Wilkins, Michael Grainger

Wilkins, Michael Grainger

June 10th, 2018

Strengthened with the peace and the joy of the Lord, on Sunday, June 10th, 2018, Mike Wilkins crossed the finish line of his long run with cancer, and “fell asleep in Christ.” Lovingly remembered by his wife of 41 years, Deborah (née Street), their three grown children, Jessica, Benjamin and Joanna, and his son-in-law Andre Vanderlaan, and by his mother Doreen, his father Ross (deceased), his sisters, Jane Glen (Terry), Marnie Thomson (Bruce), and brothers, David (Clare) and Peter (Pat), all of Kingston. Mike was the son-in-law of Robert (deceased) and Muriel Street, and the brother-in-law of Sheldon Street (deceased) and wife Ruth, and Gordon and Heidi Street—and the uncle of 18 nephews and nieces.  Mike was the pastor of West London Alliance Church from 1984 to 2015. The Wilkins family will receive family and friends at WESTVIEW FUNERAL CHAPEL, 709 Wonderland Road North, London on Thursday, June 14th, 2018 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Friday, June 15th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m., at WEST LONDON ALLIANCE CHURCH, 750 Wonderland Road North, London with Pastor Jude St. John officiating. Private interment to follow at St. John’s Cemetery in Arva. Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Mike are asked to consider Compassion Canada or International Justice Mission Canada. 


Michael Grainger

Deb’s husband
Jess, Ben & Jo’s father
West London Alliance Church’s pastor (1984-2015)
And a grateful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ 

Michael Grainger Wilkins was born on September 21, 1954 in Kingston, Ontario to Ross and Doreen (née Grainger) Wilkins. When Mike was very young, his father’s work as a chemical engineer moved the Wilkins family 50 miles down the St. Lawrence River to Brockville. There, Ross and Doreen and (eventually) their five children, Jane, Michael, Marnie, David and Peter lived for 14 years. In 1971, a second company transfer returned them to Kingston, where Mike completed “Grade 13.”  In November of that same year, he came to an understanding of his need for a Savior, and he committed himself to the Lord Jesus Christ. And so his life was permanently changed.

In September of 1972, Mike began his university studies with the ill-fated idea of becoming a veterinarian.  After two years as a University of Guelph science student, he moved back to Kingston (once again) to study English Literature at Queen’s University. In those years, he wrote and had published several children’s books.

May 1977 was a big month for Mike. In the space of four weeks, he graduated from Queen’s, married his girlfriend Debbie Street, and began working full-time in Richmond Hill in the editorial department of his publisher, Scholastic Canada.

Two and a half years later, Mike and Deb entered full-time Youth Ministry, moving to and working at Caledon Teen Ranch. There, Mike had the time and opportunity to inductively study some of the New Testament. He chose Romans and Ephesians, and thus began to work out his theology.

About a year later, in January 1981, Mike was appointed “Minister of Discipleship” at Bayview Glen (Alliance) Church in Toronto. He was ordained by the Christian & Missionary Alliance in 1983 and, in September of 1984, became the solo pastor of West London Alliance Church. With this fourth move in seven years, Mike and Deb were beginning to feel like gypsies, but it was in fact the end of their transient ways and the beginning of Mike’s 31-year pastoral ministry at “West London.” For those mostly happy years, Mike remained under the influence of the thinking, writing, character and vision of his "Five (and then Nine, and then Five once again) Dead Men": especially C.S. Lewis, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Jonathan Edwards.

His ministry directed at first by the slogan: “Worshipping, Discipling, Caring,” and then: “Making Known the Greatness of God,” Mike devoted himself to “preaching the Word,”shepherding the flock,” and “entrusting to faithful men” (and women) what he had learned “that they might be able teach others also.”  

Over the course of this “long run,” Mike and Deb raised three children, all now adults. Jessica teaches high school English Literature in Toronto. Ben is a musician, living and working in Los Angeles. Joanna works as a nurse at Victoria Hospital, and lives here in London with her husband Andre Vanderlaan.

Along with child-raising, Mike’s hobbies were reading (and re-reading) old books, long-distance running, canoe-tripping, and writing and directing stage plays and musicals for West London.

Mike was diagnosed with cancer in April, 2013 and “fell asleep in Christ” on June 10th, 2018.

