Allan Ross Wards, called Ross all his life, was born in Timaru in December 1941. His working life began as a psychologist in 1963, and he became a foundation member of the NZ Psychological Society, working in prisons and psychiatric hospitals for around 11 years. Ross found that to help people to wholeness, he had to be able to share Christ with them so went up to St John’s, Auckland completing his LTh in 1977. Ross was ordained deacon in 1977 and priest 1978 in St Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington.
Ross subsequently served his curacy at All Saints, Palmerston North until 1979; then to the Kapiti parish; then as Vicar of St John’s Wainuiomata from 1980 till 1988, years that saw the new St John’s built to his design. This was followed by St Luke’s, Wadestown, 1988 to 1994, and St Mary’s, Silverstream 1994 till 2000. Ross retired back to the Kapiti parish where he contributed to parish life as both a priest and organist.
Ross married Lynda over 51 years ago at St John’s Trentham. Her comment is they have been blessed to be soulmates, sharing the faith and ministry and latterly their role as priests. Ross cherished and was immensely proud of their two children, Christopher and Alice and grand-daughter Antonia. It was a huge loss to lose Christopher in a car accident at the age of 26, in 1999. Ross and Lynda have delighted in living together in Whitby with Alice and Antonia, for the last number of years; while remaining in the Kapiti parish church family.
Ross’s academic life began in law, education, music and psychology at Victoria and then his Masters in Psychology from Massey. Ross developed a love for the Celts and deep interest in their spirituality and missional living for Christ especially out of Iona and Holy Island, Lindisfarne. These and the Western Isles were the setting of his research for his D. Min out of Berkeley Graduate School of Theology, based at the San Francisco Theological Seminary at San Anselmo.
To Ross, music, particularly that of choir and organ, was closely aligned with worship; he held, with St Augustine the love of hymns as songs of praise that speak of God. Ross gave a life-time’s service to church music and was a life member of the Wellington Organist’s Association. This included designing pipe organs, helping transfer the organ out of the Old St Paul’s to the new cathedral and collecting an unsurpassed archive of information and photographs of churches and organs up and down the country. Expressing praise and worship through the arts involved making a number of coloured glass windows for hospital chapels including Hutt and Wanganui and churches including St John’s Wainuiomata, St Luke’s, Wadestown and St Paul’s, Paraparaumu.
Ross’ funeral was held at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Paraparaumu on Wednesday 12 June.
Well done good and faithful servant; may he rest in peace and rise in glory.