man who had been an international footballer. This man had been in the same ward for about three months yet when he went to the bathroom and came back he did not know which was his bed. The doctor told Bill this man’s brain had gone soft through alcohol and added, “You are going the same way unless you give it away.” Poor old Bill, he used to carry around tablets that made the drinker violently ill if he took a drink, but as far as we know he did not come to the only One who could deliver him, our wonderful Savior.
How do men like that get to this awful position? We who know Christ as our own personal Savior know that it is only he who keeps us from this and other evils, because we are sinners by nature and we need to be born again.
Very often it has been some disappointment or other that has just left them discouraged and feeling they cannot face it all. One Sunday two men were standing away by themselves. I said, “Good afternoon, how are you?” “No good,” said one, “It is Sunday and we cannot get a drink.” I said, “Is that all you live for?” After further conversation one man said, “Do you see this man here? At one time he was one of the best-dressed men in Sydney.” I said, “What happened?” and he told this story. His friend was a qualified shopwalker, he had worked for many of the leading stores, but his wife was an alcoholic, and every place he worked at she came in and disgraced him. The last place he worked at was McDowells and he did not tell her where he was working, but one day he was coming down the stairs and bumped into her—that was the end, he gave it all away.
Very few people have any sympathy for these poor people. We had a man who took very ill, and we rang the doctor who came about midnight. I said, “Oh doctor, I could not let you into the dormitory at this time of the night, I would have fifty-two men on my hands all night.” He said, “Leave it to me.” We quietly went to the man’s bed by the light of a torch. The doctor quietly talked to the man, gave him an injection, and said he would be back in the morning. Whilst he was washing his hands the doctor said, “He’s been drinking. Has he been drinking metho?” I said, “I don’t think Marny drinks metho.” Then the doctor said, “You cannot blame these poor fellows.” I said, “Oh, doctor?” He said, “Well think about it, all they possess is the clothes they stand up in, no friends, depending on charity for a bed to sleep in.”
Poor fellows, I tried to show them love and concern, and they knew we cared. As they were coming down the stairs from the dormitory in the morning I would greet them with, “Good morning, that’s a nice clean shirt you have on this morning,” or something like that. Then I would stand beside the cook as he dished up the porridge to the ones who came in from outside and greet them too. I should mention here that men who had slept out would very often grab the cup of tea trembling and begin to drink as they walked to the table. That is why I said to the cook, “Always make a good cup of tea.”
The police were our friends, but they were not allowed to go through to check the men. If they wanted a man they came to the cottage and said whom they wanted and I went to the man and whispered, “You are wanted at the office,” and the poor fellow was not embarrassed in front of the others. One man told me he met fellows all over Australia who knew about our love and concern for these poor men. Some of them hiked all over Australia. You may think that we were only interested in giving men a bed and a feed but that is not so: often I called out to the men, “We are here not just to give you a feed and a bed, we are here to point you to Christ our wonderful Savior whom you need.” This was our main desire and work, that Christ might be exalted. We believe that our wonderful Savior is able to save such and make them new creatures. “If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
A service was held after tea on the Sunday night; different men and parties came to sing and speak. We sometimes had a Bible study during the week, and we were always available to talk with the men. “What results did you see?” you might ask—there were men who were brought to Christ and their lives changed by the power of Christ, but not many; perhaps this was because we had not time to pray as we should have. On deputation to the churches I used to say, “Pray for us, we have not time to pray as we should.” “This kind comes out only through prayer and fasting.”
Big John was an outstanding case of a man becoming a new creation through faith in Christ. John had a beautiful voice. Before his conversion he would go into a hotel and sing something, and before long the counter before him was filled with pots of drink as men asked him to sing; every night he would be thrown out drunk. One thing stands out in my mind: I was taking him with me to sing at a big men’s meeting down the coast. He sat next to me in the front of the van reading an Amplified New Testament, and every now and again he would say, “Listen to this Mr Mac!” He loved his Bible, a sure sign that a person has become a new creation in Christ.
Then there was Charlie, who married a very lovely nursing sister who had helped at the Refuge for a while, and who with his wife lived for Christ to the joy of members of his own family who had prayed for him for years.