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Book of Condolences

Arnold and Frances ReimerDebbie and family, you have our sincerest condolences for your great loss. Though it is only temporary, it is painful. May our gracious God of refuge and strength in time of trouble, comfort, sustain, guide and provide all you need. His grace is sufficient and His love unchanging. What special memories we have of your beloved as a friend and co-worker God gave him a heart for truth, a skill in presentation, a commitment to discipline and purpose in ministry. Sickness but tested and proved his faith in our living God. You and all who have been blessed by his ministry and friendship have lost a valued example or righteousness. God bless and enable you and the children for these days and those ahead. With love, Arnold and Frances
Kendra SloanDeb & family, “Thinking of you, wishing you hope in the midst of sorrow, comfort in the midst of pain.” My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Marcus VerbruggeMy sincerest condolences. May the Lord's presence console you and all the saints Mike so graciously ministered to.
Mark & Leanne DartnellDeb, it was with such sadness that we learned of Mike's passing. Even though it was expected it is still difficult when the time comes. Be assured that our prayers are surrounding you and your family and may you feel God's presence in a very special way as He surrounds you with His love and peace during this time.
David ChotkaMay God’s Grace surround the Family in this time of loss. The battle was very long, and Mike lived this out, trusting Christ. May the consoling Presence fill your hearts with peace.
Amy McGregor (Bilyea)My condolences to the family at this time.
Stephen & Karen SwallowDear Deb, Jessica, Ben & Joanna, Deepest condolences on the passing of your beloved husband and father. Mike was a faithful and loving pastor, a wise mentor, and a dear, dear friend--he has left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him. You, however, are his greatest legacy--he was so proud of each of you and loved you all so deeply. He has indeed run the race and now, in the presence of the God he served so faithfully, can say with a knowledge that is no longer faith but sight, "Oh the wonders of your love!" May you find comfort in that same love at this difficult time.
Garry FessDear Deb, I am thankful for the positive influence Mike had upon my life over the years while working together on the CCNL board and praying together at the City Pastor's Prayer times (when we met at Salvation army and at city hall). Mike taught me that one could have strong convictions while at the same time wrestle through difficult issues. I saw first hand his compassion for people and the desire to always do the right thing. I was inspired by his dedication to the Word of God, his discipline to be fit, and his awe for the beauty of nature. It was a joy to know Mike. I am sorry that i will not be able to attend his funeral service as I am out of town. My thoughts and prayers will be with you during these days! Sincerely, Garry Fess Pastor of Royal View Church
Rory HintonDear Deb, please accept my sincere condolences on the occasion of Mike’s passing. Years ago he noticed a young man that had much zeal but little direction. He was kind enough to show me how to live out the daily discipline of 4:44, and to love within the grace of God that makes it all possible. He was my pastor. He was my teacher. He was my friend. I would not be who I am without Mike, and Mike would not be who he is without you. Thank you Deb. You, Jessica, Ben, and Joanna are in my thoughts and in my prayers during this time of grief observed.
Al & Liz VanderveenPlease accept our sincerest condolences. We THANK & PRAISE THE LORD for Mike's life and his influence on ours.
JemyDeepest condolences to the Wilkins family during this time of grief. Grateful for a life worthy of the gospel and finishing the race gloriously!
Ruth-Anne (Draper) GilbertsonI have always been grateful for the dedication of Mike to our youth group in Kingston, where he and the 3-fold sovereigns challenged us in deep study of the scripture and taking seriously our walk with God. Our love and prayers are with you Deb and your family. As well as Doreen, Jane, Marnie, David and Peter.
Brenda KerlsDeb, You are in my prayers during this difficult time. I know you will cherish every bit of time that the Lord let you have with Mike. He has left an amazing legacy and we know you will be joined together again in heaven. Yet...it is still difficult. Hugs from Colorado! Brenda
Mary Beth FellnerMy sincerest condolences. I don't remember how Mike and I started talking, as I read about his early life maybe it was because he talked to me about my dog who has serious health issues too. We would run into each other many mornings as I was walking with her and he was walking with his stick in hand. I enjoyed talking to him and learning a little more each time about his life . One memory I have is of the tree a beaver had chewed through and it was across the pathway...the next time I saw Mike he said he had come back with a saw to cut the tree up and push it down into the ravine. I think he got in trouble for doing that from him wife. I thought of him the other day realizing that I had not seen him for awhile. As I listened to his video, it was absolutely true when he said he looked healthier than he was, and I mentioned that when I saw him too! I will miss those early morning conversations.
