Controversial Norwich pastor asks for pardon
A controversial Norwich minister who has regularly hit the headlines while preaching the Gospel on the streets for the last 53 years, has retired, asking for the pardon of those whom he “needlessly grieved in any way”. Keith Morris reports.
The Rev Dr Alan Clifford, pastor of Norwich Reformed Church and regular author, retired from the pastorate on March 31 at the age of 80, after 28 years in Norwich, following his ordination in Northampton in 1969.
Rev Clifford said: “With deep heart-felt thanksgiving to Almighty God for graciously enabling me to serve Him in the preaching of the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ for 53 years, and with special gratitude to my beloved Welsh wife Marian, I wish to thank all those who have encouraged me in the service of the Lord Jesus and His people.
“The brothers and sisters (many of whom now dwell ‘above’) of congregations in Northampton (1969-72), Gateshead (1972-74), Great Ellingham (1974-94) and Norwich (1994-2022) will always occupy a warm place in my heart and memory. It was a privilege to serve them in our Lord and Saviour’s name. I ask the pardon of those whom I needlessly grieved in any way, and thank you all for fellowship in the Gospel. Also desiring God’s continuing blessing on our beloved family, may He continue to encourage you in all your works and ways.
“Retirement from the pastorate does not mean a cessation of ministry. That will only take place with my last breath. Social media and online overseas ministry - especially in Africa - will continue, as health and opportunity permit. In whatever form some continuing ministry emerges, I ask for the ongoing prayers of the Lord’s people.”
Rev Clifford said: “I endeavoured to preach the Gospel of Christ according to the Word of God and took it to the city centre every week, summer and winter with my final mission on January 15. Together with Tony Cox, Len Smeath and others, we endeavoured to maintain an outward-looking Reformed evangelical witness, to the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”
Rev Clifford regularly hit the headlines with his outspoken views on Islam, on Norwich Gay Pride and on freedom of speech issues.
The banning of his Christian bookstall from Hay Hill by the city council after it promoted anti-Islam material, led to a controversial English Defence League march in Norwich city centre in 2012, which was opposed widely across the local Christian community.
Rev Clifford will be succeeded at Norwich Reformed Church by Rev Stephen Quinton.
Read our previous stories about Rev Clifford.
Pictured above is Rev Dr Alan Clifford (centre) with fellow Gospel mission colleagues at Hay Hill in Norwich.