“It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it; you spread his love to everyone; you want to pass it on.

“Pass It On” (words & music by Kurt Kaiser) © 1969 Bud John Son

Recently two remarkable South Australian women who hold a significant place in the history of the Church of the Nazarene in Australia as vital members of the first pioneer generation, went to be with the Lord, at the age of 95. Distinguished members of the Church of the Nazarene in Australia since its very earliest days almost 70 years ago, with their pastor husbands, they both provided sacrificial sanctified service for more than 35 years of pastoral ministry to the Lord with their lifetime of participation at the local, district, and global levels, and their passion for their families, compassionate evangelism, and Nazarene global missions.

Iva May White, passed away peacefully on 31 December 2021. She was married for 46 years to former Australia Northern Pacific District Superintendent Rev. John N. White.  Her friend Florence Marion “Flo” Allder, who was married for 70 years to Rev. R. George C. Allder died on 30 January 2022 of COVID-19. She was the mother of Rev. Bruce Allder, Asia-Pacific Regional Education Coordinator and President emeritus of Nazarene Theological College in Brisbane Australia.

The Whites and Allders joined the small Adelaide (now Croydon Park) Church of the Nazarene.  It was the fourth Nazarene congregation established in Australia and the first in “the City of Churches.” The two families joined after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the series of special evangelistic services and holiness and testimony meetings in September 1951 in Gawler Place by their pastor, former Amy Captain W.E. Erle Spratt (1917-1981).  This was spread by the spontaneous witness of laypeople.  

The spark of love and holiness evangelism that was ignited during that revival saw dozens of saved and sanctified resulted ultimately in 6 young men and their wives serving in the pastoral ministry of the Church of Nazarene, still ripples until today.

Rev. John & Iva White: 1980

Iva May White (1926-2022)

Iva May Cooper was born on 20 April 1926 on a remote wheat farm on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Desert near the small town of Kimba, South Australia on the remote Eyre Peninsula, 464 km (288 miles) northwest of Adelaide, that had been granted by the government to her parents, William Clarence “Clarrie” Cooper (died 1960) and Linda Cooper (nee Bird) (1890-1978). Iva was the 3rd and youngest child, being the younger sister of Jeffrey Clarence Cooper (1922-1967) and Dulcie Olive Cooper, who had died at the age of 7 days in January 1925. After years of struggle and hardship, the Cooper family moved over 500km (300 miles) southeast to a vineyard next to that of her paternal grandfather at rural Maclaren Flat, South Australia, almost 50km (30 miles) south of Adelaide, when Iva was a year old. Both Iva’s father and grandfather were Methodist Lay Preachers on the local circuit. It was in this nurturing environment that Iva early learned the ways of God and willingly became involved in caring for others in the community. From her youth, this commitment to caring, became the habit of her life and while the situations and circumstances of life changed across the years, her commitment to serve the needs of others always found expression in her day-to-day living.

According to her family, Iva enjoyed a happy childhood, studying in a two-room schoolhouse, was both a Brownie and a Girl Guide, captained her local netball team, enjoyed cycling and picnics, and was well known for her sense of humor and practical jokes.

In order to play the church organ on the weekends, Iva studied piano in Adelaide, eventually passing her Board examinations. During World War 2, Iva served as a nurse’s aide at a convalescent home for soldiers in Adelaide from the age of 17.

As a young woman, Iva taught Sunday School and even preached once. After her father was increasingly debilitated by Parkinson’s disease, Iva returned to work on the family vineyard and even helped fight a bushfire that threatened their shed filled with gasoline.

The Coopers often hosted visiting Methodist preachers in their home. One of those who became a most welcome guest in the Cooper home was an engineering graduate and former RAAF Leading Aircraftman John Neville White (born 25 November 1925 in Glenelg; South Australia), a Methodist lay preacher from Seacliff, a beach suburb of Adelaide.

After an extended courtship, during which they began to attend the Church of the Nazarene, which met Sunday mornings in the Scout Hall at the inner-city suburb of Croydon Park, their engagement was announced in the Adelaide Advertiser on 20 September 1951, five days after the Adelaide revival commenced. On 14 October 1951, John was one of the young men who was recognized as a local minister by the Adelaide church, and soon began preaching as a Nazarene layperson.

