Tribute to Christopher Jones, MBE
Christopher Jones was an outstanding man, who made an outstanding contribution. He was both pastor and prophet, who helped define what it means to be a Christian in agriculture in the 20th and 21st centuries. He was a man of both thought and action. He had huge vision and energy. But, above all, he did everything with those rare virtues of kindness and humility.
As coordinator of the Agricultural Christian Fellowship (FCN), he built up the organisation and strengthened its identity and purpose. As founder and architect of Farm Crisis Network (FCN) (now Farming Community Network), with its distinctive ‘walking with’ approach, he extended pastoral and practical care, in the name of Christ, to thousands in the farming community. Through the Agriculture and Theology Project (ATP), he thought, wrote, spoke, built connections and mobilised co-workers, to bring a prophetic voice and biblical perspective to global agriculture.
I was privileged to be part of the story of all three ventures. I served on the committee, and as Chairman, of ACF. I was involved in the founding of FCN and, later, served as its Chairman. And I was closely involved in ATP throughout its life. All this was down to Christopher and I owe him a personal debt of gratitude. He got me involved in things, made me feel useful, recognised and deployed my own gifts, helped shape my own thinking and introduced me to many people (many of whom remain friends). But none of this was to serve his own agenda. Rather, he sought to involve me and many others to serve the common good, to love our neighbour and to bring the love of Jesus and the word of the Lord to people in global agriculture, at all levels.
He is a shining example and a sign of hope in our time. He was a truly a ‘merciful man, whose righteousness has not been forgotten’.