It is with great sadness that Integrity Music and Kingsway Distribution announce the passing of Christian music pioneer and worship champion John Paculabo. John died on the evening of Tuesday 22nd January after a 6 month battle with cancer. He was 66.
Originally from Liverpool, England, John was signed to Kingsway in 1971 as an artist/writer with his band, Parchment. A year later they enjoyed mainstream chart success with the single ‘Light Up The Fire’ – a song which is still used in school assemblies throughout Britain today. In 1976 John was appointed as A&R Manager at Pilgrim Records, where he produced hundreds of albums. In the eighties John moved into copyright acquisition and management, relocating to Eastbourne in 1988 to accept a position at Kingsway as Director of Music. Within two years he became the Managing Director, a position that he held for over 20 years. John received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Christian Booksellers Convention in 2008.
John’s gentle spirit, relaxed approach, great sense of humour and love of people was matched by his desire to live with purpose and passion, with a tenacity to see lives transformed. John was much loved and respected, particularly for his ability to empower, support and serve others with humility.
John understood and believed that worship should never exist to serve itself, this belief inspired songs of substance that in turn fed the church with a message that changed the world. He was a dedicated visionary who was determined to mentor and develop songwriters. He established Thankyou Music into a global publisher, working in partnership with Capitol CMG Publishing. It was John’s passion that helped inspire songs such as ‘In Christ Alone’, ‘All Heaven Declares’, ‘Here I Am To Worship’, ‘Everlasting God’, ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ and ‘Heart Of Worship’ and so many more.
Over the years John’s focus was global song development. He was on a mission to discover indigenous songwriters from around the world, to translate their work and help new songs travel from nation to nation.
John was passionate about worship and justice, which led him and his wife Juliet to found the charity Ray of Hope. Over the last ten years Ray of Hope has brought education, health care and pastoral guidance to thousands of lives across the Amazon basin and established over 14 schools and a community centre. It has also planted pepper plantations and funded pastors to go into the deepest parts of the Amazon jungle to evangelise to the unreached.
John loved life, loved his family deeply, good food and cooking, loved the golf course, chick-flicks, Malbec wine, Everton Football Club, songs of substance and particularly the people of the Amazon.
The impact of his vision and legacy will continue to be felt through the worship of local churches on a global scale. Even though we know he ran a good race (2 Timothy 4: 6-8), we miss him dearly.
John was married to Juliet for 33 years, with whom he had three children and one grandchild, who also reside in England