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Whose faith follow: Mr Robert Curran (1892-1951)

J G Hutchinson, Belfast

Mr Curran was born in Co. Down in the year 1892, one of a fairly large family. Living in the Mullafernaghan area of Co. Down he heard the gospel early in life, and as a young man was deeply troubled about eternal things. He was saved in 1916 and soon after was baptised and received into the assembly. After conversion, he had a burden for the perishing souls around and a desire to preach the gospel to them, "an urge to preach, not an itch", as Mr H Baillie at times so tersely put it regarding some. Though only saved for two years, in 1918 he stepped out in full time service for God, in which he continued faithfully until "from life’s fever, his God set him free". The short time elapsing between his conversion and giving up secular work to devote himself to the ministry of the Word was fully occupied in gospel activities, our brother seeking to prove God and at the same time proving to the Lord’s people who observed him, not only the reality of his profession but a measure of gift and sincerity in the things of God.

During the early years of his preaching career, he sought the company and fellowship of older and seasoned workers, men who knew God and His ways, such as Mr S Wright, Mr W Rodgers and others. These servants of the Lord were an excellent example for young men, and he, in turn, was an excellent example in seeking their company. Often, in later life, he would refer to these days and to how much he owed to such good men. In the years to follow he preached much with Mr W Bunting, Mr C Fleming, Mr W Johnston and others and with them he saw the hand of God in the salvation of souls.

Mr Curran had not the most free and easy way with him. His temperament made him somewhat retiring and it was not easy for him to engage in general visitation amongst the unsaved. But he was a student of the Word and the time other gospel preachers profitably spent in trying to get the unsaved in, he used to equal profit in the close study of his Bible.

In the preaching of the gospel he was a solemn, weighty preacher, and when God’s presence was in the meeting and the Spirit of God moving, many a sinner trembled and cried to God for mercy. He saw many saved in various places, some who later became leaders in assemblies, and others full-time workers. Mr T E Wilson, that most acceptable and valued servant of God who spent over 40 years in Central Africa and later travelled world wide ministering to God’s people, was saved when Mr S Wright and Mr Curran had meetings in Belfast. Mr Curran had an abhorrence of anything light associated with the gospel, and, being of that solemn disposition, he desired to see it in others. In ministering to the saints, his diligent study was reflected; the messages were not only in power, but also at times anything but on the surface. He opened up the Word of God to the saints, particularly at the many conferences throughout Ulster to which he often went and was wont to minister.

For many years, our brother lived in Banbridge, a convenient centre from which he could easily reach all over Ulster in a short time. He had four sons, one, Samuel, who went to Brazil and did excellent missionary work for the few years before God called him home very suddenly. He is mentioned in the book Missionaries from Ireland.

Twenty years before his death, Mr Curran underwent two major operations, resulting in a weakness that in many ways limited his activities. While he continued to preach and teach, these years were a time of testing and trial but they proved to be a period when God undertook for His servant, meeting his needs, and continually he praised God for His faithfulness and the loyal interest of His people.

For a number of weeks, he evidently felt the end was approaching and his frequent references thereto indicated that he looked forward calmly to his exodus. He took a real longing to visit the Ballymagarrick area where he had laboured much and where God had worked. Arriving there, he took seriously ill. All that was possible was done for him; he was brought home but the end was near. The labourer’s task was over, and on 15th December, 1951 God released him from pain and weakness and he was at home "with Christ". He was buried in Banbridge New Cemetery, where often it was his responsibility to conduct the funeral services of many of the Lord’s dear people. Many came from over a wide area to pay their respects to a useful servant of Christ, and amid scenes of sorrow another of Ulster’s workers was laid to rest. Mr E Allen and Mr W Bunting were responsible for the services in the home and at the graveside.


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