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Michael John Saward (14 May 1932 – 31 January 2015) was a British Anglican priest, author and hymnist. He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1975 to 1995 and was Canon Treasurer of St Paul's Cathedral from 1991 to 2000. He was part of a group of clergy who, under the leadership of John Stott, revived Evangelicalism in the Church of England.
Saward was born on 14 May 1932 in Blackheath, London, England. He was educated at a dame school in Petts Wood, London, and at Eltham College, an independent school in Mottingham, London. He became a practising Christian in 1946.
Saward served in the British Army as part of National Service. He was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 26 May 1951 as a second lieutenant. From 1951 to 1952, he served in Accra, Ghana, as part of the Royal West African Frontier Force. On 15 March 1953, he was transferred to the Territorial Army and granted the acting rank of lieutenant. This ended his full-time military service. On 14 May 1955, he was transferred to the Territorial Army Reserve of Officers and promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant. This ended his part-time military service. He was transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers on 7 March 1956. He resigned his commission, therefore leaving the army, on 8 September 1956.
Having returned to England from Ghana in 1952, Saward began studying theology at the University of Bristol. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1955. Having felt called to Holy Orders during his military service, he then studied for the priesthood at Tyndale Hall which was then affiliated to the University of Bristol.
Saward was ordained deacon in 1956 and priest in 1957 at Canterbury Cathedral by Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher. He served as a curate in Croydon and Edgware, two London suburbs. He was the secretary of the Liverpool Council of Churches from 1964 to 1967. He then became the Radio and Television Officer to Archbishop Michael Ramsey until 1972. He was then vicar of St Matthew’s Fulham until 1978 and then vicar of St Mary's Ealing, from 1978 to 1991. He also became president of the House of Clergy of the Willesden Area Synod. Until his retirement at the end of 2000 he was Canon Treasurer of St Paul's Cathedral in London.
Saward served on many councils and committees, among which were the General Synod (1975–1995), the Church Commissioners (1978–1993) and the Church of England Evangelical Council (1976–1993). He also served as Chairman of the Billy Graham London Mission 1989 Media Task Group, a judge of The Times "Preacher of the Year" competition in 2000 and as religious adviser to the film Cromwell.
Saward began writing pamphlets about different aspects of church life in the 1960s, mainly for Scripture Union before embarking of books such as Don't Miss the Party (1974) and the controversial And So To Bed? (1975), which examined Christian views about sex. This was followed by Cracking the God Code (1978), God's Friends: Romans (1978) and All Change (1983).
In later years Saward concentrated on writing hymns, contributing to many hymn books and editing Come Celebrate, a compilation of modern hymn writing, in 2009.
In 1999, Saward wrote an autobiography entitled A Faint Streak of Humility.
Saward wrote over a hundred hymns, of which "Christ triumphant, ever reigning" is his best known, usually sung to the hymn tune "Guiting Power" (named after the village of Guiting Power in Gloucestershire) by John Barnard.
A long-term member of the Jubilate Group of hymnwriters, Saward was also its chairman from 1999 to 2001.
Though retired from the church appointments, Saward continued to minister. He was granted a permission to officiate in the Diocese of London from 2002 and in the Diocese of Rochester from 2013. At the time of his death, he had preached in hundreds of churches across the world, including the United States, on the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship and twice at the Tower of London.
Saward was married to Jacqueline Atkinson (1932 - 2009) and was the father of Rachel, Joe and twins Jill and Sue. Joe is a Formula One motorsport journalist and Jill an author and campaigner for victims of rape and sexual violence.
- A Faint Streak of Humility, autobiography
- Christ Triumphant, a hymn collection published by the Jubilate Group
- "Canon Michael Saward". The Times. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "Canon Michael Saward, clergyman - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "Michael Saward". About. The Jubilate Group. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 11 September 1951. Retrieved 08 February 2015.
- "Michael John SAWARD". People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 20 January 1953. Retrieved 08 February 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 20 May 1955. Retrieved 08 February 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 13 March 1956. Retrieved 08 February 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 4 September 1956. Retrieved 08 February 2015.
- "Saward M J". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 8 February 2015. (Subscription required)
- "Hymn Society: Executive Committee". Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
- Lodge, Carey (2 February 2015). "Canon Michael Saward found dead in hotel room". Christian Today. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
|Chairman of Jubilate Group