Another was Michael, who married a fine lady and had two children. When giving his testimony he would say, “When God can save me he can save anyone.” He died later as the result of his past awful life. He is with his Lord.
This was my report, which appeared in the December issue of the Mission Herald, 1955:
“In a ministry of this nature, there are experiences which encourage and which disappoint. It is only by the power of God that human beings can be set free from the sins that enslave, and know the joy of victorious living.
One man, whom we had helped for a long time and of whose future we had eventually despaired, was in a service at a mission hall recently. He has not taken drink for twelve months and consequently he is no longer a vagrant. He has been received back by his lovely wife and they are rebuilding their home life. He is a man of gifts, an artist of outstanding merit and, when free from drink, can easily support his family.
A man in a dreadful state of drunkenness came while a service was being conducted. In the audience was a man who had been lifted from the depths through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This man escorted the enslaved man out and talked with him, telling him of his own experience of the saving power of Christ. He took a taxi, went to a chemist, and purchased a sleeping draught and then brought the man to the Refuge where he was given a bed. This is an incident worth remembering.
Amongst the things that sadden are the deaths that occur at intervals of men who will not accept God’s offer of salvation. Someone does not waken in the morning and arrangements have to be made for the disposal of the body, with the knowledge that another has gone out into the dark.
For some months the missionary and his helpers cared for a little man who had no legs. He was carried up and down stairs and looked after in all ways. The doctor had warned him that he was eating too little and drinking too much and prescribed medicine for him. He was found dead in his wheelchair in the street; five days previously the missionary had bathed and shaved him, giving him a change of clothing, and had taken him to Sydney Hospital. He died of pneumonia, a slave to his appetite.
The missionary was requested to attend at the morgue to identify a man who had been sleeping at the Refuge and who had been found in the Harbour. He had been drinking metho with a companion and had either fallen in or had thrown himself in; he was a clever motor mechanic and at one time owned his own garage and a service station. The unutterable sadness of those who lose all, and their souls in addition!”
In the August 1, 1956 issue of the Mission Herald this report appeared:
“In addition to the work of the Refuge there is an opportunity to go to the wharfies in the early morning for open-air meetings—five hundred men to preach to each week! What a privilege to bring to them the glad message! If prayer backed up this witness, great things could be accomplished. A man came to us last week and said he was a believer, mentioning the church where he worshipped. We have met only two Christians in the eighteen-month ministry on the wharves; pray for these two men and a backslider contacted, pray for a mighty work of God’s Holy Spirit amongst them.”
This article from June 1957:
“A glance at the figures shows that 132,960 free meals were provided (an increase over last year) and 39,420 beds were occupied. Some fifty beds each night are paid for (two shillings and sixpence each), the remainder are free. All sorts and conditions of men turn up for shelter—the uncouth and the refined, the dirty and the clean, the trickster and unfortunately some new Australians. The main reason is economic; they have not sufficient money to get accommodation elsewhere. The Refuge is not a permanent hostel, there is a limit on the nights allowed, but it is always full. Many who seek shelter are in a pitiable condition due mainly to the evils of the drink traffic to which they have fallen. The majority of the men are slowly but surely reaping the full benefits, victims to a degree that would seem beyond recovery. Sin pays its wages! Is there no hope for these men? Ask the missionary in charge and he with flashing eye and Bible in hand will answer that there is hope, and will tell of men who (in this past year) have found Christ and gone out to face the world as new creatures. Mary ably supports John McKittrick in this difficult sphere of service. Thanks are due to Mr R. W. Glasby and others who from time to time are able to help.”
Finally an article from May 1, 1957, in which a dear lady who loved the Mission and knew so much about it and its ministry each month had been writing articles about the members of the staff; these were called “spotlighting”:
“If it is true, as has been said, that the playing fields of Eton have had a decided effect on the conflicts of England then I venture to suggest that the football fields of Glasgow have provided the Sydney City Mission with a man who down through the years (since as a lad of ten chosen to represent the schools of Glasgow at football) has retained the zeal and fighting spirit which fostered his love for the game.
