Who’s Who ‘W’

Watson David, Canon Church leader, Evangelist, Author 1933-1984 Educated at Wellington College (1946-51) and St John’s Cambridge where he became a Christian.  Having trained for Anglican ministry at Ridley Cambridge he served two curacies at St Mark’s Gillingham with John Collins, and with Mark Ruston at the Round Church Cambridge. In 1965 David now married to Anne went to St Cuthbert’s York having had a fresh experience of the Holy Spirit. Appointed as a curate in a neighbouring parish, David was given the evangelistic task or reviving St Cuthbert’s which was few in number and produced £2 a week in total giving.  By now taking many University missions each year his succinct and evangelistic preaching, supported by prayer and hard work, soon proved fruitful both in York and beyond. By 1973 a larger church was needed in York and the main services moved to St Michael-le-Belfry opposite the Minster. David now conducted city wide evangelistic missions using Riding Lights Theatre Group pioneered by Paul Burbridge both in the UK and overseas. Dance and Worship songs added joy and zest to his Celebrations.  David laid special emphasis on reconciliation – particularly in Northern Ireland- the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, church unity, shared leadership, simplicity of lifestyle and evangelistic preaching. He wrote many books including I believe in Evangelism and I believe in the Church. He died from cancer aged 51, having written a testimony to Gods care entitled “The Lord is my Shepherd”.      

Wesley, Charles Hymnwriter 1707-1788 18th child of Samuel and Suzannah Wesley. Educated Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He became an active member of the Holy Club, Oxford. After ordination in 1735 he accompanied his brother John to Georgia also experienced conversion through the Moravians in May 21 1738. Like his brother he took part in an itinerant preaching ministry. He eventually settled at the City Road Church in London, He wrote over 5,500 Hymns of which the best loved are Love Divine All Loves Excelling, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending, And Can it Be, Jesu, Lover of My Soul. A more balanced character than John, he remained part of the Church of England.  

 Wesley John, Founder of the Methodist Movement 1703-91, the 15th child of Samuel and Suzannah Wesley. Educated at Charterhouse School and Christ Church Oxford. He was ordained and elected to a fellowship at Lincoln College in 1726. At Oxford he founded the Holy Club known as ‘the Methodists’. Members were devout, self-disciplined, earnest and studious.  He and his brother Charles went to the colony Georgia, but his ministry lacked maturity or inner understanding. On return to England he was befriended by the Moravian pastor Peter Mohler. And on May 24 1738 while listening to a reading of Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans “his heart was strangely warmed “. Subsequently he gave himself to preaching in churches and the fields this gospel of grace with many attendant signs of revival. From 1742 Wesley’s ministry began to cover the British Isles, including many visits to Scotland and Ireland. He travelled on horseback eight thousand miles a year/ From 1744 he began conferences of lay preachers. By the time of his death the Methodist Connexion had 5,300 Mission Stations, and 198 lay preachers with 71,668 members. Wesley did ordain one preacher, Dr Thomas Coke to a congregation in New York but he hoped that Methodism would remain a part of the Church of England. A man of extraordinary energy, perseverance, conviction, ability as a preacher and organiser- as well as of wide intellectual interests. He was the central figure of Mission and Evangelism in the British Isles in the 18th Century. 

Whitfield George Evangelist 1714-1770, Evangelist.  Educated Pembroke College, ordained by Bishop of Gloucester 1736. He followed the Wesleys to Georgia where he founded an orphanage.  He returned to England and began open air preaching to vast crowds with great effect. Many came to faith. Never an Associate of Wesley’s, he was more Calvinist in outlook. He was supported by Selina Countess of Huntingdon. His impact as a preacher: his voice, dramatic delivery, urgency and effect was second t none. He went seven times to America where he was much admired by Benjamin Franklin and died at Newburyport Massachusetts  

William Wilberforce MP Abolitionist and Philanthropist, 1759-1833. A native of Hull, he was educated at St John’s College Cambridge. In 1780 became MP for Hull, aged 21. A close friend from Cambridge of the Prime Minister William Pitt. He was a Tory supporter.   He dates his conversion from a continental journey with Isaac Milner in 1784/5. In 1787 he met Thomas Clarkson, and the cause of the Abolition of the Save Trade. The parliamentary battle for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was protracted, exhausting and required all his oratorical skill, his careful argument of the case and support in the country. It was eventually passed with deepest emotion in 1807, but after the death of his close friend the Prime Minister William Pitt who had given his support. Wilberforce wrote about the reformation of manners, was a founder of the CMS and a member of the Clapham Sect. Two of his sons Robert and Samuel became clergy: Robert a Roman Catholic and Sam the Bishop of Oxford, then Winchester.               

