VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Pentecostal bishop who used his iPhone to film a video of Pope Francis addressing other Pentecostals died July 20 after a motorcycle accident.
Bishop Tony Palmer, whom Pope Francis referred to as his friend, was riding the motorcycle when he crashed head-on with a car traveling in the wrong lane, according to Ian Findlay, principal of Embassy Bible College in Bath, England.
Bishop Palmer, a member of the independent Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, “was airlifted to (the) hospital and was in (the operating) theater for 10 hours, but the doctors could not save him,” Findlay told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview July 21.
The bishop served as the dean of the Bible college and was “a very dear friend,” Findlay said. “I’m praying the fruits of his ministry,” particularly his promotion of ecumenical cooperation, will continue.
Findlay said the bishop was in his early 50s and leaves behind a wife and two teenage children. As of July 21, funeral arrangements were pending.
Bishop Palmer, who was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in South Africa, was co-founder of The Ark Community, which describes itself as “an internet-based, interdenominational” Christian community. Previously he served as the director of the South Africa office of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, a U.S.-based Pentecostal group offering mega-prayer meetings around the world.
Pope Francis’ iPhone video message, filmed by Bishop Palmer in January, was addressed to participants in a conference sponsored by Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Addressing Bishop Palmer as “my brother, a bishop-brother” and saying they had “been friends for years,” the pope spoke of his longing for Christian unity and his confidence that God would bring about the miracle of Christian unity.
“Let us allow our longing to increase so that it propels us to find each other, embrace each other and to praise Jesus Christ as the only Lord of history,” the pope said.
Soon after Pope Francis’ election, Bishop Palmer was interviewed for the website of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. He said he had met the future Pope Francis in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2008 when he sought the then-archbishop’s permission to work with charismatic Catholics in the city.
Bishop Palmer met the pope again in late June, along with a group of other Pentecostal and evangelical pastors. At that meeting, Pope Francis announced his intention to visit the church of another Pentecostal pastor he’d meet in Buenos Aires, Giovanni Traettino. The pope is scheduled to make a private visit July 28 to Traettino’s church in Caserta, 130 miles south of Rome.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103