Royce Williams, Longtime Evangelist, Passes to His Rest
Served It Is Written ministry for 31 years (Posted June 26, 2013)
BY MICHELE STOTZ, It Is Written
oyce Williams, a longtime Seventh-day Adventist pastor and evangelist who served It Is Written television for 31 years as a manager, global evangelism coordinator, director of field services, and special projects coordinator, died unexpectedly May 28, 2013, from complications of pneumonia. He was 85.
Williams worked for It Is Written full-time from 1976 to 2007, which marked his fifty-sixth year of denominational service. Although he retired December 31, 2007, he continued working on a nearly full-time basis until shortly before he entered the hospital in early May.
While at It Is Written, he assisted speakers George Vandeman, Mark Finley, Shawn Boonstra, and John Bradshaw. He traveled extensively around the world—coordinating evangelistic meetings and special projects, and holding evangelistic series of his own.
LONGTIME EVANGELIST: Royce Williams, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor and evangelist who served It Is Written for 31 years and continued in retirement, passed to his rest at age 85 on May 28, 2013. [PHOTO: It Is Written]
Williams had crossed the Atlantic 106 times and the Pacific 84 times, had flown on 91 different airlines and had visited 64 countries. He traveled with Finley on at least 22 overseas evangelistic trips, and held training seminars in every nonregional conference in the United States and most of Canada.
In 2006 Williams traveled to Africa to deliver solar-powered “Godpod” Bibles to people living in the Kalahari Desert. One year later he accompanied Boonstra on It Is Written’s trip to the Arctic, where—partly by dogsled—they delivered Inuktitut-language Bibles to Inuit people living in remote areas.
Earlier this year he joined Bradshaw for a major evangelistic series in Central America. Said Bradshaw, “It was truly inspirational to see him each night as he returned from his meetings energized—glowing with the joy he had received from preaching the Word of God and seeing people respond to the call of Jesus.”
Royce Carlton Williams was born on a farm northeast of Greeley, Colorado, on February 15, 1928, the youngest of four brothers—all delivered in the same farmhouse by a country doctor. His father had traveled from Missouri to Colorado at the age of 2 in a covered wagon pulled by mules. When Williams was 4, his family moved to Nebraska, where he grew up on a cattle ranch.
In 1946 Williams was drafted into the Navy, and was discharged a little more than six months later. But that was enough for him to qualify for the GI Bill, enabling him to attend college. In 1947, after a few months at Union College, and after falling in love with his soon-to-be wife, Frances, Williams decided to become a minister.
After graduating from Union College in 1951, Williams served as a pastor in Missouri for two years before accepting a call to the Philippines. During the next 23 years, he served as a mission director, union evangelist, and Far Eastern Division ministerial secretary, before returning to the United States to work with It Is Written.
Williams said that the most thrilling moment of his ministry was the night in 1953 when he sat in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy McKee as they responded to his appeal for baptism. They were the first people who came to Christ as a result of his ministry.
Willams is survived by his wife of 66 years, Frances; children Marlin, Sheryl, Terry, and Darlene; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.