Irreverent Norwood fans in the 1950s were using the stage name of the diminutive British actor and comedian Wee Georgie Wood while referring to a new player who was embarking on a long career as a Christian pastor and evangelist.
Norwood’s George Wood was born in Melbourne on 24 May 1931. His theological education was at the College of the Bible in Glen Iris and he was ordained in 1952. George was the minister at three different churches in Australia, including, we believe, the Beulah Road Church of Christ, Kensington Park. His love of football drew him to Norwood, where he played two senior games in 1955 and 13 Reserves matches, with two goals, in 1953 and 1955.
Reverend Wood and his wife Betty, a minister in her own right, saw their five children born in Adelaide before the family moved to the United States.
George served as senior pastor at Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas, from 1970 to 1981. After that, George and Betty continued to be involved in full-time ministry both in the US and Australia.
Betty died in 2004. Before suffering a stroke in 2012, George used to enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon ride on his Harley, to the chagrin of his second wife, Joan. In December 2019, at 88, he was doing well and living with his daughter Meredith and her husband in Wichita. George “retired” five times, only to return to some form of ministry. His last calling was as pastor of a small Wichita gathering named “WOW”, or Worship on Wednesday, a service of Lifesong Outreach under the sponsorship of Faith Community Church, founded by his eldest child, Philip.
Philip Wood graduated from Oral Roberts College in 1975 and then gained a masters degree at Lincoln Christian Seminary, Illinois. He retured to Wichita in 1978 to work with his father. He married Cathy Leason in 1980 and the couple established Faith Community Church to produce disciples through house churches without a central assembly or facility.
George Wood’s children Philip, Meredith, David, Elizabeth and Jennifer all married and he had 17 grandchildren among his growing flock of descendants.
P. Robins, D.Cox, T. Cox Dec 2019
* For the picture we thank Meredith Mork, daughter of George Wood