Pr Alan White

The man who sought to protect the legal rights of women

Friday, September 1, 2017
Alumnus cited for commitment to equity and justice

Pr Alan White grew up in the pine forests of Rotorua, New Zealand. He would have followed father Bill into electrical engineering but missionary Pr John Keith steered him to Longburn then Avondale, from where he graduated with bachelor degrees in theology and in secondary education. He married the love of his life, Nancy Royce, in 1959.

Alan’s first calls: to Canberra as a Seventh-day Adventist literature evangelist and then to church evangelistic work in Gippsland, Ballarat and Melbourne. An appointment as director of the church’s Aoba District in the then cannibal New Hebrides followed in 1964—he remembers sleeping beside the chief’s pet boar in one village. Alan’s engineering experience would often prove useful—in one example, he blew up a large rock with gelignite to build an airstrip with a bulldozer. His mission service would continue as president of the church in the vast Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1970.

A return to Australia saw roles as Preceptor at Carmel College then local church ministry in Fremantle, Western Australia. A transfer to Victoria in 1979 precipitated a career change. Alan would go on to direct trust services for the church in Trans-Australia and in the South Pacific before a call as Associate Director of Trust Services for the worldwide church. The tenure would span 12 years.

Many of the cultural practises Alan experienced in this travels challenged him, particularly how on the death of a husband the nearest male relative would take possession of all assets, leaving the wife destitute. “I sought through the preparation of legal wills to protect the rightful inheritance of women and children.”

The Class of 1957 honours Pr Alan White for a lifetime of service to the Adventist Church and for his commitment to equity and justice.