The Rev. Dr. Gordon Moyes, one of Australia's leading evangelist and the former Superintendent of Wesley Mission, passed away on Easter Sunday. After a couple of years of illness, Moyes died peacefully in a hospital in Sydney with his family beside him. He was 76 years-old.
On Facebook, Moyes' son David writes: "It is with great sadness I let my friends know that my dad Gordon Moyes has passed away today. Over the last couple of years dad has battled illness but in recent weeks his health has gone downhill. This week the whole family had the wonderful privilege of saying our farewells, prayers, singing hymns mixed with much laughter and plenty of tears. My mum and family have been amazing.
On Tuesday when mum suggested that we fly down I sent the following txt to dad late at night: "I want you to know that I love you and I am praying for you. I couldn't asked for a better dad. You have modeled to me about the importance of loving your children by loving their mother more than anyone. U have modelled how to succeed in the tough world of local church ministry. And most importantly you have taught me to love God. What a legacy!"
Ordained in 1959 as a minister of the Churches of Christ with ministries at Newmarket, Ascot Vale, Ararat and Cheltenham he later was ordained in the Uniting Church in Australia serving for 27 years as the Superintendent of Wesley Mission Sydney.
Gordon led this church to become one of Australia's largest non-government welfare providers and a uniquely shaped multi-cultural, city-based church, passionate about sharing God's love in both Word and Deed.
During Gordon Moyes' years as Superintendent there were several ground breaking documentary series produced including The Discovery series, and specials, television series and radio programs produced such as: An Australian Christmas at Darling Harbour television across Australia for 10 years, the music video show Swordfish and Sunday Night Live hosted by Gordon which ran for nearly 18 years.
The 'Discovering' series was recognised around the world for its innovation. The series looked at the life of Jesus and then the growth of the early Christian church and was based on three books written by Gordon. This unique video series set a new standard in Australian Christian television.
Gordon has been awarded many honours over the years including Australia's highest honours, including the Companion of The Order of Australia in 2002, 2014 Christian Media Australia's Lifetime Achievement, Rotary International's Paul Harris Fellow (1978), and the New South Wales Father of the Year (1986).
His 2GB program, Sunday Night Live ran for nearly 18 years. The late night Sunday talkback program aired brief sermons and stories, plus talkback. Moyes usually prayed with his callers at the end of each call.
On his website, Gordon Moyes told the story of one of those callers:
Throughout most of the 1980's up until the present time, I have conducted my Sunday Night Live Program on 2GB. This runs for four hours from 8pm to midnight each Sunday night and these stories form the last segment of the last hour. I also do another one hour of programming by way of Christian spots and promotions on the station during the week. The relationship with the radio station has been a very interesting one over the years which included Wesley Mission rescuing the station at a time of great financial need by purchasing 87 per cent of the shares, and subsequently running the station until the time came when we sold those shares to John Singleton and other investors.
Throughout all this period I was Chairman of the Board of the Macquarie Radio Network.
There have been many remarkable stories come out of these years on radio.
One of the most remarkable concerned a call to me in the days before I was telling these stories. In those days, I had talkback continuing until midnight. At about five minutes to midnight one night back in 1988, I received a call from a young woman who was sobbing. Later on she wrote a full account of that, and I will quote to you her own words.
Her name was Melody. She wrote:
"It was the winter of 1988. It was cold and pouring with rain. It was after 11:30 pm and I was driving back to Sydney having spent the weekend in Canberra saying goodbye to my friends.
I had decided that the only way out of my problems was to kill myself. I had no self-esteem, believing that the abuse I suffered as a child and a young teenager was all my fault. As the trucks came thundering towards me out of the dark, I though how easy it would be to steer my car underneath the front of one of them. It would be a quick and easy death.
As I drove I usually listened to cassettes, but on this particular night I turned on the radio to see if I could find a friendly voice. As I listened I heard the announcers say that if anyone wanted him to pray for them, then to give him a call. It was Gordon Moyes on 2GB and immediately I knew I had to call. "I have to stop and phone-this is my only chance!"
I was just leaving Goulburn and as I looked to the side of the road, there was a phone booth. I wondered if it would work and if I had any change. It did and I was put straight through to Gordon on the air. I was pretty upset and it took a while for me to tell Gordon why I had called. But I remember he just kept on talking to me. He didn't even say the prayer that he normally says when he closes the program.
After the program finished, he kept on talking to me off the air. That telephone and that link with another human being became my only hold of life. When we eventually stopped talking, I had calmed down a little and begun to see that maybe there was some way out of the deep depression I had sunk into. Gordon had made me promise to call him as soon as I got home. I remember the relief in his voice when I called him at 2:30 in the morning to say that I had arrived home safely. When we were talking on the air, he had asked people to pray for me. Those prayers were the only thing that carried me through that night and beyond.
During my teenage years I had always blamed myself for everything that had ever gone wrong. I felt utterly worthless. My life had no purpose and all I could see was that I had caused problems for everyone. In my depression I decided that the best thing I could do was to kill myself so I wouldn't be a burden anymore.
That late night call to Gordon on 2GB changed my life. My life turned around-a complete about-face! I began to see that what happened to me was not my fault. I was not responsible for what had done to me!
Moyes was also on television, his most well known program being Turn 'Round Australia, a weekly half hour program, broadcast on many television stations around the country, running for over 20 years.
Later in 2002, Moyes was elected to the Upper House for the Christian Democratic Party where he became a Christian voice within Australian politics.