Remembering Gordon Wise

Tributes for a founding member in Australia

Monday, November 16, 2020

Gordon Wise, who pioneered the early work of Moral Re-Armament (MRA, now known as Initiatives of Change), passed away in the UK on Sunday 4 October, at the age of 97. Until then, he and Jim Coulter were the two surviving founding members of the MRA Council of Management in Australia. Each served for close on 40 years, beginning in 1956.

Born in Queensland and schooled in Western Australia, Gordon Wise eventually settled in the UK, where he served for many years, traveling frequently to other parts of the world.

Jim Coulter in Melbourne recalls: ‘Gordon and I met MRA in 1940 as we finished high-school in Perth. We enlisted in the air force and were together for a further four years.  He survived two plane crashes and took part in D-Day, piloting a Sunderland Flying Boat. At the end of the war while waiting for a flight to take him back to Perth, he had an experience which changed his life. He awoke in the middle of the night with a vision of Christ reaching out his hand to him saying, “I have need of you.” He whole-heartedly responded and it proved a pattern for his whole life.’ 

‘He whole-heartedly responded and it proved a pattern for his whole life.’

Andrew Lancaster, who chaired the board of Initiatives of Change for eight years, wrote, ‘Gordon was a true friend to me over many years.  He was instinctively inclusive, keen to know what I was thinking, but equally ready to share what he saw as the challenges and opportunities within IofC’s different areas of endeavour.  And always there was his infectious sense of humour.’

Another MRA pioneer in Australia, Chris Mayor, 92, first met Gordon in 1945 when he returned after air force service in World War II.  On hearing of Gordon’s passing, he wrote from Bendigo: ‘For 75 years he has been my mentor, friend and colleague in many adventures in India and other countries in Asia. Best man, none better, for Janet and me when we married 62 years ago at Mackinac Island in the US. 

‘Good flight, dear friend and warrior.'

Read about Gordon’s life and times on the IofC UK website.