Do you recognize this man? Those of you in South Wales will certainly recognize him, but few others will. Yet his passionate work for God over many, many decades will bear much fruit.
Pastor Owen Dando died a few hours ago. In this Internet age, I heard about his death through a friend on Facebook. In a lovely tribute on his Facebook page, it was his grandson, Sam, who described him as “a Mighty Man of God” – a phrase that I have used in my title.
Pastor Owen Dando was for many years the senior pastor at the Bridgend Apostolic Church (note that the Apostolic Church UK is a Trinitarian Pentecostal church). I got to know him when I joined the church – now renamed as Brackla Tabernacle, Bridgend, when his son, David, was one of the team of pastors. I was going through a devastating time of my life. Pastor Owen, though retired, still took it on himself to pastor me in the most effective ways possible. He was always encouraging and helpful. As a former member of the leadership team of the denomination, it was partly his influence that led to the denomination (the toughest in the UK on the subject) to declare that I was blameless in the dissolution of my first marriage.
When I was writing my first book, which I knew I was going to self-publish, I also knew that I needed someone substantial to check what I was writing. Pastor Owen graciously did this, and did not spare me when he believed that I had written anything theologically dubious or unclear! When a major publishing company agreed to take on the book, and republish it under the title The Six Days of Genesis, there were hardly any minor and no major changes to make – a testimony to Pastor Owen's thorough work. I was thrilled when he graciously agreed to write the foreword for the book, and that foreword can still be read in the current edition.
I owe Pastor Owen a great deal. He was, for me, a pastor, theologian, mentor, example, elder brother and father figure. I would not have been able to return to ministry without his love and counsel. I owe him so much and am so grateful for knowing him in his latter years.
If anyone would ask me “will you see Pastor Owen in Heaven?” my answer might be like that of Whitfield referring to Wesley. I might not see Pastor Owen in Heaven – because I will be right at the back of the crowd, but he will be so close to the throne.