He was a boxer in his day, too, this gentle-spirited, inoffensive servant of all, whose gracious presence has brightened many a sick room; whose faith has infused hope to the hopeless and comfort to the dying. Incidentally he tells me that his experience in the ring is useful occasionally if one of the guests of the City Night Refuge needs a firm hand. But strong-arm tactics are not the usual method employed by missionary John McKittrick in this most heart-breaking ministry of his. I quote the advice that he gives always to young Christian workers as his own rule of life: “Work hard and pray much!”
Work hard? John McKittrick rises before five each morning; spends a hallowed time “in the secret place” and is at work soon after five, superintending the preparation of breakfast for his overnight guests. This of course, is the famous McKittrick wholemeal porridge with bread and jam. At 9.30am the men leave and the missionary’s day is spent replenishing stocks from the markets etc., and attending to the continual cleaning operations of the Refuge. At 3.30pm the men return again, waiting in the Assembly Room until their tea of stew and rolls is served before they retire at 6.30pm. One hundred and fifty have breakfast, two hundred and seventy are provided with tea, and one hundred and six beds are provided each night. Quite a family, you will agree.
Though religion is not handed out with the soup, John McKittrick assures me that each man is quietly spoken to about the Lord Jesus Christ and his power to lift the fallen, a Scripture booklet given to all. On Sunday evenings a gospel service is held in the dining room. I suggested that the work must be depressing and frustrating, and his reply was characteristic of the man: “Over and over again when I have talked to the men about salvation and find they are interested only in receiving a shirt, a razor, a meal, or a bed, I go to my room and fall on my knees to cry to God for the souls of these poor beaten men.” Oh yes, he works hard and prays much, practicing always what he preaches.
John McKittrick left Scotland in 1924 to see the world and to escape from religion that had surrounded him in his Christian home all through his life. “Religion was for sissies,” he argued, “not for pugilists and footballers!” Who can gauge the measure and power of a mother’s prayers which, “followed, followed after”? On the high seas he met the Master face to face, and was brought to his knees in his cabin, after locating the Bible that his mother had begged him to read, yet which he had packed away as “not needed on the voyage.” One has to be careful that these spotlight articles do not read as character references or funeral orations but I write now, most sincerely that I believe that in that hour of revelation and conversion, a twentieth-century saint was commissioned to move among his fellows, truly as a person “sent from God whose name was John.”
For a while John McKittrick worked as a brickmaker in Newcastle assisting in open-air evangelism at every opportunity. The attention of Rev. S. A. McDonald was drawn to this young man with a passion for souls of men and on the recommendation of Dr F. H. Rayward and Rev. A. Jolly, the Superintendent invited John McKittrick to accept appointment with the Sydney City Mission, which he did, as he says, in fear and trembling at the greatness of the task, yet thrilled to be called of God. That was twenty-four years ago. Since then he has served in Millers Point, Paddington, and Balmain with his jolly, self-sacrificing wife, who has counted it a joy to take second place in the heart of her husband, “that Christ may be all and in all.” I well remember in his hour of deepest sorrow, how John McKittrick went from the deathbed of his lovely daughter to comfort another broken-hearted father in the same ward who sorrowed without hope. The ward sister stood by with awe—confessing that she felt the presence of God.
On the occasion of his “farewell” from the Paddington district the Municipal Council sent a letter to the Mission Council expressing their appreciation of a splendid ministry.
The new system of radio call-up of wharf laborers has meant the termination of the open-air meetings that John McKittrick conducted summer and winter at 7am at the wharf-laborers’ pick-up center. If he has any spare time (which I doubt) he gives it to the work of the Poona and Indian Village Mission of which John McKittrick is the Chairman of the Sydney Council. Aware that the circumstances are dissimilar yet the sentiments the same, I borrow Shakespeare’s declaration to pay tribute to a revered missionary and friend:
His life was gentle and the elements
So mixed in him that nature might stand up
And say to all the world—
After five years in this taxing ministry we had to ask for a change. Just how taxing it was is known only by God and my dear partner (she got to the stage where she could not sleep at night thinking of these dear men). It was during this ministry that my lovely father took ill and had a cancer operation. The hospital authorities were prepared to put him in a home, but I said, “No, we will look after him.” He had a special room to himself and we looked after him. One day he said, “What a son!” I said, “What a father!” He was a mighty man of prayer and we felt the benefit at the Refuge.