Wilfrid St 634-709, Bishop of York   forceful and contentious church leader who espoused the Roman cause at the Synod of Whitby successfully. Fell out with two Archbishops Theodore and Brihtwold, and twice had to be re-instated by the Pope to his see of York.  A strong evangelist and advocate of Roman ways, Liturgy and authority but at variance with the humble spirit of Celtic mission embodied by Aidan and St Chad. Feast Day October 12   

William of Ockam c1285 – 1347 Philosopher and Theologian A Franciscan   taught at Oxford as an ‘inceptor’. Denounced bythe Chancellor, John Lutterell to the pope now at Avignon in 1323. Examined at Avignon by a commission, 52 of his propositions declared heretical.  Occam declared Pope John XXII heretical 1328. Occam went to Bavaria in 1328. Occam was a Phiosopher of the Austinian-Tradition kind. Developed use of logic, see Occam’s Razor reduction to first principles. Defined God’s power.  Against Aquinas synthesis of Philosophy and Theology. Nominalist in the sense that universals do not exist except in the human mind.  Practitioner of the Via Moderna. Advocate of the Conciliar form of govt. and scientific approach to reality.

Williams Rowan, Baron Williams of Oystermouth Archbishop of Canterbury, Theologian, Bishop and Poet. Educated at Dynevor School Swansea, Christ’s College Cambridge where he graduated with a starred First in Theology and trained for ordination at Muirfield. Yorkshire. He was ordained in 1977. In 1984 he was appointed Dean of Clare College Cambridge and then Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in 1986; DD in Theology 1989 and Fellow of the Royal Academy in 1990.  In 1991 he was elected Bishop of Monmouth and in 2003 was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, in which post he remained ten years and during which time in faced many substantial issues. Although having acknowledged the validity of gay love in an earlier lecture, the Body’s grace in 1989, he was forced into requesting the resignation of Jeffrey John soon after his appointment as Bishop of Reading in 2003. He faced great tensions in the Anglican Communion following the consecration of the gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire and sought a way forward. He opposed the Iraq war of 2003, and possible military intervention in Syria. He stirred a hornet’s nest in 2008 in considering whether parts of Sharia Law should be incorporated into English Law. Williams has written extensively on the Church Fathers, Orthodox Spirituality, philosophy and the nature of our humanity. Appointed Master of Magdalene College on his retirement in 2013, he continues active in public debate, theological discourse and publishing.         

William of Wykeham Bishop of Winchester 1324-1404 Administrator Keeper of Privy Seal to Edward III Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor 1367. Left Office due to disaffection with Hundred Years War and costs. A reformer in the Diocese, and of religious houses. Founder of Winchester College and New College Oxford.

Wolsey, Thomas, Cardinal, Archbishop of York, Statesman (c1474-1530). Thelast great ecclesiastical statesmen in England.  Navigated the King’s policy in the early years of Henry VIII reign. Failed to obtain the annulment of the King’s marriage to Catherine, consequently fell from favour.  Founded Christ Church, Oxford. “Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my King, he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies” William Shakespeare Henry VIII.

Wren, Sir Christopher Architect, Astronomer and Mathematician (1632-1723). His father was the Dean of Windsor and Uncle Bishop of Ely. Educated at Westminster School and Wadham College, Oxford. Elected Fellow of All Souls and Professor of Astronomy a Gresham College and a Member of the Royal Society. He showed early brilliance in physics astronomy, surveying, optics and mathematics. He became professor of Astronomy at Oxford in 1661 and the King’s Surveyor. But it was the great fire of London that afforded him his great opportunity of rebuilding St Pauls Cathedral and 52 churches. In addition, he designed the Wren Library at Trinity College Cambridge, the Sheldonian Building at Oxford, the William and Mary addition to Hampton Court and Pembroke College Cambridge Chapel. Inclined to the Caroline Divines and formal liturgy, he followed his father in his own spirituality.       

Wright N.T. Theologian, Bishop of Durham 1948– Educated Sedbergh School, Exeter College, Oxford University Ist Class Hons in Classics, Philosophy and History. Ordained 1975 DD Oxon. DPhil Oxon 1981.  Fellow at Merton, Prof. MacGill Uni. Ca. then Worcester College Oxon 1986-1993.  Dean of Lichfield 1993-1999 Bishop of Durham 2003-2010. Prof NT and Early Christianity St Andrews 2010-. Prolific author in two spheres: academic NT theology and more popular works. His most important works are the four volumes on Christian Origins and the Question of God 1992-2003 and including the four parts of the fourth volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (2013). Together they make a breath-taking sweep of explaining the Jesus story as fulfilment of the Abrahamic promise of God and in the context of the time.  For very many this work has given renewed confidence in message of Scripture.  Of the many other books of the more popular kind, perhaps the most important are Surprised by Hope (2007), How God became King (2012) and the For Everyone series of accessible Biblical commentaries. Wright’s work could be summed up as proposing that we should see what the Bible actually says rather than what we think it  says.             Wycliffe John Theologian and Reformer c1330 –84, Fellow of Merton, Masterof Balliol. Then Rector of Fillingham (1361-8), Ludgershall (1368-84) and Lutterworth (1374-84). In the service of the John of Gaunt on diplomatic missions. He objected to the speculation of the schools at Oxford and the division of natural and supernatural knowledge. Like Grosseteste, he believed that everything found its true source and purpose in God. See Summa de Ente (c 1365-72). He objected to the idea of the church having temporal power or holdings. The church derived authority from spiritual teaching. He denied in DeApostasia that the religious life had any foundation in scripture. He attacked the doctrine of Transubstantiation in De Eucharistia. He believed in the power of preaching. He was condemned at the ‘Earthquake Synod’ in 1382. He helped translate the Bible into English. He was an early Reformer and influenced John Huss.