Bishop David Evans became the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Peru in 1978 at the age of 40, in time to attend the Lambeth Conference of that year. Since then he has been Assistant Bishop in Bradford ( now part of the Diocese of Leeds), General Secretary of the South American Missionary Society and also International Co-ordinator of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion.

In 40 Years he has been through his extensive and very well organized filing system and put together in this private publication a selection of his correspondence, sermons and reports of his extensive travels, richly illustrated with photos of the many occasions he refers to.

This will be of especial interest to the many friends and colleagues Bishop David met across the world, from his days as President of the CICCU, through his curacy at Christ Church Cockfosters ( with which he has maintained strong relationships over for over half a century) to his travels throughout Latin America and other parts of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop David’s letters and reports give a first hand insight into the ministry of the growing Anglican Church in Latin America which has found a strong voice in the Anglican Communion through Archbishop Tito Xavala, the first Latin American Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Latin America and now the first primate of the Anglican Church of Chile.  Far from being a bureaucrat, a Latin American bishop had first of all to be a leader in mission, a church planter, a discipler of new Christians and mentor of new ordinands.

Jesus’ style of mission was focused on people, who were friends and relations ( the 12) and their expanding relationships in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, rather than on building a delivery organization and institution. The New Testament is a collection of reports of Jesus’ travels and ministry and letters to Christian communities. 40 Years has the same elements and model of mission as the scriptural record of the first Christians. So it reads rather like the Bible

In retirement Bishop David recounts his interests in bird watching, stamp collecting and golf, and recalling humorous stories often in farewell speeches, such as his visit to a Yorkshire pig farm. The farmer explained that everything was done on the farm, except the actual slaughtering; for that he explained he took the pigs to the local slaughterhouse. Bishop David asked him “And how often do you take them there?” Back came the reply “I only takes ‘em once”.

The book could usefully use an index of the many names and places cited. It is most easily sourced from the author.

40 years in Purple 1978-2018. Bishop David Evans.  D.J Ellis. Pulborough 2022. 246pp £20.00

Chris Sugden