Jim Punton   -   his life and influence

What people say

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What people say about him

From Jeanne Hinton

In the early 80s Jim went on a speaking tour in Australia sharing his vision of a Messiah People living out the good news of the Kingdom. A little later Graham Pulkingham, charismatic leader and Rector of the church of the Redeemer, Houston, Texas, also visited Australia and spoke at many of the same places. Graham, well known within the charismatic movement, had been insrumental in forming community households in Houston – a new way of living – families and single men and women sharing economically in order to support gospel ministry.

'Everywhere I went, 'Graham told me 'people told me Jim Punton had been and shared his biblical vision of the gospel community and you come sharing how it is being lived out in a very real way today in your parish'

''You should invite him down here.' Graham said to me. By that time Graham was living in England, and others had come with him to share their experience of a new way of living. Graham was at that time a frequent visitor to Post Green and indeed the two communities would for a time combine their ministries. Graham felt Jim would have somehing special to offer Post Green.

I was able to tell Graham that Jim and I already knew each other, I had been a youth leader at a club in south London, and Jim as Developmemnt Officer for F Y T also lived in South London. When I moved from London to Dorset in 1970 Jim was looking for a flat to rent and mine bcame available. Now he received an invitation from me to visit this charismatic community in rural Dorset. Perhaps he was a bit wary , but it so happened he bumped into Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners Magazine, who assured him a visit would be worth while. So Jim Punton came to Post Geeen.

He came for a day but before he left we invited him to be one of the speakers at one of our summer camps . He agreed and a pattern began of Jim as a frequent speaker at the summer camps and of many other occasions when he came and stayed usually with the same community household - an honorary member. As Graham had foreseen Jim's biblical teaching provided a strong background and challenge to the the life we were seeking to live in community. His teaching however took us also into the challenge of the social and political, all that the good news proclaims,. It began to change the way we thought and acted and caused some of our charismatic friends to begin to distance themselves. It was during this period we began to bring out GrassRoots, a magazine -. God's People - a force for renewal in society today. Jim became one of its contributing editor. He was not the only person to influence us in these ways – Jim Wallis, Mennonites Alan and Eleanor Kreider and others were also strong influences. But Jim had virtually become a member of the community. Our delight in this was I think mutual.

In the early 80s there was the possibility that four of might have moved to Stepney in London to form a household supportive of the magazine GrassRoots. I asked Jim then. “If this happens what will you do? Will you join us?” “It might be hard for me not to do so,” he replied. Whether he meant it or not, it never happened. The move fell through for various reasons and Jim died while it was still being considered. The living out of his teaching – and even more who Jim was as a person – that remains; an ongoing challenge and a celebration.

Jeanne Hinton
December 2012

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