It was during this period that one night I booked in an old man whom I could see was very ill, but whom I could not turn away. In the morning he and his bed were in a shocking condition, he had been sick every way. It was my job to clean him up; I could not ask men who were receiving such small money to do such a job. I rang Lidcombe Hospital, and was told they could not take him for several days. I had no hope of looking after the dear old chap, what could I do? I dressed the old man in clean clothes, gave him a cup of tea and a scone, and set him off up the street. It was not long till a man came in and said one of my inmates had fallen down in the street. I did nothing about it, something I found hard to do, something under ordinary circumstances I would not have done, but I was worn out. I knew someone would ring the Ambulance and he would be taken to Lidcombe Hospital, and this is what happened. We tried to follow up cases in hospital, jail, going to Lidcombe, Long Bay, Parramatta, and Maitland.
From Door to Door: Glebe
We went from the Refuge to the Glebe district, and the Mission’s best hall—it had wonderful facilities and some very fine workers, some of whom had found Christ there. I will never forget the Sunday morning out in the open-air witnessing, dear John a fine young man with me, when we went into his own street and he literally trembled as he told his neighbors what Christ meant to him. There was a good work done amongst the young people in Girls’ Brigade, Boys’ Brigade and Sunday School. We picked up children in our van. The tennis court was used to reach many. The men came on Saturdays at 7.30 till 9.30am, then the children, and in the afternoon the young people. I had a strange experience one Saturday afternoon: a dear old lady sent word to me that she had planned to go to the Registry Office in Balmain to be the second witness to her granddaughter’s wedding, but was too sick, could I fit in for her? I could not refuse and consented to go. It meant I had to go in my tennis rig-out to Balmain, but fortunately the Registrar knew me and understood I was trying to help. The bride and the bridesmaid were both pregnant; I found out later the young couple did very well together, although I never saw them again.
One Saturday a woman came and said a young lady had come from another State to board with her and she had no friends, could we help? Helen came and played tennis that afternoon, and at night went to a Special Mission in another district where she was converted. She became a Sunday School teacher with us, and later married the Superintendent of a Sunday School in another district and set up a lovely Christian home.
I have, too, a picture in my mind of one of our young men with his open Bible on the sideline, at soccer, helping another young person.
We saw several very fine conversions. A woman in her testimony told how, before she was converted, she used to be cranky and swearing at the children as she was getting them off to school. She would be so sorry and ashamed, and resolve to do better but the next day she was as bad as ever; but when Christ came in it all changed. This dear woman with another young convert went from door-to-door visiting with me.
A mother came to me about her daughter. She said when this girl was growing up her own father said to the girl, “If I had your face and figure I would not work,” and that’s where she was, a street girl. We prayed for her and one day the mother sent word that she had come home. I went to see her and had the joy of leading her home to Jesus. A few weeks later her brother came and said, “I want what my sister has.” I pointed him to Christ. This was one of the evidences that Christ had changed this young woman. She not only started coming to the gospel meetings and the prayer meetings, but she also wanted to become a Sunday School teacher as soon as she was converted.
Another woman came to Christ and what a change came into her life! She began to dress nicely and attend the meetings. Her doctor and many other people were amazed at the change in this dear woman, but she had a bad slip, when an old man friend came to see her (how Satan works!) and in a moment of weakness she took a drink. She ended up with this man in her home, and so far down that both of them could not get out to the out-door toilet; the place was in a terrible mess! My heart bled for her; oh the power of the evil one and the awful things the grog can make a person do! I didn’t just leave them to wallow in the mire. I went in, pulled the sheets off the bed and washed them, cleaned up the house, and under God got the dear one back to sanity, though she was never as bright as before. We found this with alcoholics: if they made a mistake it seemed to rob them of their joy in salvation. 1 John 3:9 says, “Whosoever is born of God does not commit [continue in] sin,” but we may make a mistake (not deliberately). Thank God in 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”—this was written to Christians.
