Posted by bms_editor at 13:30 on 7th July 2011
Rev Christopher John Hutt
6 August 1939 – 26 March 2011
Chris was born on 6 August 1939 in Northwood, Middlesex. He went to Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. He had ambitions about becoming a dentist but didn’t do well enough with A levels. Instead he became an articled clerk in a small firm of accountants, Tayler, Hounsfield & Co, which entailed five years of evening and weekend study. During this time he felt the call to the Baptist ministry but felt it was right to finish what he had started. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant he worked for one of the big firms, Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) for 18 months. He then trained for Baptist Ministry at Regent’s Park College in Oxford, when Dr Henton Davies was Principal.
In August 1967 he met Christine while on a walking holiday in Scotland and they married in March 1969 and they had three children, Clare, who was born in Suffolk, and Karen and Julia who were born in Doncaster. Chris’ first pastorate was in Aldeburgh from 1968-1972, followed by Doncaster from 1972-1976.
In 1976 Chris joined BMS as Finance Secretary, working in the Gloucester Place offices in London. Many workers will remember those days when Chris was closeted high up in what people used to call the ‘Crow’s Nest’, and they will recall being taken upstairs to meet Mr Hutt, (it took a while before they could call him Chris). But to more than one generation of missionaries Chris was a man who they found so approachable.
During his years with BMS, Chris met with mission personnel regularly, whether they were planning to go overseas or returning to the UK for furlough. He was always concerned about their wellbeing, and that care shone through, and reminds us that as well as being an accountant he was also a pastor. When he led staff prayers or led worship in churches, people knew that his contributions would always be carefully prepared. His love of thoughtful worship and his delight in singing were just two ways in which he expressed his faith. But to those who knew him it was clear also that his work with BMS was the outworking of his calling to be a disciple.
In his tribute at Chris’ funeral, David Kerrigan remarked that somebody had said to him a couple of weeks before that Chris usually wore his serious face in the office, even when he was doing his magic tricks. David recalled that when he was in training at what was then St Andrews, now IMC, and Chris came up to induct him in the way of BMS accounts, and then he started doing his magic tricks, David was amazed and could not equate this with the Chris that he was getting to know. And yet there he was, giving another insight into his character.
Chris had a sense of humour and that broke through in conversation. To this day there is a lively debate within BMS as to whether Chris actually did say this, ‘Remember, every silver lining has a cloud around it’. He was inclined to deny it...but David was there! In 1989 the BMS offices moved to Didcot, and Chris relocated with them. In 1994 his role was changed to Director of Finance and Administration.
Chris left BMS in 1999 and became Bursar at Regent’s Park College, Oxford for a year, followed by minister/moderator firstly at Botley Baptist Church and then Chipping Norton Baptist Church. He was involved with several churches and organisations in a financial capacity. In his tribute, David Fleming spoke of Chris as a man of great energy, who hated to be still, hated not to be doing, which made his final weeks in hospital doubly hard. He was a man who liked to work combined with a strong sense of duty, that wouldn’t leave a task undone if he felt he could help. When David travelled round local Baptist churches he got used to hearing his church described this way, ‘Oh you’re the minister of Abingdon Baptist Church, isn’t that Chris Hutt’s church, he does our accounts?’ David came to believe that the accounts of half the Baptist world are in boxes in a wardrobe in poor long-suffering Christine’s bedroom. This did not end while he was in hospital, every visit was punctuated by details for Christine as to what should be done with this or that set of accounts.
Just a couple of weeks before he died David and Christine were sitting in the hospital with him when he said, ‘What date is it?’ They replied that it was the 19th March. ‘Hm’, said Chris, ‘I hope I can hold out till April’, ‘Why’, they asked. He said ‘It would be much neater for tax purposes!’
In retirement Chris led a very full and active life. He had a particular love for music and sang in several choirs. He and Christine also enjoyed walking, and Chris continued to preach occasionally in local churches. He was a very devoted family man and was immensely proud of Christine, his children and grandchildren.
When Chris was called into ministry he literally jumped for joy, his heart felt a huge burden for people who did not know God as he did. Chris knew that God’s love of him was not performance related, he knew that God loved him and knew that nothing would separate him from the love of Christ. At a Billy Graham crusade at Haringey in 1954 Chris felt that love tap him on the shoulder. Even though it was totally against his character, he found himself going to the front and committing his life to Christ. He felt that love of God call him into ministry; he felt it with him over the years. Chris’s ambition through life was to live for Christ, to give glory to God, and to commit all to Jesus Christ. For him to live was Christ; to die is gain.
(Adapted from the tributes at the memorial service)