Obituary: Rev Christopher Purefoy Tims (1934 – 2017)

Obituary: Rev Christopher Purefoy Tims (1934 – 2017)

Chris TimsChris was born in England but soon moved to Burma where his father was in the Indian Army.  Returning to England before the Second World War, Chris left school at the age of fifteen, travelling to South Africa and then to Southern Rhodesia where he worked on a tobacco farm for four years. In 1963, he arrived in New Zealand to a position in the Child Welfare Department in the Boys’ Home in Christchurch. It was here that he met Sue, her family having recently immigrated from Southern Rhodesia.

Chris moved to Hamilton where he and Sue were married and where their son, David, was born. Feeling a call to the ministry, Chris was accepted for ordination training and the young family then moved to St John’s College Auckland.  During this time, their second son, Andrew; was born. In 1971 Chris was deaconed and ordained priest in 1972.

Chris served as curate at Cambridge for two years before going to Taumarunui – with its fourteen places of worship.  One anecdote that Chris recalls is that “the Bishop accused me of working him too hard. ‘You are a slave driver,’ he said.”  At this point, Chris became very involved in the then-newly developing charismatic movement, and this influence was to guide and direct his entire ministry.

In 1973 Chris and his young family moved under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society to Africa, serving in Tanzania for three years.  This African experience was of great significance, not only for Chris and the family but for the developing church.

After three years in Africa, Chris returned to New Zealand to a position as Vicar of Castlecliffe, Whanganui, where he served for six years.  In 1985 Chris was asked to be Vicar of Tawa where he remained until 1994.  During this time Chris continued working as industrial chaplain to various companies, a position he also held during his time in Whanganui.  While at Tawa, Chris also became very involved in the Cursillo Movement where his influence was noticeable.

In 1994 Chris moved from Tawa to the parish of Manaia – Opunaki where he stayed for two years before moving to a position as assistant priest in the parish of Waikanae, where he and Sue settled for a further two years of active parish ministry before retiring in their Waikanae home.  After his retirement, Chris also became involved in Habitat for Humanity, taking on the position of chair for some years. “After six years my body said ‘give it up.'”

It is worthy of note that during the 1980s, Chris became an advocate and indeed the instigator for the Christian Advance Ministries movement in New Zealand.  He took on a leadership role within the movement and was director for a time.

Since his retirement from official parish duties, Chris has maintained, until only a few days prior to his death on the 17th of February, an active participation in the priestly activities of the Waikanae Parish. He continued to take services at St Michael’s and St Luke’s and has lead a Bible study  and house group as well as continuing to provide wise counsel to parishioners and clergy alike.

Chris Tims has been for so many a staunch and faithful servant of a God whom he has revealed to so many and in such various circumstances. He will be missed but his influence carries on.