During our Mission ministry we proved God in many wonderful ways in providing our needs. In the staff meeting one morning one of the missionaries said, “It is well-known that John McKittrick is a good touch!” I said I would like to reply to that, and related this story: “About five weeks after I came into the Mission, Mary, the new baby, and the other three children came to join me. Mr McDonald came to the station with his car to transport them to their new home. As we were walking up the platform together Mr McDonald put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Guard against becoming too hard in dealing with the people, rather be too soft than too hard,’ and I have adopted that throughout the ministry.”
I have never wanted for the wherewithal to help these needy people. God used strange means at times. When the local SP bookmaker at the Glebe Mission came in one day with a check for one hundred pounds, I rushed into Sister’s office saying, “What do I do?” I knew that our Superintendent did not accept monies from gambling sources and I was heartily behind him, but I wanted to reach this man for Christ and I could not snub him. I came back and said, “I will not use it for the preaching ministry, but will use it for relief work.” I pulled out my cashbook and showed him that in that very month I had given out nearly one hundred pounds. I tried to keep in touch with this man. I went to see him in another district where he had bought into a hotel. It is recorded of my Savior that he received publicans and sinners and changed them. Another man who looked after parking at the dogtrots sent regular donations. May my dear Lord forgive me if I did wrong in receiving this money.
The Final District: Newtown
Our next district was Newtown with its little narrow, drab streets and almost no backyards—what a challenge! The entrance to the Mission hall had a big iron front gate, just like a prison. My son-in-law and one or two others came one Saturday and pulled it out and transferred the wooden doors from the top of the stairs to the front—what a difference it made! The dear old Sunday School Superintendent said, “You’ll never keep the boys out of the hall,” but we never had any trouble that way. The old roof looked terrible and was leaking. I asked Rev. N. Reeve, our new Superintendent, for permission to paint it, but it was some time before he gave consent, as a man who had a lot to do with the Mission property said it was not safe. Eventually we got consent and, with a missionary friend home on furlough and a couple of teenage boys, we did a good job stopping the leaks with rags and black jack and painting it; we also painted the outside of the hall and sometime later, the inside. I was on the roof painting when a traveler at a house opposite called out, “It’s well seen you haven’t got a weak heart.” He didn’t know I had had a coronary whilst at Glebe!
We had clubs for boys and girls, and Friday was young people’s night. We commenced a coffee bar for these young people and our honorary superintendent footed the bill to have our kitchen fitted out with all the facilities for this venture—we supplied hamburgers, ice cream, and soft drinks. For the first few weeks we had over fifty attending each night, but we found girls going off with boys when parents thought they were at the Club. We made a rule that girls who came must not leave the hall till the finish without permission. The number fell quite a bit. The Sunday School grew considerably. We started picking up children in our big Morris van, and on Saturdays in the summer we took the children to Parsley Bay for swimming; in winter we had soccer. If they came to swimming they had to come to Sunday School. We had up to thirty sometimes in our van. One day we parked alongside a man and woman in a big latest-model car, and they stood amazed as our big family piled out. “How many more?” he kept saying. We picked up some children of an Aboriginal woman, but unfortunately not all her children came to the Sunday School—she was the mother of nineteen!
It was so difficult to reach these dear young people for Christ our Lord. Very often when they came to Christ they went home to parents who could not care less. A very lovely lad came to Christ and a few days later I was in the shop at the opposite corner of the Mission when his mother came in and began to relate in front of all the other people how her boy, Stephen, had come home on Sunday night and said, “Mum, I’ve become a Christian.” She said, “I thought this is just some other new fad, he will soon forget all about it, but this was not so, he reads his Bible every night and he is so different.” I said before all the people, “Mother, you need to come to Stephen’s Savior, he will change your whole household.” She did not come to Christ. Stephen later got away from the things of God and what distress and heartache that mother has had because of her family. I pray for them by name very often.
One teenage lad who was a bright Christian told how he had his quiet time with the maggots. He and his mother, brother, and sister lived in a little three-roomed cottage and he had to go to the toilet down the yard to have his prayer time. These young people were helped to know their Bibles and to grow in the Christian life.
Tuesday was Christian Endeavour time and they came for tea, a two-course hot meal that the missionary prepared, then their meeting. We had a lady from another church helping with this meeting. She loved the very natural way some of these young people talked to our heavenly Father in prayer. Some of these young people are still going on with the Lord.
