Tributes pour in for "giant of the faith" Joel Edwards - Rest in eternal peace


“A giant of the faith,” is how one person has described Joel Edwards following his passing on Wednesday morning. It is one of the many tributes that have been dedicated to the much-loved man of faith.

Deeply respected by his community, Joel Edwards migrated from Jamaica at the age of eight. He worked as a probation officer for ten years, and Doreen Morrisson, who worked with him during this period, remembers Edwards fondly.

I have fond memories of himself & I being two of only a handful of probation officers in London back in the day. We both embarked on service through ministry. He was a shining light for his generation.

Doreen Morrison

Edwards is best known for his work in the ministry. He served as a senior pastor at Mile End New Testament Church of God and joined the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) before heading the UK Evangelical Alliance, becoming the Evangelical Alliance’s first black Pentecostal general director. He would occupy the role from 1997 to 2009.

Reverand Edward's 'final goodbye' 

His family confirmed his passing via a letter Rev. Edwards had written.

“Dear friends,” he started.

“This is to say a final goodbye. First, my incredible thanks for your prayers, love and holding on with me to that fingernail miracle.”

“Words cannot express the depth, breadth and height of my gratitude, but I have gone home.

“My earnest prayer is that your faith and tenacity on my behalf will not be considered a pointless religious exercise, but that it will have strengthened your faith in a God who is marvellous, mysterious and majestic in all that He does: The Faithful One.

“I commend my family to you. I know you will watch over them in the months and years ahead.

“And I commend you to God and to the word of His grace that is able to build us up and give us an inheritance among those that are being saved.

“I wait to welcome you…”

Tributes abound in honour of Joel Edwards

Those who knew him well have reacted to the news with sadness but also pride for having known the reverend.

Chine McDonald said she would miss the encouragement, wisdom and kindness of a man she described as “a giant of the faith”. The Archbishops of Canterbury (Justin Welby) and York (Stephen Cottrell), expressed their deep sadness at the loss of a “dear friend”.

Edwards was a man who by many accounts was committed to racial justice and served as a commissioner on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) alongside OBV CEO Lord Woolley. Upon hearing the news, he expressed his deep sadness at the loss of the ministry leader, racial and social justice campaigner but above all a man he considered his good friend.

He remarked that many lives had been bettered for having known Rev. Edwards. It is an enduring tribute to a man whose loss has been felt dearly. An outstanding leader, colleague, mentor and friend to many.

Rest in eternal peace, Joel Edwards.

Mayowa Ayodele