Vivienne Stacey studied English at University College London then spent some years as a teacher before joining Interserve in 1954. When she learned that the United Bible Training Centre (UBTC) in Gujranwala trained Pakistani women for their witness among Muslims, she requested that as her place of ministry. From the very beginning of her mission career she was committed to equipping local people to engage in ministry among Muslims in their own context.
Established to honour this innovative pioneer, the Vivienne Stacey Scholarship is for equipping Christian women scholar-practitioners from Middle East, Africa and Asia to engage with the Muslim world. It follows Vivienne’s heart to see women, including those coming from a Muslim background, trained, equipped and engaged in ministry.
Soon after her arrival in Pakistan, Vivienne and Esther John became firm friends. Esther was born in a Muslim family but had become a follower of Jesus through seeing the love of Jesus lived out in her Christian school and through the study of scripture. She went to UBTC in 1957 from where she and Vivienne visited homes in the surrounding villages, sharing the story of Jesus. Esther went on to minister in other parts of Pakistan; she was murdered in 1960, becoming the first of many martyrs that Vivienne knew.
Vivienne was a much-loved friend, mentor and example. She worked with the Community Development Team from Multan Christian Women’s hospital, training them in outreach and setting assignments individually tailored to areas where each member of the team needed to grow. Vivienne challenged them to find ways of integrating what they learned into their work. The full impact of her commitment to that little community development team was immeasurable.
Vivienne encouraged many to scholarly practice – in Interserve and other organisations, in local churches in the countries where she worked, and right across the globe. She formed a study group in Pakistan that gave many their first foot into research and writing on significant ministry issues for working among Muslims.
Ida Glasser, now Director of the Centre for Muslim Christian Studies in Oxford, wrote about her experience of Vivienne’s support as she pursued her PhD:
The great thing Vivienne did for me was to take me out for lunch when I was struggling towards my PhD, and then to ask whether money might help. She then (probably through a trust of which she was senior trustee) provided enough to pay Crosslinks for I think half my time for 3 months, so that I could break the back of the writing up. I might never have completed it otherwise. Another time, after a conference in Holland, she treated me to a day in Amsterdam – took me on a canal trip and gave me a good dinner – things I’d never have done for myself, or been able to afford.
The Scholarship does not just provide financial support. It is also committed to providing mentoring, both individually and as part of a learning cohort; to investing in the development of the whole person as they pursue their studies.
The Vivienne Stacey Scholarship Fund was launched during the When Women Speak… colloquium on 25 September 2015. It is actively seeking partnership with academic institutions in Asia and the Middle East, and in the West, as it builds capacity to support these women. Please join us in supporting the fund. You can do this through your local Interserve Office, marking your gift ‘Vivienne Stacey Scholarship’, or by clicking on ‘donate’ at www.whenwomenspeak.net For further information contact [email protected] or [email protected]