Speaking of help, every Sunday afternoon several students from the Sydney Bible College came to help in the Sunday School. These young people stopped for tea and the evening service, often taking part. After tea we went round the district preaching in the open-air, and this was good for these young people in their preparation for service.
We did quite a lot of open-air work in this district. About 9.30am on Sunday I would pull into a back lane, set up the amplifier, and herald forth the glad tidings. In all the years we did this only one woman objected, and did she object!—she came out of her house screaming and flinging her arms about! I could not go back there again. After this witness I usually went to one of the other churches. We had no morning service at our Mission halls; we encouraged those who came to Christ to go to the church of their choice in the morning. Many of our people became members of other churches. The Mission’s job was to reach people who very often would not go to church. One day I said at the staff meeting, “Last night we had a typical mission congregation; we had a man with a bottle on the hip, and stinking of metho and bodily odors, we had a young woman (whom the local welfare officer described as ‘a working girl’) with two of her girl friends.”
One of the beautiful pictures which remain in my mind of this district is of a beautiful young lady worker standing sharing a hymnbook with one of these poor dirty old men—she was trying to show him Jesus cared.
We had a big relief program here helping people with food, clothing, furniture, and in other ways. One day on my way to visit, I met a dear Aboriginal woman on her way to see me—the landlord was going to put her furniture out on the street, could I help? I went and transported the furniture to a temporary place, and arranged for the family too. We had a good ministry here amongst the Indigenous Australians; always there were some in the congregation, some very fine people.
Two fathers in this district got into trouble; one was out of work and the two set off to try to find a job. One of them could not read or write; as children their father sent them out to steal when they should have been at school. Now they stole two TV sets from one of the big firms and were caught. We took the wives (who were respectable women who sent the children to Sunday School) to Maitland Jail to see their husbands. On the day of their trial we took them and some of the children to Taree for the trial. We went up one day and stopped overnight; the wives and children slept in our van and we slept in a friend’s place. The magistrate was a very understanding, kind man. I told what I knew about the men and the family, the wives were questioned, and these men were given a bond of two years. The detective in charge of the case came up and said to the men, “I will take a ticket in lottery with you anytime!”—in other words he was amazed that they had been freed on a bond. Prior to this big trial they had been tried for two other offences and fined fifty pounds; this had to be paid before they left the Court. I went to my friend and borrowed the money (they paid it back by installments) and they were free. We came home from Taree in our van, parents and children singing choruses all the way. One father made good, but the other broke his bond and went to prison—one of the many disappointments you get in a work like this.
We were five years in Newtown. It was from this district that we retired from the Mission after thirty-four-and-a-half very wonderful years. We never considered it any hardship to do the many duties involved, and we trust it was all to the glory of God.
A Further Mission: Castlefield
From Newtown we went to a little interdenominational work in Campbelltown. Mr Stan Reeve carried on this fine work. I met him at the Refuge one day when he came in to park his car. His first approach to us was typical of this dear man—“John, what is your most urgent need?” He very soon helped with the request for blankets, and his mother sent one hundred pounds for blankets on another occasion. I rushed out to the disposal shop and purchased fifty at two pounds each, and when I sent her the receipt I said, “The blankets are on the beds”—she was my friend and helper ever after.
I had been out to Castlefield to take a morning service occasionally. One day Stan said, “I would like it if some retired man could come to help and we could continue doing as we do now.” All offerings went to various Missions; from the Sunday School alone about $400 each year went to the Bible Society. This appealed to me, and when we retired from the Mission we went there.
We went up into the district of Sherwood Hills, which at that time was not touched by the church. We told the people we were not representing any particular denomination; if their children came to our Sunday School they could take them to their own church at any time. The result was we had children from all churches. We had over one hundred children on the roll and attending regularly. Mr Reeve built the school halls. They were used for Scouts too; a very fine troop was here—several boys gained the Queen Scout’s badge.
There was a morning service of worship. In the beginning it was held in a little chapel built by the first priest to come to the district, but later the service was continued in a lovely little modern church built by the Main Roads Department when the chapel had to be removed for the new highway. The chapel is preserved at the monastery further up the road.