On 20 September 1952 Iva and John, both aged 26, were married in a beautiful afternoon service at the Baptist church at Brighton, a beachside suburb of Adelaide, claiming the promise of Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (KJV). According to the eulogy delivered by Iva’s son-in-law Noel Peters, “John and Iva White had a strong and happy marriage and they entered wholeheartedly into a life of ministry together. Theirs was a tireless commitment to the needs of all and sundry who crossed their path.”

After a brief honeymoon, in February 1953 John resigned from a well-paid job as an engineer to accept the call to pastor the small Brisbane Church of the Nazarene, which was meeting in the home of church members in the inner-city suburb of Coorparoo, succeeding as pastor Rev. Albert A. Berg, who had been Superintendent of the Australia District since December 1948. Leaving family and friends and their home church, they rode their Royal Enfield motorcycle over 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) northeast through the Outback to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, where they rented a home initially at Cannon Hill. While they had little, their love for one another deepened and they were happy, especially after the birth of daughters, Collean Iva Stott, now a member of our Redlands church, and Dawn Elizabeth Peters. Over the years Iva and John created a loving and peaceful and busy home at Mount Gravatt.

John was ordained an elder in the Church of the Nazarene on 5 Mach 1957 by general superintendent Dr. Hardy C. Powers at the District Assembly held for the first time at the Coorparoo church, after being licensed as a district minister since December 1954. During their 27 years of pastoral ministry, the Coorparoo church became the largest congregation in the denomination in Australia; the church building on Cavendish Road was built; and extensive holistic and compassionate ministry was commenced, with flourishing ministry to children and youth, and the church building often filled to capacity. Many found the Lord, saints were sanctified entirely, and women and men were called into full-time Christian service. There were often seasons of revival and showers of blessing. In those years, several other churches were planted or revitalized in the Brisbane area. Among the keys to ministerial effectiveness were their personal practical pastoral visitation, prayer, and the preaching of the message of scriptural holiness. Particularly in their early years of pastoring, it was not uncommon for them to be called out in the middle of the night to intervene in neighborhood domestic violence situations and other emergencies. “Mr. and Mrs. White” were well known in their community as people you could always go to for help when you were in trouble. They seemed to know everybody, and everybody seemed to know them.”

Iva not only supported John in his ministry by hosting suppers and lunches in their home, but was also active in the Ladies meetings, Sunday School, and Nazarene Young People’s Society. Iva was especially passionate about missions, serving for many years as the local President of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society (now Nazarene Mission International), and later also as the District NMI President and Vice-President, and was in recent years an active supporter of the Mango Tree Respite Centre for those with disabilities in Tonga.

Reluctant to conclude their pastoral ministry at the Coorparoo church, after refusing initially to be elected, in 1980 John accepted the appointment on 23 February 1980 as the 2nd District Superintendent of the Australia Northern Pacific District by the Board of General Superintendents, succeeding Dr. A.A.E. Berg, who had died at the age of 71 on 17 November 1979 after almost 31 years as DS. At the conclusion of their pastoral ministry at Coorparoo, the then re-named and relocated Carindale Community church presented Iva and John a Distinguished Service Award in 1981.

Under his leadership, the Australia Northern Pacific District grew, and new churches were planted. To encourage the expansion of the District, the Whites left their beloved Coorparoo church and became charter members of the Toowoomba church, almost two hours drive west of Brisbane, and later charter members of our East Mt Gravatt church plant in June 1986. Even after John’s retirement in 1989, the Whites continued to serve the Lord until John’s promotion to Glory on 12 January 1999.

Even at age ninety, Iva still drove her car regularly on visits to lonely friends residing in aged care facilities, until she was admitted herself to an aged care facility at Wellington Point.

According to her family, “Perhaps Iva’s most outstanding characteristic was her transparency. There was simply nothing false about her, in her approach to life and her dealings with others.” “After a lifetime of service and commitment to others, Iva has spoken more and more in recent years of her anticipation of the life to come. She was ready for the higher call. She loved God and longed for His eternal presence.” Iva went to be with her Lord on 31 December 2021 and is survived by her daughters, Collean and Dawn, three grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.

