Over more than 60 years of serving pastors and serving as a pastor himself, former Focus on the Family vice president H. B. London Jr. built up better spiritual supports for clergy and popularized the annual pastor appreciation month held each October.
London dedicated his final years in ministry to pastoring a church in a retirement community in Southern California, where he preached his final sermon, aptly titled, “Pastors Are People Too,” on October 7. He died last week at age 81.
“It seems ironically appropriate that H. B.’s homegoing takes place in October, as this is Clergy Appreciation Month—a movement which he tirelessly championed for many years,” said Focus on the Family president Jim Daly in a tribute.
During London’s two decades at Focus, he built up new ministries to reach church leaders and their families, “cultivating an unprecedented role as ‘pastor to pastors’ which he has tirelessly filled ever since, even amidst his recent health struggles,” Daly said, referencing London’s interview series with pastors.
The ministry began promoting Clergy Appreciation Month as a national observance in 1994, just a few years after the former Church of the Nazarene pastor joined Focus at the request of founder James Dobson, his cousin.
“I’ve never known anyone who worked harder than H. B., that was the indefatigable energy that he had because he loved his work and he loved pastors,” said Dobson in a statement reported by CBN. “H. B. wanted to do everything that he could to help them cope with the trials and struggles that were coming their way.”
As the vice president for church and clergy, a division he founded, London, a fourth-generation minister, pulled from 31 years of experience behind the pulpit to develop resources and support for pastors and their families.
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Source: Christianity Today