Mr James Robert Agnew (Jim), called home on 14th October. Born in 1950, he was saved at 19 years of age, and was baptised and received into fellowship. In Annalong assembly he was a Sunday school teacher and active in gospel work from then until he was called home after a short illness. He was well-known amongst most assemblies in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Prayer valued for his wife Shirlene, his father and brother and sisters, not yet all saved.
Miss Alice Allen, on 19th December, aged 79, departed this life very suddenly to be with Christ. She was an esteemed member of the Limavady assembly for many years. She was saved in 1967 at a series of gospel meetings in the Limavady Gospel Hall conducted by our late brethren Mr A Lyttle and Mr J Brown. Our sister was intending to be at the Breaking of Bread on the day of her homecall, but instead of being at the Lords Table she was in the very presence of the Lord in Heaven. The funeral services were conducted by J Martin and D Ussher. Many of her relatives, neighbours, and friends who are not yet saved heard the gospel, and many spoke of her spiritual qualities. Prayer will be appreciated for those related to her who are in need of Gods salvation.
Mr Willie Barr. It was with great sadness that, on 6th December, we laid to rest our dear brother who, after a long struggle with poor health, went to be with his Lord in the early hours of 1st December. Willie came to know the Lord in the Springburn assembly in Glasgow and was a member there for a number of years. He gave valued service to that assembly and others in many parts of the country in teaching from his great knowledge of Scripture. It is more than forty years since Willie and his wife Margaret and their young family came to live in Cumbernauld. Willie has been a father figure to many in this new town, and Mossknowe Gospel Hall has lost a great Bible teacher and spiritual mentor. However, we know that now for Willie there is the joy that he has looked forward to for many years. Please remember Margaret and the family in your prayers.
Mrs Margaret Beck was called home on 13th January, aged 87. She was saved when she was seventeen and afterwards was baptised and received into fellowship in Shiloh Hall, Coatbridge. With her husband Willie, she spent most of her 65 years of married life in Shiloh Hall and latterly in Hebron Hall. In her later years she attended the gatherings whenever health permitted her. After a time in hospital she passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord.
Mr James Castles, on 3rd December, aged 96. He was saved in the nineteen thirties, then, after obeying the Lord in baptism, was received into the assembly at Lurgan. Some years of his life were spent in Glasgow where he enjoyed the fellowship of the Harley Street Christians. In returning to Ireland he spent some years with the saints at Parkgate, then finally came back to Lurgan where his closing fifteen years of life were spent in happy fellowship. He and his wife May, who is in her 93rd year, were great meeting attenders and will be greatly missed. Clear gospel messages were given at his funeral by brethren E Russell and D Gilliland.
Mrs Laura Donaldson, on 22nd December, aged 95, was called home to be with Christ which is far better. She was saved on 30th June, 1955 when Mr W Bunting and M R McCullough were preaching in Gransha. The lines of the hymn, "Jesus Died for Sinners", brought light to her soul, and she rested on Christ for salvation. She was in happy fellowship in Gransha. Prayer valued for her family. Sam McBride and John Rogers spoke at the funeral services.
Mr Gerald Ewart, on 5th December, aged 75. Saved as a boy in Belfast, he came to reside at Killycurragh, where he was baptised and received into fellowship. He was also a member of the Cookstown, Moneydig, and Magherafelt assemblies, but for the past twenty years his Christian life was spent in the assembly at Aughrim where he was held in high esteem and was a respected overseer. His wise counsel was often sought after, and his gift in preaching the gospel and ministry both at home and further afield was much appreciated. Prayer is requested for his wife Maisie who feels the loss most deeply as they were a very devoted couple. The large funeral services were conducted by Mr Jim Wishart and Mr Harry Andrews, assisted by local brethren Mr S Smyth, Mr D Black, and Mr W Pickering.
Mr Robert Hamilton. Robert was born in Saltcoats on 22nd November, 1910, and went home to be with Christ on 23rd November, the day after his 94th birthday. Robert was converted to Christ along with other members of his family during tent meetings held in his hometown in 1930 when he was a young man of 20. Shortly afterwards he joined the assembly who met in Vernon Street and later on in their new hall in the High Road, where he served his Lord faithfully for over half a century as a much loved and respected elder. Latterly he met with the saints in the Loan Hall, Stevenston and was likewise much loved and respected there. Roberts lovely disposition and discreet wisdom bore abundant testimony to the fact that his personality was produced by the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart and life. Roberts wife Jean, who is now very frail, and their only daughter Margaret would value your prayers for them and the rest of the family at this time.