Upon hearing of Iva’s passing, General Superintendent Rev. Dr. David W. Graves wrote: “Iva May faithfully served Christ and the church for more than 70 years as a pioneer member of the Church of the Nazarene in Australia, and as the faithful and supportive wife to her husband, John, as they pastored and served as district superintendent. … All those whose lives she influenced are testimonies to her effective ministry. We rejoice in knowing she has heard the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord.”

ANWD Missional Superintendent Rev. Roland Hearn wrote: “It is with deep and profound sadness that we learned recently of the passing of our sister in the Lord, Iva May White, who has been an exemplary example of Christlikeness and sacrificial service to the Lord through her more than 70 years as a pioneer member of the Church of the Nazarene in Australia. On behalf of a grateful District and its family of local churches and members, we offer our deepest and warmest condolences. … Speaking personally, I will long carry the imprint of both John and Iva’s faithful devotion to their Saviour. Iva’s determination to represent faithful support of her husband, and the church, and her own service within the church across many years has been an inspiration to many. … Long may the inspiration of Iva’s life be experienced and followed by those who had the profound pleasure to have known her.”

Rev. John Chalmers, who was one of her pastors since 1986, and who visited her regularly, wrote: “Iva White was a mother in Israel who served her Lord with love and compassion. Faithful to the needs of others. Sadly missed but in Glory with her beloved John”.

During the Celebration of her life on 26 January 2022, her family indicated: “In line with Iva’s commitment to practical caring, her family has requested anyone wishing to remember her not to send flowers but rather, consider a donation in support of the Mango Tree Centre for People with Disabilities in Tonga. This decision was taken before the recent volcano eruption which has severely impacted the nation of Tonga. Of course, a consequence of this event, is to make the need even more pressing.”

Those wanting to contribute to the Iva White Memorial Fund to support the Mango Tree Respite Centre for people with disabilities in Tonga can do so by sending funds to the ANWD:

BSB: 064-011 Account number: 00902745 Please mark contributions: “Iva White Mango Tree”

Florence Marion “Flo” Allder

Florence Marion Allder (1927-2022)

Florence Marion Evans was born in Adelaide, South Australia on 27 November 1926, the elder of the two daughters of George and Fannie Evans (nee Lee), and the elder sister of Millie. When Flo was a young child, Flo and her family moved 100 miles (160km) northwest to Coppertown, a small mining community located near Moonta, Burra, on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia.

During his eulogy shared on 4 February 2022, Flo’s elder son, Rev. Dr. Bruce Allder, shared some of the challenges of his mother’s childhood:

“Known as Flo, or Florrie, Mum, Grandma, Grandma Flo, she adored family. She loved to have contact with every member of the family and thrived on the conversations and stories of what family members were doing. Mum was our protector, our encourager, and our strongest advocate. She firmly believed that any of her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren could do anything and everything that they put their heart and mind to. Known for her cheerful disposition, her willingness to engage with people, and her gentle, hospitable spirit, you could mistakenly believe that Mum had a sweet, stable upbringing, nurtured by loving relationships. That was not her experience growing up as a child in Coppertown, the roughest and toughest part of what has become known as Burra in South Australia. This was a mining town made up of several mining villages, but only the poorest and toughest lived at Coppertown. Mum never knew her father. Her mother had just arrived by boat from England, having left three children in Britain, when she met up with an older man, George Evans, in Australia. In their short liaison, Mum and her younger sister were born. Fannie, her mother, worked in the toughest hotel in the toughest part of town and the two young girls somehow survived there for Mum’s first 9 years of life. Her mother then became sick and unable to care for her two daughters. Mysteriously (according to Mum) their father appeared on the scene and took them to Adelaide and placed them in a Salvation Army orphanage. Mum very tellingly says that the years in the orphanage were the happiest years of her childhood. Thank God for the Salvos. … Mum was so passionate about family and family connections. She had very little herself. It took literally years for Mum to receive positive responses from her sister and half-brother and half-sister, all who finished up living in Adelaide. Mum never gave up.”

