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In memory of David Pytches

We are saddened to share the news that Bishop David Pytches has been promoted to glory, having passed away during the night of Tuesday 21st November 2023, surrounded by loving family.

John and Eleanor Mumford (Vineyard Global Leaders) were close friends of David and his widow Mary, and have penned the following tribute to him.

The wonderful Bishop David Pytches was promoted to glory just last night. For many Christians across this land, and for many far further afield across the world, he was a true Hero of the Faith.

Whether it was as the Anglican bishop of Chile, Bolivia and Peru, or the legendary vicar of St Andrews, Chorleywood he was the bravest of the brave and a true radical as he followed Jesus across land and sea! I just saw a remarkable photograph of him visiting outlying areas of his diocese in South America, riding a horse and sporting a ponytail and an improbable cowboy hat, with never a mitre in sight!

David returned to England with Mary and their four daughters – (of which Debby Wright who with her husband John leads VCUKI, was the second) – to become the leader of a church, which God used to pioneer and curate a remarkable move of the Holy Spirit during the 1980s.

Even well into his 90s and with his health failing, he could be seen daily in his local coffee shop talking to anyone who would listen of the Jesus whom he loved so fiercely.

He was a wonderful friend to John and me when we returned from Anaheim in 1987 to plant what would become the South West London Vineyard. It was the first Vineyard small group in Europe at the time, and that things developed and grew as they did was due in no small part to David and Mary’s constant encouragement. John and Debby Wright’s involvement with us from the beginning was a source of constant delight to the both of us, and David and Mary’s input at our early conferences was memorable. They were both our champions from the very beginning.

David became a very close friend of John Wimber’s, having partnered with David Watson in being the first Anglicans to recognise Wimber’s own extraordinary gifting as they invited him to the UK in 1981 to minister in their local churches in York and Chorleywood.

The friendship that developed between David and Mary, and John and Carol became hugely significant, as well as a source of deep delight to all four of them. On a personal level, the way in which David and John exchanged anecdotes about their grandchildren, let alone the jokes that David insisted on sharing with his newfound friend, were great fun to behold.
On a slightly more serious level, it was Wimber who first encouraged David to set up in 1989 a week-long event at an agricultural show-ground in Shepton Mallet in Somerset, which grew exceptionally into the phenomenon we all know as New Wine.

Over the years hundreds of thousands of people came to New Wine from many different denominations across the UK to leave refreshed and restored, having discovered some of the original worship music we have now come to enjoy as a matter of course in our churches. There was bible teaching of a high calibre given by outstanding leaders from around the world, who were delighted to help David and Mary. And a new way of ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit, which changed the lives of countless men, women and children and has transformed many churches, not least Vineyards.

It would be hard to overestimate the impact of David’s influence within his own beloved Anglican Church as well as beyond its bounds. He loved liturgy and would give his grandchildren ten pounds once they had learnt the Lord’s Prayer by heart … there may even have been a bonus for the Nicene Creed! But his personal loyalties never precluded his blessing of so many churches and denominations. Having been so deeply affected by the arrival of Vineyard groups in the wake of Wimber’s visits to the UK in the early 80s, he was in the vanguard of the burgeoning charismatic movement that has continued to this day.

How many of us within the Vineyard and far beyond, have reason to rejoice over David’s life and his friendship, and to thank God for the influence he has had on our own.

John and Eleanor Mumford

22nd November, 2023

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