The Vivienne Stacey Story

Vivienne Stacey (1928–2010)

Vivienne Stacey dedicated her life to strengthening Christian witness among Muslims. From the beginning, training and equipping women was core to her ministry. She was committed to building up and training others, to see them grow by passing responsibility on to them.

As a writer

Vivienne encouraged others to share insights and learning by having them write papers and then bringing them together to discuss insights.

As a pioneer

Vivienne paved the way for many to wrestle with the issues of reaching Muslims with the good news, and particularly for reaching women. Decades of work in Pakistan culminated in a wider itinerant training ministry. She was one of the very first to see the importance of mentoring and training women from the Indian sub-continent who were working in Muslim households in the Gulf and Arab peninsula.

As a visionary

Vivienne wrote, taught, mentored and coached many, enabling them to engage with the issues in a practical and accessible way. She was instrumental in encouraging new practitioners to enter ministry.

Her teaching, her learning and her vision have influenced many who work in ministry among Muslims. Her faith, words and life have been a significant inspiration and example to the organizers of When Women Speak.

Vivienne Stacey’s Autobiography - Mission Ventured Dynamic Stories across a Challenging World

A compilation of reflections from friends, colleagues and from Vivienne’s own writings

Vivienne Stacey said of herself: ‘I began as a missionary from the West. I became a missionary from the East and ended up a world Christian.’ Vivienne became a follower of Jesus at university, and soon after recognised God’s call on her life to the Muslim World. And so it was that in 1954 she sailed from England to Pakistan, teaching and then becoming the Principal of the United Bible Training Centre in Gujranwala. Describing her request to work at UBTC Vivienne said: ‘I asked to be sent to wherever in Pakistan there was a training establishment to help Pakistani Christian women in their witness among Muslims.’

One of Vivienne’s early friends after her arrival in Pakistan was Esther John. Esther, born in a Muslim family, had become a follower of Jesus through seeing the love of Jesus lived out, and through the study of scriptures, in her Christian school. 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, and was murdered in 1960, becoming the first, of many, martyrs that Vivienne knew. Vivienne’s friendship with Esther was formative in her commitment to encouraging women who were followers of Jesus from a Muslim heritage to witness among Muslims.

Vivienne has been described as a friend, mentor and example. In her work with the Community Development Team from Multan Christian Women’s hospital she would train them in outreach, setting assignments that were individually tailored to areas where each of the team needed to grow. Vivienne pointed them to readings and challenged them to find ways of integrating what they learned into their work. They describe her as a much-loved mentor, saying that the full impact of her commitment to that little community development team was immeasurable.

Ida Glasser, now the Director of the Centre for Muslim Christian Studies in Oxford, talks of Vivienne’s support for her 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.

Vivienne was inspiring in her creativity in witness. Once she was traveling as a single foreign woman on a rural bus. She heard the passengers around her discussing who she was and what she was carrying in her bag. So she responded, “I have seed in my bag.”

“No you don’t,” they said. “It looks like you have books.” So Vivienne took out the books to show the tracts and the Christian literature in Urdu.

“See,” she said. “It is seed. These words give life and produce fruit.” She handed out the materials. Different passengers read some of the pieces out loud with others listening and commenting.

“This may be seed,” one passenger said to Vivienne. “But it is foreign seed and won’t grow in Pakistani soil.”

“Oh no,” said Vivienne. “This seed is Middle Eastern and was prepared for the whole world.” And so the sometimes dangerous act of passing out Christian literature in a Muslim country was handled with imagination and in a way that those receiving it could not forget.

The Vivienne Stacey Scholarship

The Vivienne Stacey Scholarship is being launched to honour the legacy of this remarkable woman who has mentored so many into mission, encouraging women from all contexts into witness among Muslims. The Vivienne Stacey Scholarship is about equipping Christian women scholars from the Middle East, Asia and Africa to engage with the Muslim world. The scholarship will enable them to pursue higher studies at the Masters or Doctorate level in areas of Islam and women, that extend understanding of Islam in a way that enables more effective Christian ministry with Islam and Muslim women.
Alongside the financial support, the scholarship will offer mentoring to each recipient, and participation in a learning cohort.
Vivienne had a genuine concern to resource people who lacked what they needed to pursue their studies. She believed in sharing resources, encouraging others, going the extra mile to ensure that those committed to witness among Muslims were resourced to do so.
The Vivienne Stacey Scholarship is launched to continue that legacy, as friends, mentors and examples. We invite you to become a part of this commitment: believing in Christ, and in Christ believing in others.
Donations For Vivienne Stacey Scholarship
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