The Society of Stephen

Jean Stone Willans and Richard J. Willans

Jean Stone Willans was a primary catalyst of the Charismatic Renewal. After experiencing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, she was a vital participant in the historic events at her home church, St. Marks Episcopal, Van Nuys, CA. Her subsequent pilgimage contributed to the transformation of twentieth century Christianity. The Blessed Trinity Society was organized in 1950 to promote the renewal. It served as the supporting institution that brought Jean to hundreds of churches, colleges, universities, and auditoriums in the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain. From 1961-1965, she edited Trinity, an influential magazine "dedicated to maintaining the 'fullness of the faith'". The magazine spurred the early growth of the movement and couned the term "charismatic renewal."

Called to Asia in 1967, the Willanses ministered in Indonesia and Taiwan before settling in Hong Kong (1968-1981). There they founded the Society of Stephen, which became a primary regional fountainhead of the Renewal, particularly among Roman Catholics. They also pioneered a ministry to drug addicts that drew international media attention due to the cosistent pattern of painless withdrawal (without medication) through faith in Jesus and prayer in tongues. They continue their ministry, based in Altadena, California.