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Noffs, Theodore Delwin (Ted) (1926–1995)

The Reverend Ted Noffs, who died yesterday at 68 after a long illness, was an unorthodox theologian whose compassion for people drove him past the point of normal fatigue.

Perhaps one of the greatest miracles of his career was that he managed to remain within the fold of a mainline church.

By his own admission he was accused more than once of being a heretic, but his strongest critics could scarcely have criticised his tireless work among people for whom the church remains almost entirely meaningless.

Last year, in Canberra, he spoke passionately of the value of youth and of the potential threat to the human race from drugs.

"I am a Catholic but I am also a Protestant," he said. "I happen to be a Jew but I am also a Buddhist. I am a Muslim. I am a Sikh. I am a Hindu. I am all these because I am a human being and no-one in the world can be a stranger to me."

Theodore Delwin Noffs was born in August, 1926. He was educated at Parramatta High School, Sydney University and Leigh Methodist Theological College in Sydney.

He began working for the Methodist Church in 1947 and was ordained in 1952. He was based in Wilcannia in 1951-52 and at Lockhart from 1953 to 1957. For the next two years he studied in the United States, gaining an MA. In 1964 he began work at what was then known as Kings Cross Mission.

The Wayside Chapel, as it became known, developed as a place of help for the destitute.

Mr Noffs became convinced of the value of an education system to show children how their bodies could be destroyed by drugs. The mobile Life Education Centres were then developed, largely with the financial backing of Dick Smith.

• Mr Noffs' widow, Margaret, said her husband was always motivated by a deep concern for the safety of children.

"Ted genuinely loved and truly believed in humanity and in particular he believed that Australians had developed a special spirituality which would one day be the basis of all religions, a spirituality based on tolerance, not dogma or bigotry," she said.

He is survived by his widow and sons Wesley, David and Theodore.

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'Noffs, Theodore Delwin (Ted) (1926–1995)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 October 2020.

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