In 1940, soon after the outbreak of World War 2, Florrie, aged 13, and her younger sister Millie, 9, were taken abruptly (and without permission) from the orphanage by their mother so that Flo could be put to work and be the breadwinner of the family. For a while Florrie worked in a munitions factory in Port Adelaide, and in her late teens was able to secure a job as a dental nurse and receive a liveable wage.

When Florrie was 18, she met Roy George Charles Allder (known always as George), then 17, at a birthday party in Adelaide, and they soon began dating. “A country boy, George moved to Adelaide for work and had promised his church-going Methodist mother that he would attend church every month. When Flo and George began dating, George and Flo began attending a Methodist church, faithful to George’s promise.” In February 1948 Florrie and George announced their engagement, and they were married on 13 May 1950 at the Methodist Church in Alberton, a suburb of Adelaide. Psalm 23 became their Psalm and they committed themselves to following Christ no matter the cost: “The Lord is OUR shepherd; WE shall lack nothing”.

Soon after they “met up with some other young people who were beginning to attend a church plant called the Church of the Nazarene. Florrie and George soon found a life that they had never dreamed possible. At an evangelistic crusade, they made a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ, a special event that ultimately shaped her life and that of her new husband. In a 2019 interview, Flo testified: “Being Christian, it was God first in our hearts and household. We didn’t have much and as we raised our first three children, we taught them to be happy with the simple things in life”. Their first child, Ruth Marion was born in August 1951, weeks before the Adelaide revival.

Influenced by the hardships of her own childhood, Florrie “set about providing a nurturing, loving family life for her family. She desperately wanted the family that she had never experienced as a child herself.” Dr Allder shared: “As little details emerged over her later years, our hearts ached for her and the pain she must have experienced in those early childhood years. However, Mum was not one to mope or self-pity. She had a heart for the isolated, those on the fringe, and those who appeared not to be accepted. She had experienced some of what these people went through. They became her mission. Our home was always filled with people, visiting missionaries, church dignitaries, and the occasional drifter. Mum would not be satisfied until she had personally and cheerily greeted everyone who had come to church. Mum and Dad struggled financially big time, but that was no excuse not to offer a place at the meal table for a visitor, or to be a listening ear to someone in distress. The church community was a huge part of her life.”

A supermarket manager and lay minister, in March 1964 George was granted a District Minister’s Licence. By March 1965 George accepted the invitation of then-District Superintendent Rev. A.A.E. Berg to pastor the Gawler Church of the Nazarene, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Adelaide, thus beginning almost 35 years of active pastoral ministry together in 4 churches in 3 different states. Her family remembered that “she was an incredible support to Dad in the pastoral ministry. In fact, it was hard to distinguish them apart, they were such a team. … She developed strong and precious relationships with people in the churches that Mum and Dad pastored”. While serving at Gawler, Robert, their youngest child was born in 1966.

In early 1972, soon after the passing of George’s mother Grace, George and Flo and 3 of their children moved almost 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) to Sydney, to pastor the suburban Birrong church and to complete George’s ministerial studies at the Nazarene Bible College (then located at Thornleigh), leaving Bruce behind to complete his pharmacy studies in Adelaide. After graduating from NBC in September 1973, George was ordained an elder in the Church of the Nazarene on the original Australia District by General Superintendent Dr. V.H. Lewis at the District Assembly of the Australia District at Margate, Queensland in March 1975.

In 1978 George & Flo became pastors at the Inala (now Place of Peace) church in the western suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland, leaving behind their youngest daughter Heather to complete her tertiary studies.

During their almost 9 years at Inala, the Sunday School and youth work grew dramatically, and Bruce, became an associate pastor while he studied at Nazarene Theological College in Thornlands. Bruce recalled: “Mum and Dad pastored the Inala Church and at least one carload of NTC students came each Sunday to help teach the growing Sunday School classes. Sunday lunch was for anyone who wanted to stay, and the table was just extended ‘just a little bit more as more arrived for lunch. It was a little like feeding the 5000! In order to do this and extend hospitality, Mum needed to find paid employment at least part-time. There was never any thought that ‘we just couldn’t afford it’. It was rather ‘what do we need to do to make this happen?’ Mum worked as a dental nurse, and a bookkeeper at NTC, to name a couple of the jobs she had. However, there were still the ladies’ bible studies, craft groups, advocating for missions, and helping in the Sunday school – and oh yes, being Mum to four children!”

