|Rev. Sir Alan's family details are available in my family files.
Rev. Sir Alan's family details are available in the Betts family files.
Alan Edgar Walker was born in 1911 in Annandale, NSW, the only son of Rev. Alfred and Violet (nee Lavis) Walker. At Fort Street High School in Sydney Alan he had reportedly been a poor scholar; but when studying Divinity at Leigh Theological College he shone, and he also graduated in Arts from the University of Sydney. (REF. 1)
In March 1935 he was ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Methodist Church of Australasia (now part of the Uniting Church in Australia) and received a placement at North Croydon Methodist Church. In 1938 he married Winifred Channon. Two of their sons and several members of their wider family have also been Ministers in the Methodist Church. (REF.2)
Alan was an evangelist with a strong social emphasis. He was a pacifist. He was appointed superintendent of Wesley Mission, then known as the Central Methodist Mission. In 1963, he founded the Lifeline telephone counselling service in Sydney, New South Wales, a service that has saved the lives of countless people, young and old alike. Alan was engaged by the Methodist Church to lead the Mission to the Nation, a three-year outreach programme that ran 1951-1953. Many young men who entered the Methodist Ministry in the 1950s pay tribute to the strong impact that Alan Walker's ministry had upon their lives. (REF.2)
Alan's ministry was not centred exclusively on the Methodist Church or on Australia, and became a well-known figure on the wider stage. In 148 he was an Australian delegate to the first World Council of Churches in Amsterdam, and the following year spent some months as an adviser to the Australian delegation at the United Nations. He spent most of 1957-8 in the USA, as a missioner with the Methodist Board of Evangelism in Nashville USA and as a visiting Professor at the Boston Theology School. On his return to Australia he was appointed as Superintendant of Sydney Central Methodist Mission, a role which he held for many years and which propelled him into the spotlight of Australian religion.
From 1978 to 1987 he was the Director of World Evangelism, and on 4 March 1989 he opened the Pacific College for Evangelism (now the Alan Walker College of Evangelism), aiming to equip young people from Pacific nations for ministry, and holding the position of Principal until his retirement from active ministry in 1995, though he remained his link with the College as a lecturer. (REF.4)
Alan was honoured through appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 1955 for service to the Waverley Methodist Mission and creation as Knight Bachelor in the New Year's Honours 1981 for 'services to religion'. In 1978, he was awarded the Institut de la Vie award of the French Academy of Science. In 1986, Alan was awarded the World Methodist Peace Award and, in 2001, the Centenary Medal for 'service to Australian society'. Sir Alan Walker was named, as one of 100 people in 1997, as an Australian Living Treasure. (REF.2)
At his memorial service held on 11 February 2003 at Wesley Mission, Sydney, Alan's long-time friend and colleague Harold Henderson reflected as follows in the Eulogy: Throughout these years we could reflect on his work as first religion editor of ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, the incredible seven-year run of I Challenge the Minister on television, Sydney’s Easter Mission, the creation and development of Fellowship House and later Wesley Centre, Teenage Cabaret, School for Seniors, the Singles Society, the Church of the Homeless, College for Christians, the creation and spread into more than 300 cities across Australia and overseas of the Life Line telephone counselling service, the Lyceum Platform, the development of Vision Valley, countless missions across the world, his three dozen books, the formation of the National Goals and Directions movement, and much, much more… Through all of this, his central focus was on preaching for personal commitment to Christ Sunday nights at Seven in his beloved Church-in-a-Theatre. (REF. 3)