Ivor Smith-Cameron was born in what was then Madras (Chennai) into the Anglo-Indian community of a still functioning but increasingly challenged British Raj. After completing his studies at Madras University in independent India, he left for England in 1950 where he trained for the ordained ministry of the Church of England at the College of the Resurrection at Mirfield whose disciplined spirituality while it may have broadened never left him. He served his title in the delightfully named Rumboldswyke in Chichester. But it was the ensuing 14 years chaplaincy at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London that saw the flowering of his ministry. These were years of enormous effort, bold (for the time) experimentation in cell groups and liturgy, and great focus on individual students and staff, vast numbers of whom crowded into his home for the ready hospitality on hand. Many provided, with their later families, life-long friendships and Ivor was later to claim, some 60 vocations to the ordained ministry.

Thus David Shepherd, Bishop of Woolwich encouraged Ivor to apply for the post of Canon Residentiary and Diocesan Director of Mission in Southwark, and Bishop Mervyn Stockwood, a gifted spotter of talent and one of my illustrious predecessors was only too happy to appoint him. And so, in 1972, began the Southwark chapter of an extraordinary life. Again, Ivor innovated, and with permission established a house-church in his new home near Clapham Common. He was indefatigable in promoting mission and in broadening its understanding and undergirding it with a spirituality that enabled people to face the daily lives they led and share the experience of God’s love with their neighbour.

Both in his Diocesan role until 1994 and later at All Saints, Battersea Fields, he brought inclusivity and welcome into the worship and activity of what the church did. All Saints was marked by the myriad involvement of members of its congregation of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities to life of the parish and by a ceaseless round of hospitality. We should not be surprised that his published selection of sermons and talks is called The Church of Many Colours (1998).

One of the distinguishing features of Ivor’s time as a Missioner was the ministry of encouragement which he embodied and his achievements in interfaith relationships to which he brought enormous love and understanding. Canon Ivor Smith-Cameron was a lifelong champion for inclusion and diversity – leading the way on this prophetically. The ease with which Ivor forged friendships did not prevent him from challenging the Church where necessary – for example, over the need to address the lack of global majority heritage (GMH) representation in leadership and in the performance of the liturgy. In this regard, Ivor never lost his cutting edge. Alan Gadd’s companionship and care for Ivor enabled him to live life to the full as he made the necessary accommodation in retirement to his advancing years.

On his 90th birthday, I was glad to attend the celebrations at All Saints, Battersea Fields and he was still in his prime. But subsequently, his energy and vigour gave way to increasing frailty. On my last visit, as Ivor was nearing his end, it was wonderful to see anxiety and concern transfigured into calm and peace as we prayed together. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun

I first met Ivor in October 1962 when I came to London to study maths at Imperial College. Ivor was a university chaplain and four years earlier he had founded the West London Chaplaincy, serving Imperial and other colleges nearby. He had shown great missionary skill in setting up an expanding network of eucharistic cells in college departments and halls of residence. So it was that at a freshers’ event I stumbled upon the Church Society and soon was guided to the Tuesday lunchtime eucharist in the maths department. Among the ten or so communicants was Albert Gnanadoss, father of Vasantha.

Coming from a traditional village church in Somerset, the West London Chaplaincy was a revelation and inspiration to me and after completing graduate (maths) and postgraduate (meteorology) studies I was led to the Southwark Ordination Course in 1968. Deaconed in 1971, I served my title with Ivor as an assistant university chaplain. Then, after he was appointed Canon Missioner in 1972, I assisted Ivor as he established a house church at his Canon’s residence near Clapham Common and later a vibrant all-age multi-cultural congregation at All Saints Battersea Park. Ivor’s work was celebrated in 2001 by the publication ‘New Lamps: fresh insights into mission’. Copies are available from the editors, Alan Gadd and D C Premraj.

Ivor and I left All Saints in 2005 and moved to a house in Brixton Hill where Ivor’s unique energy and imagination found fresh outlets in breakfast groups and themed Saturday gatherings. He loved also to offer a brief experience of his native Madras and he promoted an annual series of group visits with the invaluable assistance of the Premraj family, who are now in New Addington.

Revd Alan Gadd

Meeting Ivor was for me a transforming experience as was for many people. He was a person who was living a message, the gospel, both priestly and prophetically at the same time, all the time very radical. At the heart of his life was God and he totally yielded to God and in all that he thought, did and spoke and touched our lives.

Ivor would make the Sunday morning Eucharist a spiritual feast for all. Arriving at the church at 7 am for a service that is going to start at 10 am. He will be paying attention for every detail and component of worship. All the time worrying, is there anyone who is excluded. Everyone had to be actively included. Anyone who steps in will be embraced into the fellowship of the church with great love. No one is an outsider or a new comer and never us and them.

We can never forget Ivor for his ministry as a University Chaplain at Imperial College, London. In a community of scientific minds, he started worship in the rooms of students and in every available space. He redefined worship for the otherwise busy students. Worship and prayer did never ended without food, not complicated food, whatever is possible. Ivor has the distinction of being a person who has influenced 60 of those Imperial college students to become priests in the Church of England at some point in their lives.

Ivor was always about people. He wanted to be with people. He would constantly keep inventing ways to be with people. There were weekly breakfast groups, Theological discussion group, or just weekend dinner evenings at his residence. I cannot count the number of people Ivor’s and our friend Revd Alan Gadd would have fed, should be multitudes of several thousands of people. Ivor cared for everyone and valued everyone.

Ivor loved diversity of people, ethnic and religious diversity. He was one of the founding members of the South London Inter Faith group. Ivor was proactive about empowering Black and Asian clergy. Earlier we had the Association of Black Clergy and Ivor would be in touch with everyone and Black and Asian clergy can turn to him for counsel and support. Ivor played a very important role in the development of the Southwark Diocesan Minority Ethnic Anglican concerns initiatives.

He supported many charities in the UK and also charities in Asia and in Africa. He would keep raising funds to support poorer communities. To the extent while at All Saints’ Battersea he dared to give away 50 percent of the Sunday collection to some charity or other, either in the UK or in Asia or Africa.

Ivor was proud of his Indian heritage. For most of his life he supported the Roof for the Roofless project based in Chennai, He played an important role in the development of the Community college movement in India which made technical education possible for students from deprived backgrounds. He helped the Church of South India, Diocese of Madras to build their massive Lay training institute and so many other facilities to help the poor.

All these things would not have been possible for Ivor without the grace of God and without Alan, his friend and companion. Can never speak of Ivor without Alan. Ivor’s life was made beautiful and meaningful by Alan for which we are extremely grateful to Alan. Together Ivor and Alan drenched our lives with the love of God.

Ivor loved Southwark Diocese immensely and we love you Ivor.

Rest in peace Ivor, you will never be forgotten.

Revd Prem Dhanaraj