Soccer became a big thing here, used to reach boys and parents for Christ our Lord. We tried to have prayer in the center of the field before each game and parents and often members of other teams appreciated this. One year we had ten teams in the churches competition. Mr Reeve made a paddock available as our soccer ground; it was great on Saturdays to see crowds of boys and parents enjoying the fun and fellowship.
After eleven years of happy fellowship and ministry with Stan, his dear wife Margaret and family, and many lovely friends, we were called to another ministry. Before finishing writing about this district and work, however, there is something I am hesitant about recording, but feel it may help some. We used our 1959 Kombi Van to bring in children to Sunday School and to take them to soccer, and Mr Reeve said our van would need to be replaced, so he put four thousand dollars in a special account for that purpose. When we were leaving, I said, “We did not need to use that money, it belongs to you,” but he would not hear of it, he said it was ours. I suggested we send it with the interest to the different missionary societies and he agreed heartily. We were prepared to go to Forster in our VW so we cleaned the van up, and put new curtains on the windows, but God had other plans—he knew the old VW would not stand up to it, and sent enough money, with the trade-in, to buy a good second-hand car!
Called to Another Ministry: Forster Baptist Church
I went to an interim ministry at Forster Baptist Church, and this too was a happy, fruitful ministry amongst young and old. I rode a pushbike through this beautiful district, visited my people, went from door to door with other workers, made good use of every contact by follow-up, and saw God working in lives. They were a great band of dear praying people, reaching out to the community in the name of Christ our Lord. A very special outreach was to the old people of the district. The church had an afternoon bi-monthly gathering when they went out in their cars and brought these old people to an afternoon of happy fellowship and concert, then sit-down afternoon tea, and a little message from the word of God. About one hundred people came, and these dear old people loved it.
A big factor in our leaving Forster after two years was that I had a back injury caused when an old man did not give way to his right and I slammed into his car on my pushbike.
On Sunday 28th February we had Rev. D. McKeough as our guest speaker, and he brought a great word from the Lord about family life appropriate to the dedication of Karyn Lynette Zimmerman. It was good to sit in the congregation with my dear Mary—little did I know it was the last time I would sit with her. On the way home in the car she said, “John, it is about time you gave up.” She added, “You are getting a bit trembly.” I said to her, “My dear, in twelve months time, God willing, I will give it serious thought.” She replied, “I will accept that.”
In the evening she dressed, ready to come with me, but took an angina turn and said she had better not go. Fortunately Grace, our daughter, was with her, for after I left she got worse. Grace called the ambulance and on the way to hospital the ambulance man gave her oxygen, but when she arrived at Wyong Hospital she passed home to be with the Lord Jesus.
At our evening service I preached on 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.” After speaking of our Lord’s riches and his poverty, I preached about our great riches in him, salvation from the past, in the present, and for the future. I mentioned how Paul speaks in Philippians about putting off the old body and going to be with Christ, which is far better. Little did I know that my beloved Mary was about to do this. When I arrived home I heard she was in hospital and with help from my dear grandson, Wayne, got to the hospital to be greeted by Grace saying, “Mum has gone home.”
We had fifty seven happy years together; we had our difficulties and problems, but God always undertook for us, praise his Holy Name. I will miss her so much; she was always by my side in all the service recorded here. At the Refuge especially, the poor men loved to come to our back door to talk to her. I can hear one dear man saying, “Mumsie, come and talk to me.” She loved these poor broken men, that was why she got to the place where she could not sleep at night thinking of them, and we had to leave and go back to a district. I thank God for his grace that has been so real at this time. I can say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” She is “absent from the body, present with the Lord.” What a great life it’s been with Christ our Lord and Savior!
Valediction: Home to Glory
John McKittrick’s only surviving brother, Samuel McKittrick, wrote the following words after John’s death.