Dale MacknessI had the privilege to know Mike and work with him in London on a number of projects and committees including Greater London Evangelical Ministerial which preceded CCNL. He was always a faithful servant for the Lord and has left London and the world a better place.May God continue to speak to people through his books and the memories that many of his congregation and friends will share for years to come. As I think of Mike's journey the last few years, I am reminded of what I believe to be one of the most amazing testimonies in the Bible related to suffering in Job 1:20, "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship." Mike could worship right up to the end which is really now a wonderful new beginning of worship and joy for him. Thanks be to God for our great Saviour!
Norm MillarPraying for you Deb and your children and so thankful for Mike's life, his faithful witness, bold proclamation of God's Word, and shepherd's heart. Mike has always been a godly example to so many, including me as I have admired and respected him for so many years. Cindy and I, along with our elders and staff at Harvest London, are upholding you all before our great God in this season of loss, but also thanking God for His grace in Mike's life and ministry. I believe Mike is hearing our Lord's words, "‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’" (Matthew 25:21).
Annette WestendorpDearest Deb, Our hearts are breaking for you and your kids as you experience this great loss of your beloved husband/father. We are thanking God for the profound impact Mike had on so many throughout his years of faithful service to our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be difficult for us to make it to the funeral, however please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers daily. We know that both our families are continuing to trust in the Lord for strength, peace, and comfort in the days and weeks to come. "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24. Much love to you, Annette, Joy, and the rest of the Westendorp family
Gillian KernaghanDear Deb and family, I read with sadness about Mike's passing to be with his Lord and Saviour. I know the hope that he and you have and that will provide comfort to you. It was a long journey. Praying for you and the family at this time Gillian
Barry SlauenwhiteDear Deb, Jess, Ben & Joanna. Our hearts ache for your loss yet we rejoice to know that Mike is in a place where he had reservations. A place he so eloquently described to others. A place where he is no longer suffering. He has left an incredible legacy and touched the lives of so many. I hope you can rest in knowing he is happy and rejoice in knowing that his impact for God's kingdom has been so large. Our prayers are with you. You are loved.
Grant & Marlene GilbertDear Deb, Jess, Ben, Jo and Andre. We are sorry we cannot be there with you at this time, but we are thinking of you. Our heartfelt condolences.
Steve and Christa KerrWe are so grateful for Mike. He was a source of tremendous encouragement to us in our early Ministry years and a source of friendship and wisdom always. His example will live on. We are praying for his family and church family.
Gary & Ilse Webb"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." (Psalm 116:15) Pastor Mike has gone to glory. His life and ministry touched many souls. We were first attracted to WLA because of Mike's right-on experiential preaching. Our thoughts and prayers are now with Deb and Family.
Gordon BucekMike will be remembered as a blessed and gifted pastor, an example of one whose success in ministry might be achieved without any formal theological training. He was a disciplined student of scripture, a creative thinker and above all a devoted follower of Jesus. His testimony in both living and dying has had a powerful influence on many. Jeanette and I convey our sympathies to Debbie and family. May the Lord’s grace and peace be with you. Gordon and Jeanette Bucek
David & Margaret SmithOur deepest condolences to you Debbie and your family on the passing of Mike!! He was such a faithful “man of valor” as a servant of God! God has used his life and ministry to touch many lives for the kingdom of God! Even in his last stages of life, fighting cancer, his testimony and God’s powerful work of grace in and through him is such an encouragement and a reminder to us all that God is always with us! I am thankful to God for the privilege of have Mike as our pastor and as a personal mentor, during the early days of my marriage, when Mike had a great impact in my theology and Christian walk!! More recently, I have appreciated much Mike’s 2 non-fictional books; I can hear him speaking through them! I am sure these will help to continue the impact of his life and ministry for years to come! Praise God for the hope we have in Christ, that Mike has run the race well and now is safe in the arms of Jesus!! Margaret and I pray that our God, The God of All Comfort, will comfort you Debbie at this very challenging time!!
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