Professor Brian Stanley remembers Dr T. Jack Thompson (1943–2017), former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World
It is with great sadness that the School announces the death on 10 August 2017 of Dr T. Jack Thompson. Jack came to New College as Lecturer in Mission Studies in 1993 from the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham. He remained on the staff until December 2008, becoming Senior Lecturer in African Christianity. He served as Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World (now the Centre for the Study of World Christianity) from 2005 to 2008, and fulfilled a number of key roles in the School, including that of Director of Postgraduate Studies. He was a devoted supervisor of many PhD students in world Christianity.
In the world of scholarship Jack will be remembered for a series of important books, notably on Donald Fraser, the pioneering Scottish missionary to Malawi; Xhosa missionaries in Malawi; and missionary photography in Africa. He remained research active in his retirement; one of his last publications, ‘Religion and Mythology in the Chilembwe Rising of 1915 in Nyasaland and the Easter Rising of 1916 in Ireland: Preparing for the End Times?’, was published in Studies in World Christianity, 23:1 (April 2017). Jack had a lifelong love of Malawi, where he first went as a missionary in 1970. He played a leading role in the Scotland-Malawi Partnership that has been so influential in sustaining the historic links between Scotland and Malawi, and in recent times served for a year as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Livingstonia.
Jack was not simply an accomplished historian and dedicated servant of the School, but also a fine Christian man of great loyalty with a delightful Irish sense of humour. We shall all miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his widow, Phyllis, their two children, Mark and Jenny, and his grandchildren.