1 Dec 2020
On behalf of our entire CRC Churches International family both in Australia and overseas, my deepest condolences to the entire Hooper family at the sudden passing to heaven of their much loved patriarch.
What an enduring impact Pastor Russell Hooper made to our CRC Churches International movement.
This was particularly so in the tumultuous years immediately after our founder Leo Harris suddenly went to be with Jesus in 1977.
Pastor Hooper served as our National Leader till 1985 and steered the ship of our National CRC movement with great strength and unflinching purpose during some turbulent seasons. As I look back to that time Pastor Hooper along with some other leaders held us together as a nationally cohesive movement.
Jesus the living head of His church, knew that the CRC needed Russell Hooper’s firm hand while we were figuring out our long term collective future as Pastors and Churches, now that our charismatic visionary leader was no longer with us.
I first met Pastor Russ as a young Christian at a huge Easter youth camp held in the greater Adelaide region in the early 1970’s. It was the era of the amazing Jesus movement when thousands of young people were being powerfully swept into God’s kingdom. Pastor Russ spiritually impacted the hundreds of young people present, and I was greatly blessed by his anointed preaching that was so prophetic and relevant to where I was at in my walk with Jesus.
From those days I loved him dearly and developed the highest respect for this CRC Father in the faith.
Russ’s love and care for his wife Rebekah and his children was awesome to watch, and he was such a good example as a committed family man to many younger pastors.
Russ was also a great model on how to balance family/church/denominational roles, as well as being a successful businessman with a reputation of the highest integrity. Russ also inspired me as a 24 year old when I was called to lead the newly established Christian Family Centre in 1978. I learnt so much from His rich experience of doing life the right way as a dedicated Christ follower.
Pastor Hooper and his older brother Arthur joined the CRC in 1950 and soon became key leaders of our young and rapidly growing movement. Dudley Cooper in Flames of Revival’, the official history of the first 50 years of the CRC, writes that among the converts at Point Lonsdale were two young surfers Arthur and Russell Hooper who were soon baptised in the Holy Spirit and became on fire disciples of Jesus.
While I was re-reading Flames of Revival, one can see Pastor Hooper did it all in his service of Jesus through the CRC. He evangelised all across Victoria, planted Churches, built amazing church facilities and campsites, pastored several congregations, and developed a host of leaders who ended up as CRC pastors and Church planters.
The Ringwood Church in Melbourne that he led became a major centre of revival during the charismatic renewal era in the 1970’s, with tens of thousands of people being impacted by Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
On top of his direct ministries at local church level, he served on the Victorian and National CRC Executives for decades and led both bodies for many years. Most of our present ordained CRC pastors did not know Leo Harris our founder, nor Russell Hooper the first of the five men who have led the movement since September 1977.
Fellow pastors we are privileged to serve in a movement that had such capable spiritual fathers like Pastor Russell Hooper. He along with several early pioneers selflessly gave their all to create a movement that has recently celebrated its 75th birthday and whose future looks brighter than ever.
Pastor Russell Hooper was a giant of a man and a heroic pioneer who will never be forgotten.
On behalf of the National Executive and the National Council of CRC Churches in Australia we salute him and thank Jesus for gifting him to us as an early CRC pillar whose influence is still reverberating across our CRC world.
Pastor Bill Vasilakis
National Chairman-CRC Churches International
Senior Minister-Christian Family Centre Churches