30 Jan

Tributes paid to Ethiopian mission pioneer Jim McClelland

Hebrews 11:8 says “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” 

Mirroring this scripture, just over 11 Years ago Jim McClelland felt called by God to go to Ethiopia. Not knowing anyone in the country, Jim phoned round local organisations to see if they would accept him to help work amongst local children. A crumpled up piece of paper sitting on a secretary’s desk with the area code of the Debre Zeit, Ethiopia led him directly to servant of God named Bezabih who was also looking direction from the Lord for his own ministry.  This divine appointment was to explode into the great missionary work that is now established in the area, of a scale that neither of these men could have first imagined.

From 2003 until the Lord called him home on 23 January 2015 Jim spent his days working tirelessly on behalf of the children of Ethiopia.   Jim travelled to Ethiopia several times each year while his health permitted to oversee the construction work that was taking place at a rapid pace. Today there is a 2000 seat church, also a feeding programme, a clinic, a school and college, teaching children up to 18 years of age. The college also serves the adult community in the local area.

Over his last few years Jim fought the complications associated with diabetes, spending much of his time in hospital. Despite doctors advice, Jim would leave the hospital, signing himself out in order to be with the children he loved. Many tributes were paid during his thanksgiving service yesterday and it was very evident by the hundreds of people who attended the service how much Jim was loved and respected wherever he went.

Jesus words “Well done, good and faithful servant,” surely must apply to the life of Jim McClelland – because he was so good to those little children and faithful to the Lord he loved and served.

On behalf of the Pastors, staff and all the congregation of the Tabernacle we would like once again to express our deepest sympathy to his wife Eleanor, and all the family.