Remembering John Chapman
Many at this time will wish to pay tribute to John Chapman, alias the unique and unforgettable ‘Chappo’. Allow me, as one such, to write very personally of a dear friend, a marvellously stimulating brother in Christ, a shrewd fellow worker and, of course, a superbly gifted evangelist and teacher. John knew his special calling, and, to his final days, was energetically gospelling and offering to all the possibility of a Fresh Start. This made his U.K. visits highly desired and valued.
Looking back, I recall another characteristic of Chappo – he was a great encourager of the brethren. I saw this in Australia at ministers’ meetings where John would always be present putting new heart and humour into everyone there. On one such occasion, when I was speaking, it was initially unsettling to have him lurking in the back row, making pungent and priceless comments sotto voce, causing a ripple of amusement to spread through the assembled company. With Chappo in attendance you had to be ready for anything, at any time!
As for his visits to this part of the world, when it was reported that Chapman was on the horizon, morale soared, and requests for his services poured in – this man was a tonic to have around. When in London Chappo often stayed with me. The day would begin with my calling him for breakfast, and delighting in the sound of his tread on the stairs, as he descended from his room on the top floor, humming, whistling, or otherwise making his happy noises, finally arriving, larger than life, full of cheerful talk, ready for the fray.
We commonly say of a person of note that we shall not see their like again. In John Chapman’s case I see this to be no less than the simple truth.. As for his many friends in Britain, we join with friends in Sydney in blessing the Lord, who has now taken John away to be with Christ in glory, for giving him to us for so long, and for such grand purposes of grace.