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Whose faith follow: Mr Charles Gahan (1895-1976)

From "They Finished their Course"

Charles Gahan was born in Liverpool in 1895 and spent his childhood and formative years in that city. One of a family of five, he did not have the privilege and blessing of being brought up in a Christian home. When in his teens, he attended a gospel mission being conducted at St. Benedict’s Church, Liverpool, and after having gone home one evening under deep conviction of sin, he read through the Gospel according to John, as a result of which he was fully assured of salvation through believing. The Word of God, the book that brought him into such spiritual blessing, was to be his guide for the rest of his earthly course. He continued to attend St. Benedict’s Church but found that those with whom he was meeting were not following the New Testament pattern. He lost no time in seeking such and eventually identified himself with Donaldson Street Hall assembly fellowship and commenced to serve the Lord in the Liverpool area with other young men.

After leaving school Mr. Gahan was in business in Liverpool until the outbreak of the First World War. He refused to take up military service on the grounds that it was not in accord with his Christian beliefs, and volunteered to undertake Non-combatant Service. This was refused and he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, as was the custom in those days. He assisted the Prison Padre, and during a subsequent period of convalescence and rehabilitation became more than ever convinced that his future lay in giving his life to the work of taking the gospel to needy souls.

Having sought the Lord’s will, with a colleague he did open air work with a gospel caravan in the towns and villages of Leicestershire. Following this he joined W Stevens, and later W D Dunning in evangelistic work in Somerset and Devon. It was during this period that he met the one who was to be his wife and help-meet for 52 years. After their marriage, they lived for a short time at Exmouth, eventually setting up home in Ilminster. From this home base he and his wife launched out in pioneering with the gospel in Lincolnshire and other parts of the country, having the joy of seeing many converted to God and permanent assemblies established. During one such campaign a great work of the Holy Spirit was evidenced at Oldland Common, Bristol, where some 60 souls were saved.

At the closing meeting of the Gospel Tent Mission Mr Gahan conducted at Oldland Common, the farmer who had kindly allowed the tent to be erected on his land and who with many others had been blessed during the mission, offered to give the land on which the tent stood as a site on which to build a Hall and commence an Assembly.

At Peterborough a marquee was erected where Mr. Gahan purposed to hold a gospel mission for two or three weeks. However, the interest was so great, with excellent numbers attending all the meetings, that the mission was extended to two months. The new converts and local Christians from various denominations pleaded with him to commence an Assembly, saying they could not return to their previous places of worship after experiencing so much spiritual help and blessing during the tent mission.

After much prayer, it was decided to venture out in faith, and to meet together as an Assembly Fellowship. They met at first in a room of a Temperance Hotel, which was far from ideal. After long searching they found a room and he stayed as long as he could to establish the work. These were very testing times for the little assembly, but in the goodness of God a Christian family from a Bristol assembly moved into the district and did much to foster and shepherd the small group. Eventually a new hall was built. Another assembly came into being at Cullompton, Devon as a result of a tent mission being conducted in that town.

In 1931, Mr Gahan went to New Park Hall, Barking. In this assembly he engaged in pastoral work for about 11 years. In appreciation of his work a brother in the assembly wrote, "In those days we had a splendid number of young people. It was these young age groups in particular who have special cause to thank God for the wise counsel and instruction they received from Mr Gahan’s sound Bible teaching". On returning to Ilminster he laboured much in the gospel and in the ministry of God’s Word. He felt that his first responsibility was to help the smaller assemblies in Somerset, and his second to serve the Lord wherever He directed. His preaching was fervent and penetrating and his ministry Christ-exalting and challenging.

It was largely due to his concern that a number of brethren in the West Country were called together to discuss the need of what is now known as the "Precious Seed" magazine, which was born out of a deep conviction that the great requirement of the moment was to re-affirm New Testament church principles in assembly life and service and to stimulate interest in gospel work. For 27 years he rendered faithful and untiring service in this work, both as secretary and as Chairman of the Committee, in addition to contributing edifying articles from his pen from time to time. The original intention of those concerned was to confine its distribution to the South-west of England and to South Wales, but it was not long before requests for copies came from all parts of the British Isles and from countries overseas.

Those who knew and worked with him will testify that he was a true man of God who, while faithfully holding the truth, ever manifested a loving and gracious spirit. Throughout his life spent in full-time service for the Lord, he and his wife proved constantly God’s love and faithfulness. They counted it a privilege to serve such a wonderful Lord and Saviour.

In 1972 he moved to Paignton to be near his children, and his ministry was much appreciated in the local assembly. He was called home to be with the Lord on 10th June, 1976 at the age of 81 years, having been in indifferent health for some time. The end of his pilgrimage came rather suddenly and he was called to the presence of the Lord, whom he loved so well and served so faithfully. Many today thank God for saving Charles Gahan, and giving him to the Church in his day and generation.

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