By 1987 George accepted the call to pastor the Bundaberg church in central Queensland, leaving Robert in Brisbane to work. In 1992 they were honored by the Australia Northern Pacific District with a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of their sanctified sacrificial service to the Lord through the Church of the Nazarene. While serving at Bundaberg, in 1992 their daughter Ruth, who lived with them, died unexpectedly at the age of 40. In February 2012, tragedy struck again when their granddaughter, Belinda Allder, a former Nazarene missionary to Southeast Asia, went to be with the Lord at the age of 33.

In 1999 George and Flo retired from pastoral ministry and moved back to Brisbane. During their retirement, they lived for many years at Browns Plains, where they were valued members of the community and good neighbors until ill health necessitated them to move to the Esida Aged Care facility at Mount Gravatt East in Brisbane. The Allders were active members of the Inala (now Place of Peace) church, and in December 2018 they were also honored by the Inala church during its 50th Anniversary service. After 70 years of marriage, George went to be with the Lord on 24 August 2020 at the age of 92.

Dr. Allder shared: “Mum became frustrated at not being able to be involved in church life as much as she would like. She was such a people person that she didn’t want anyone excluded. Her mission was to make sure everyone had a place and was affirmed as one loved by God. Who would do what she had been doing for so long? She was energized by people as much as it might exhaust others. However, in her declining years when she was unable to attend church, she attended every church service she could that was conducted in the nursing home. She loved hearing the old hymns sung. She also intentionally became a prayer warrior. …. This became her ministry. Mum had a list of every family member and she prayed for each one every day. … She loved the Scriptures and gathered ladies on a regular basis to have bible studies together. I was leafing through her Bible this week and found it full of notes from those bible studies. Daily Bible reading was a habit.”

In his eulogy Dr. Allder concluded:

“Her final days were fighting Covid and because of her increased frailty, she just didn’t have the strength to fight it. In the last few days, Robert, Heather and Peter and Jacque and I were able to spend some quality time with her. Mum really hung on until Heather and Peter could come up from Sydney and on Sunday afternoon, while holding Heather’s hand she breathed her last. She was at peace being connected with the family that she had fought so hard to nurture. Mum leaves a legacy that is both an inspiration and a challenge to us. She had a challenging start to life and yet by the grace of God she became a conduit of love, laughter, and service. We are grateful for this amazing legacy. May we each one finds strength and joy in the life of one who experienced the miracle of God’s transforming love. We love you. Mum.”

Flo is survived by 3 of their children: Rev. Dr. Bruce G. Allder; Heather Huch; and Robert Allder; and 10 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and 5 great-great-grandchildren.

At Flo’s request, the Allder family has asked that donations be made to the BJ Foundation for Missions:

BSB:084 606
Account: 65 540 7717
Please label as “BJ Foundation”.

For donations to the BJ Foundation for Missions from international sources:
Bank Name: National Australia Bank
BSB: 084-606
Account #:65-540-7717
Name of the Account: Church of the Nazarene Australasia
Specify: BJ Foundation Address: 40 Woodlands Drive, Thornlands QLD 4164

Iva & John White 1980
1967: Rev. Max and Janet Stone and Rev. John & Iva White, and their families with Mary Bagley, missionary to Africa
Flo Allder (2021)

Submitted by Rev. Steve Walsh, ANZ Field Communications Coordinator

[1] “Pass It On” (words & music by Kurt Kaiser) © 1969 Bud John Songs

[2] George Allder: https://asiapacificnazarene.org/george-allder-australian-nazarene-pioneer-passes-away-at-92/

[3] Mendell Taylor, Fifty Years of Nazarene Missions. Volume III: World Outreach Through Home Missions (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1958): 81.

[4] In addition to Rev. John and Iva White and Rev. George & Flo Allder, these also included Rev. Peter & Enid Robinson: https://asiapacificnazarene.org/pioneer-in-australian-church-peter-robinson-passes-away/;