The ecumenical community shares the sadness of so many at the death of Rev Dr Joel Edwards CBE, who passed away on 30 June 2021, aged 70.
Joel will be remembered as an outstanding Director of the Evangelical Alliance for 11 years (1997-2008) – the first black Pentecostal leader in that role – and as the International Director of Micah Challenge. The wider Christian community will also know him as a clear communicator of the Christian faith through his BBC Thought for the Day broadcasts, and his role in enabling the Evangelical Alliance to be at the heart of the Christian response to public policy.
Joel was always a friend to the wider community of churches in England, while holding firm to his Evangelical and Pentecostal convictions.
In June 2018, Joel preached at the national Spirit of Windrush: A Service of Thanksgiving, held in Westminster Abbey and organised by Churches Together in England. And last year (2020), Joel joined us as the keynote speaker at our first online mission conference.
CTE’s General Secretary, Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, said in tribute, “Joel Edwards was one of the most influential Christians in the UK and the most influential black Christian of his generation – a friend to the wider ecumenical movement while remaining committed to his Pentecostal and Evangelical tradition. His wisdom, faith and vision will be missed, and his legacy enduring. In his final message all these qualities were shining through, as he concluded, ‘I wait to welcome you…’: I can imagine Joel on the welcome team at heaven’s gate. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”
Joel was a probation officer before becoming a New Testament Church of God pastor in the East End of London, and then General Secretary of the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance. He later brought his leadership experience to the wider role of General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, and with it his commitment to the transformation of society, both in the United Kingdom and globally.
Our prayers are with his many friends and colleagues, and most of all with his family.
Tributes to Rev Dr Joel Edwards
Christians and churches from across many traditions have shared their tributes to Joel, with a selection shared in the images below.
These include CTE President the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose tribute, shared alongside the Archbishop of York, began: “We are deeply saddened at the death of our dear friend and brother Joel. He worked tirelessly for many years with churches of all denominations to find common purpose, seek unity and encourage us all to try and learn to disagree well.”
CTE’s Pentecostal President Pastor Agu Irukwu said in his tribute: “One of our finest, Rev Joel Edwards, has gone to be with the Lord. A real gentleman, true soldier of the cross, a genuine friend and brother. Joel, we will all miss you. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time