And he “walked with God and he was not; for God took him.” “And so the time came for his departure,” as John Bunyan wrote about Greatheart, the guide and helper of the pilgrims. So it was for our “Greatheart.” But his time came with shocking suddenness. On Monday, 23 August 1982, he drove his car to conduct the funeral service of an old friend of his Balmain days, readily responding to a call for help and comfort. Having spent the night with his son Paul, he left for home next morning. There was no indication of any physical weakness, and he confessed to being quite well. That always-ready smile of his was his parting gesture. But in a few hours his earthly life ended, and he was “with Christ.” Reports indicate that he suffered a massive heart attack and he died at the wheel of his car. Mercifully, contact with a heavy vehicle and a roadside pole prevented any hurt or damage to anyone else.
So John McKittrick, servant of Jesus Christ, died “on active service,” as some of us near to him felt he would, and as it is certain he would have wished. For him there was no discharge, no retirement. The soldier of Christ died, sword in hand, still serving. He could say: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
The family and friends were soon informed, and the news spread widely. There were reports on radio and in the daily papers. A very wide circle of people mourned his “exodus.” The funeral took place on the following Monday in the Narara Valley Baptist Church, his last sphere of service. The building was filled to capacity and many listened outside. There were brother ministers, Baptist Union representatives, and people from every place in which he had served, and many others. In their places were his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. At his request, several times repeated, it was my privilege and heavy responsibility to conduct the service. The Minister of the Church, the Rev. Leigh Wedge, assisted me. His son John gave a family tribute. The members of the Boys’ Brigade formed a guard of honor. The cortege, of great length and with a police escort, moved to the beautiful Palmdale Cemetery. After a brief service of committal, he was buried beside his wife who had predeceased him by only six months.
In my tribute to my dearly loved, and greatly loving, brother John, I tried to cover in barest outline his outstanding service for others which he gave in the name of his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. He was born on 17 March 1903 in the city of Glasgow. That was St Patrick’s Day, a fitting day for a Scotsman to be born, for that great missionary was born not many miles from the same place. But for some of us, that day has for long been celebrated as St John’s Day. His story has already been told, but there are some things he will not have written. As a schoolboy he won distinction in soccer football, and was in line for selection to play for his country. Later he learned the pugilistic art. I remember my pride at seeing the medal he won as runner-up in the amateur welterweight championship competition of Glasgow. He pioneered the way for his family when he immigrated to Australia in 1924.
I can recall the sadness of farewell when he left his young wife and us. But I can recall, even more clearly, the joy when news came of his conversion that took place on the ship. I can remember the tears of joy as my parents, clasped in each other’s arms, rejoiced at the answer to their prayers. Soon John was engaged in service in churches and in the open-air, where he learned to preach. In 1933, I was the pastor of a church in Ballarat when my brother wrote to tell me of his call to serve in the Sydney City Mission. So began his outstanding life of service.
Golden words are needed for this final word of farewell. But such words are only in our hearts, in the hearts of hundreds of people all over the city and country who will love to think of him in years to come and to recall those wonderful incidents in which they knew him. But most of all, we shall draw inspiration from his life and ministry. He prayed that through the story of his life there might be those who will yet be led to Christ the Savior whom he preached with such glowing power.
He refused to acknowledge the coming of advancing years. He just lived and served on and on. He continually drew strength and inspiration, through his deep devotional life, from the source of life in Christ. The beautiful description of the Apostle Paul sums up his life. He was simply “a man in Christ.” Like his Master, he was completely and utterly selfless. Indeed we could say he was entirely unselfconscious. This was because of his great love for his Lord and his untiring “passion for souls.” From this source flowed his infinite capacity for caring, and never a call for help of any kind was unanswered.
Our brother Robert, also a missionary in the Sydney City Mission, was killed in a road accident in 1951. He, too, was in the service of others at the time. Now the brothers are reunited and we, who continue to serve, will remember them till our call comes to join them where there is no death.
So for our Greatheart, brother, companion, and true friend to us and to many, the “trumpets have sounded on the other side.” Farewell!
(Note: I first published John McKittrick’s autobiography in this book: Graham Hill (ed.). Servantship: Sixteen Servants on the Four Movements of Radical Servantship. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013.)
Dr Graham Hill is the Founding Director of The GlobalChurch Project – www.theglobalchurchproject.com. He’s the author of “GlobalChurch: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches” (IVP, 2016), and 3 other books.
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