Miss Emily Mackin, called home on 30th December, aged 95. Saved at the age of 18, she was received into the Stubby Hill assembly where she was in happy fellowship for the remainder of her life until unable to attend. She was a quiet unassuming Christian who loved the Lord and was faithful to all the assembly gatherings; in earlier life she rode her bicycle long distances to attend conference meetings. Emily bore a good testimony among her neighbours and friends until she went to stay in the residential home in Ballynahinch, and in the last few weeks of her life was in hospital, from whence the Lord called her home. Her large funeral service, which was from Plantation Gospel Hall, Lisburn, and conducted by A Aiken and J Shannon, was a fitting tribute to the testimony she bore. Remember in prayer two brothers, one saved, also many nephews and nieces.
Mrs Mary Helena McCormick, on 10th December, aged 76. Our sister May, as she was affectionately known, was saved in 1947 and spent most of her Christian life in fellowship with the saints of the assembly in Lurgan. She, with her husband Sam, who predeceased her on 9th September, were a quiet godly couple and excellent attenders at the assembly meetings. Our sister is survived by a brother and two sisters for whom prayer would be valued. Brethren D Gilliland and J Lennox gave clear gospel messages at the funeral services.
Mrs Mary Patterson, called home on 15th December after a protracted illness. Saved on 3rd March, 1953 at meetings in Bushmills conducted by the late E Allen and W Johnston, she was received into Bushmills assembly, and was a stalwart for the truth and a lover of the gospel. Her contributions to the Lords work at home and abroad are fully recorded in heaven. A mother in Israel whose home was open to the Lords people, she was well-known and greatly loved by all. Her large funeral was an evidence of this, and was conducted by J Lennox, W J Nesbitt, M McKillen, D Kane and S Jamieson.
Mrs E M G Smyth, on 28th December, aged 87. Saved when she was fourteen after meetings held by Mr J Geddis, she was baptised soon after, and received into Growell assembly where she and her late husband H Smyth, who was called home in 1993, were devoted and loyal members. She was a gracious, spiritual lady, who adorned the doctrine in every way. Her daughter and her husband John McDowell serve the Lord in the gospel in Australia. The size of the funeral from Dromore Gospel Hall was an indication of the esteem in which she was held, and many heard the gospel and words of comfort when J G Hutchinson and S Ferguson, assisted by local brethren, conducted the services.
Mrs Sarah Stothers, on 18th December, aged 83 years. She was saved in September, 1937 at meetings locally conducted by Mr E Allen and Mr K Duff, was received into the Birches assembly in 1939, and was greatly admired for her love to the Lord and loyalty to the truth. In spite of physical difficulties and frequent hospitalisation, she was present at the Lords Supper the week before her homecall. She was fervent in prayer and given to hospitality, and her funeral was large and representative. Mourned by her husband and family. Prayer requested for some not saved.
Mr Norman Wheeler, on 25th December, aged 66. He was saved at the age of eleven, in his parents home, and after being baptised was received into fellowship in the Abbey Road Gospel Hall, Barrow-in-Furness where he commenced his life-long involvement in tract work. For many years he has been in fellowship in the Risedale assembly in Barrow. He was faithful in his attendance at all the assembly gatherings and served as a Sunday school teacher for a number of years. Although he rarely took a public role, Norman was very active in undertaking a wide range of practical work in the assembly. He will be greatly missed. Prayer for his widow, Pat, his parents, and his three children and their families would be valued.
Mr Robert B Wilkinson, aged 27, went to be with the Lord on 15th January. Robert was saved on 7th April, 1998 through the words of John 6.37, and was soon afterwards received into the assembly at Clonkeen, Co. Antrim. He was known for his kind and gentle spirit, and had an interest in assembly activities and in the need of those without Christ. His father and mother are well-known and respected amongst the saints, and have valued the great support and prayers of the Lords people. Continued help and prayer would be appreciated, remembering his two younger sisters and younger brother. The funeral was very large and representative, and was conducted by Mr J G Hutchinson and Mr J Fleck, with Mr J Lennox, Mr C McDowell, and Mr I Hammill assisting.