James Duffecy (1912 – 1983) evangelist and author
At the outbreak of World War Two, Open Air Campaigners began welfare work in the military camps. Duffecy served at Largs, Greta, Rutherford and Bathurst camps. After the war Duffecy found his real life’s work, preaching Christ in the open air. Equipped with strong voice, pleasant personality, tenacious spirit and well-equipped gospel van he began daily visits to the Sydney water front, as well as lunch-hour factory meetings, boldly presenting Jesus Christ.
James Alfred Cave Duffecy was born in 1912 in Newtown NSW.
The name Duffecy is of French and Irish background and although Jim Duffecy’s parents claimed to be Roman Catholic on his father’s side, they did not go to church. At an Open Air Campaigners (OAC) beach Sunday school at Coogee, twelve year old Jim Duffecy accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. After leaving school he went to work for a Sydney newspaper in the engraving department and in the hurly burly of the industry was able to prove Christ in his life. Jim became a voluntary worker at Sydney beach Sunday schools with his friend Ken Werry. A big event in his life was becoming leader of the Coogee team. In 1936 Jim married Joyce Mayhew and they had sons Hugh, Peter, Christopher and two daughters Lynne and Susan.
At the outbreak of World War Two OAC began welfare work in the military camps. Duffecy served at Largs, Greta, Rutherford and Bathurst camps. After the war Duffecy found his real life’s work, preaching Christ in the open air. Equipped with strong voice, pleasant personality, tenacious spirit and well-equipped gospel van he began daily visits to the Sydney water front, as well as lunch-hour factory meetings, boldly presenting Jesus Christ. He was a street evangelist who gave opportunity daily for people to repent their sins and trust Christ for salvation. Countless people found new life in Christ and new hope in life through this ministry. He also conducted many tent missions around eastern Australia.
Then came the time for OAC to expand interstate and overseas under the direction of Les Werry. As Field Leader Duffecy did the spade work for the opening of OAC in New Zealand, Canada and the USA. When Les Werry resigned, Duffecy became International Director.
His theology was convinced evangelical. OAC training made sure that the voluntary workers and staff knew the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The white board, ladder lettering and paints were Duffecy’s tools of trade which he mastered early in his Christian life. He had a giant collapsible board and easel that he carried with him around the world as he gave illustrated talks both at open air and indoor meetings.
Preaching in the open air was a very special characteristic of Duffecy’s life. His full-time ministry from 1939-83 was with OAC. On the last Wednesday of his life he was preaching in the open air and died early Thursday.
Duffecy wrote four books: Another Sherlock Holmes in England, Sketchboard Sermons, Sketchboard Sermons No. 2, and The Truceless Warfare Advances.
He died in Toronto, Canada, on 17 November 1983.
At a special Memorial Service held in Sydney, the Rev Bernard Judd said of Jim Duffecy: ‘His was a victorious and fulfilled life’.
Jim Duffecy led the initial Open Air Campaigners team and had a profound impact upon the entire history of the work in North America. Mr. Duffecy and his dear wife, Joyce, were born in Sydney, Australia. He was converted to Christ at the age of twelve at an Open Air Campaigners meeting at Coogee Beach. Joyce was four years old when the Lord saved her in Sydney. For twelve years, Jim was employed as a photo engraver on the staff of “The Sydney Sun,” one of Australia’s largest newspapers. Joining the staff of Open Air Campaigners in 1940, Mr. Duffecy spent three and a half years working with the Australian Army.
Jim and Joyce Duffecy were greatly used of the Lord in establishing and expanding the work of Open Air Campaigners worldwide. After World War II, he became a staff evangelist in Sydney before being appointed as Field Director for OAC. In this position, he opened the first overseas branch of Open Air Campaigners in New Zealand in 1954, then during 1956, led the team mentioned above to Canada and the USA, which spearheaded the commencement of the first North American branch in Chicago. Jim and Joyce moved their family to the States the next year where Jim became North American Director and later opened the New York City branch during the 1964 World’s Fair. He was appointed International Director at the first International Conference of Open Air Campaigners in 1966 and in 1978 became the International President.
Source : http://www.oacusa.org/history.php
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