Alan Walker (theologian)

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Sir Alan Edgar Walker
Lifeline Founder Dr Alan Walker.png
Alan Edgar Walker

(1911-06-04)4 June 1911
Died29 January 2003(2003-01-29) (aged 91)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Other names
  • "Mister Methodist"
  • "The Methodist Pope"
  • "That Nice Alan Warble"
  • "Conscience of The Nation"[1]
EducationDoctor of Divinity
OccupationChristian minister, theologian and evangelist, social commentator, activist[2]
SpouseWinifred Walker
  • Alfred Edgar Walker
  • Violet Louisa Walker (née Lavis)
AwardsKnight Bachelor, OBE, Centenary Medal

Sir Alan Edgar Walker OBE (4 June 1911 – 29 January 2003) was an Australian theologian, evangelist, social commentator, broadcaster and activist,[2] and the Superintendent of Wesley Mission (formerly the Central Methodist Mission).


Alan Walker was involved in the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948. He was superintendent of the Methodist (later Uniting Church in Australia) Wesley Mission, Pitt Street, Sydney, 1958–1978 and one of the founders of the National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) in 1955 and Lifeline in 1963. He was first world director of evangelism for the World Methodist Council, 1978 to 1988. He was involved in founding the World Methodist Evangelism Institute (located at the United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology at Emory University) in Atlanta, 1982. He was principal of the Pacific College of Evangelism, now the Alan Walker College of Evangelism, in Sydney, 1989-1995. Following the closure of the Alan Walker College the Uniting Theological College in Sydney has been home to the Alan Walker Lectureship in Mission and Evangelism.


Walker launched Lifeline in Sydney, Australia in 1963 after a call from a distressed man who three days later took his own life. Walker launched a crisis line which initially operated out of the Methodist Central Mission in Sydney.

Lifeline Sydney was two years in planning and preparation, with 150 people attending a nine-month training course to work at the Centre. A century old, dilapidated building owned by the Mission, on the fringes of downtown Sydney was renovated for the purposes of this new support centre. A staff of full-time employees was appointed to direct the work of these new telephone crisis support workers. The Director General of Post and Telephone Services authorised that this crisis support service should be listed on the Emergency Page of the Telephone Directory and the phones were installed.[citation needed]

March 1963 saw the opening of the first official Lifeline Centre. The initiative was well received with over 100 calls for help being answered on the first day. In its 50th year, Lifeline had over 11,000 volunteers and spoke to more than 500,000 people in crisis annually.(Lifeline Australia Annual Report 2011/12)[citation needed]

Honours and awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Walker was born in Sydney, New South Wales on 4 June 1911 to the Reverend Alfred Edgar Walker (1877—1966) and Violet Louisa Walker (née Lavis) (1881—1971). He was married to Winifred Walker (later Lady Walker) (1916–2006) and they had four children, Lynette Sue, Rev Bruce Walker, David Walker and Rev Christopher Walker. He died in 2003, at an aged care centre on Sydney's North Shore, aged 91.[7]


  • Don Wright, Alan Walker: Conscience of the Nation, Sydney: Open Book Publishers, 1997. ISBN 0-85910-836-8.
  • Harold Henderson, Reach for the World: The Alan Walker Story, Nashville, Tennessee: Discipleship Resources, 1981.


  1. ^ "Death of the Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker". Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  2. ^ a b c "National Living Treasures". Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  3. ^ "The Order of the British Empire - Officer (Civil) (Imperial) (OBE) entry for Rev Alan WALKER". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 9 June 1955. Supervisor of the Waverley Methodist Mission
  4. ^ "Knight Bachelor (Imperial) entry for Mr Alan Edgar WALKER". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 1980. Services to religion
  5. ^ World Methodist Council page of World Methodist Peace Award recipients
  6. ^ "Centenary Medal entry for Reverend Sir Alan WALKER". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 1 January 2001. For service to Australian society and religion
  7. ^ Remembering Sir Alan Walker, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2 February 2003

External links[edit]