Frances Whitehead, John Stott’s ‘right hand’, ‘promoted to glory’

On Saturday 1 June Frances Whitehead, John Stott’s secretary of nearly 60 years, died peacefully at home at the age of 94.

Frances served John Stott throughout his whole ministry, as Rector of All Souls, Langham Place, and then in his wider global ministry.

Frances Whitehead with John Stott.

Frances Whitehead was John Stott’s secretary for nearly 60 years.

For years, they coped with an average of 30 letters a day! And in the midst of it all, she typed up manuscripts for almost all of his books, from his handwriting. These include: The Cross of Christ, The Message of Romans (BST); The Contemporary Christian; The Incomparable Christ; and The Radical Disciple.

Phenomenal woman

Frances was a phenomenal woman, in a unique partnership that, by God’s grace and enabling, served the global church in multiple ways. She was, as her biography by Julia Cameron is titled,  ‘John Stott’s Right Hand’.

This biography tracks Frances’ life and glimpses her ancestry to find what lay behind the dogged determination, fiercely protective streak, occasional imperious tone, and ready, warm laughter she  brought to her role as John Stott’s secretary. Their partnership was unique, effective, and not without humour. It has been described as ‘one of the greatest Christian partnerships of the 20th century’. Read an extract from the biography on Evangelical Now’s website.

For us in Langham, we always count John Stott as our Founder. But it is unquestionably true that Langham is part of Frances Whitehead’s legacy too. She handled most of the administration of the old Langham Trust and Evangelical Literature Trust for many years. Frances was still very active when Langham Partnership International was formed in 2001.

Totally dedicated service

Frances Whitehead reading the Bible.

Frances Whitehead died peacefully at the age of 94.

She took a constant prayerful interest in all that the three programmes of Langham are doing around the world, and was delighted with how things have grown so much.

We are thankful to God for a life well-lived in His service, and in totally dedicated service to one of the greatest of the Lord’s own servants.

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Frances Whitehead will be held at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, on Friday 21st June at 2.00pm. 

Gifts, in lieu of flowers, will be shared between All Souls Church and Langham Partnership. Any Langham Partnership supporters are very welcome to attend.

By Chris Wright, International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership

Read Langham Preaching Director for Europe & Caribbean Mark Meynell’s tribute to Frances Whitehead:


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