Ian Sciortino

His many friends in the Society will have learned with sorrow of the death just before Christmas [2001] of Ian Sciortino, at the age of 88.

His sprightly figure and eager mind were features of many Tyndale gatherings. He came to the Wells conference last May, and, though his capacities were a little more limited, he took part in everything. Many of us have memories of his lovely presence at other conferences and events. There was competition to sit next to him at meals, and faces always lit up as he approached.

He had led a full life, full also of gratitude for everything he had experienced and received. His father was Maltese, and had been appointed by Lord Lugard as administrator in Northern Nigeria, with instructions to learn the language, map the country and win the confidence of the local rulers. Ian had vivid stories of adventures in Africa as a child. At Oxford, he rowed for the university second eight and was a member of the Leander Club. He was already concerned about the international situation and unemployment at home: he found purpose in Christian faith through what was then called the Oxford Group, later Moral Re-Armament.

War service -- he was badly wounded in the arm -- ended with the army of occupation on the Rhine. Later, and in the course of a 50-year marriage to Sheena (who also came to Tyndale events in a wheelchair proudly pushed by Ian) he travelled from work in post-war Germany to further work in Switzerland, Italy, Nigeria, the USA, Cyprus, Brazil and many parts of the UK. Most importantly, he and Sheena spent 20 years in Malta, where they were loved by everyone in, it seems, the whole island. Ian and Sheena's daughter Joanna married Denis Nowlan, a BBC Religious Affairs producer who has done fine programmes on Tyndale. Denis noted in Malta Ian's friendships with 'dockers, fishermen, barefoot farmers, bishops, diplomats ... Ian made a difference to Maltese life in his vision of a bridge between Europe and Africa, Christianity and Islam.'

He was a witty and prolific poet, as a number of Society members know.

Ian and Sheena are already greatly missed. The Society extends to their family our thoughts and prayers.

David Daniell, March 2002