Mr James Aiken, aged 87, of Carnlough County Antrim, went to be with Christ on 7th January. Brought up on a farm on the Antrim hills, he was saved as a teenager at meetings on a neighbouring farm under the preaching of Mr J Stewart and Mr T Wallace in 1940. He was one of a family of 15 and his brother is the evangelist Mr Albert Aiken. He was baptised, received into the assembly, and later married Mary his neighbour in whose parents home the cottage meetings were held. Together with his wife he became a stalwart of the Carnlough assembly. At one time its numbers were as low as five but they persevered and prayed and James was most delighted to see the numbers increase recently to eighteen. The assembly had a great interest in the spread of the gospel locally and globally. For about forty years they have carried on a missionary conference attended annually by hundreds from all over the province, and this has been used of God in the sending forth of labourers into His harvest. It is amazing and fitting that James homecall happened on conference weekend! He was highly regarded in his locality as a Christian gentleman and his huge funeral (one of the largest ever seen in the village) showed the esteem in which he was held. It was conducted by Drew Craig, Thomas Wallace and Willie Fenton, assisted by Albert Aiken and other local brethren.
Mr Alex Aikman, aged 83, was called into the presence of the Lord on 11th November after an illness patiently borne. Saved as a teenager during a series of gospel meetings in Ashgill, he was later baptised and received into assembly fellowship. He was associated with the assembly in Ashgill for most of his spiritual life and continued faithfully in happy fellowship serving the saints and the assembly in various capacities over the years, until his illness restricted him from serving among and then gathering with the saints. Our brother was well known and respected in the village, as he witnessed to and prayed regularly for, many of the local people some of whom he had known for many years. He was a brother beloved and will be greatly missed by his wife, his family and the saints in the assembly. Prayer is requested for the family and for the assembly.
Mr David Traill Brown, aged 63, called home to be with his Lord on 5th October, after an illness borne with dignity and great fortitude. David trusted the Lord on 13th March, 1956, and was baptised and received into fellowship in Union Hall, Cowdenbeath. He was also in fellowship in Kinross assembly, then latterly in Kirkmuirhill, Lanarkshire. David served his Lord in various ways - in Sunday School work, Youth work, with Christian recordings and Hospital radio work in Dunfermline, and also with the elderly saints in Auchlochan House, Lesmahagow. He preached the gospel and ministered to the saints in various assemblies throughout the country, and was a kind unassuming man who bore witness and testimony to all work colleagues and neighbours. Please remember in prayer his wife and family.
Mrs Harriet (Rita) Little, aged 73, was called home on 24th October after months of illness which she faced with much grace and fortitude, displayed in the fact that she arranged her funeral details including chairman, speakers, and hymns. Rita was saved when 11 years old, and baptised as a teenager. She was initially received into fellowship at Drongan, and was in fellowship briefly at Bradfield St. George in Suffolk before she returned home to Ayrshire where she was received into fellowship at the assembly at Annbank in 1958. Since 1985, our sister enjoyed fellowship in Ayr, firstly at James Street and latterly at the Gospel Hall, Prestwick Road. In all these years Rita was "always abounding in the work of the Lord" manifested by her faithfulness at the assembly gatherings, devotion for the Lords people, and her gift of hospitality exercised towards the Lords servants. Her love for the Lord and the fellowship of the Lords people was well-known, and was reflected by the large company which attended her funeral service. Rita will be greatly missed by all, but especially by her husband John, and their sons Gilbert and Kenneth and their families.
Mr Ernie McCahon, aged 88, was called home on 23rd December. He was saved as a boy of 15 and was for some time in fellowship with the assembly at Tivaconavey in County Londonderry. Since then, for the last 62 years, our brother was in fellowship in the Coleraine assembly. As well as being the precentor of the singing at the assembly meetings, Ernie took an active part in the Sunday School, open air preaching and the distribution of gospel tracts. His manner was characterised by kindness and affection for his fellow human beings, and thus he had a good testimony in the town. His funeral was held on 26th December. Despite the very snowy weather a good company of people attended the services at the Funeral Home and at the graveside where the gospel was preached by James and Wesley Martin. Prayer is requested for his sorrowing family circle.
Mr Sydney McDowell, aged 73, was called home on 26th November. He was saved as a boy of 10 in Apsley Street Sunday School and was associated with the assembly there until his marriage to Myrtle. Since then they enjoyed fellowship in Newtownbreda, Ballyhackamore, Frances Street, Newtownards and for the last 13 years in Central Hall, Bangor. Sydney loved his Lord and although not a public person was loyal to the assembly and consistent in his testimony and took an interest in all the meetings. His large funeral was from Central Hall, the service being shared by Brian Gilpin, Robert Johnston and Samuel Thompson, with Harry Reid at the cemetery. Pray for his widow Myrtle, and son and daughter Andrew and Carol. There was joy mingled with the sorrow when Andrew who had been living in England for many years confessed Christ as his Saviour on Christmas morning.
Mrs Virginia Patterson, aged 87, was called into the presence of her Lord on 12th December. She was saved in 1941 through the words of the lovely hymn, "Just as I am without one plea". She had early associations with the assembly at Cregagh Street, Belfast but on her marriage in 1945 she and her husband John were received into fellowship at Ballynahinch and served the Lord and his people faithfully until John was called home in 1993. She was given to hospitality and highly respected in her home area of Tullywest. For the last 16 years of her life she enjoyed fellowship with the saints at Carryduff and was a great encourager in the things of the Lord. During the last weeks of her life she was filled with the anticipation of eternal glory and spoke much of Him who loved her and gave Himself for her. Her two sons Gordon and Norman gave her much pleasure having been saved in early life and have gone on well with a keen interest in Christian work. They live with their wives and families in England. After a private family committal, a service of thanksgiving for her life was held in Carryduff Gospel Hall conducted by S Thompson where Scripture readings and fitting tributes to a life well lived for God were given by family members and a message on the greatness of her Shepherd and Lord from Psalm 23. J G Hutchinson and R Pickering shared in prayer.
Mrs Christel Robertson, aged 81, was called home on 20th October. Raised in pre-war Germany, our sister moved to Lanarkshire on marrying her late husband, Hugh. Having been saved through the preaching of the gospel in Newmains, she and the family moved north and for a time were in fellowship in both Peterhead and Wick assemblies. Latterly moving to Moray, Christel remained in fellowship at Lossiemouth until her home-call. Always a source of encouragement and godly example, our sister retained a cheerful and determined spirit despite several years of failing health. Her consistent attendance at the assembly gatherings endeared her to all the Lords people, and her passing has been keenly felt by all. Remember her son and family who had the privilege of caring for her during the latter stages of her illness. "Whose faith follow."
Mrs Ellery Thompson, of Ballymena went to be with the Lord on 8th December. Born 90 years ago into the Gordon family, hers was a home with a strong evangelical emphasis, and her life revolved around the gospel and going to hear it preached in halls, tents and cottages. It was at tent meetings near her own home when aged twelve that she was saved. She was friendly with the Thompson family often walking or cycling together to meetings, and this friendship led to romance and then marriage to Nat in Wellington Street Gospel Hall in 1948. She was of a happy disposition and is remembered for her helpful attitude and smiling face. She was a real help to her husband who has been for many years a shepherd among Gods people, and she was very committed to the work of the sisters missionary class - only eternity will reveal the results of her many prayers and parcels. Her influence affected family and friends; her children are all saved and her daughter Jennifer (Mrs Nat Rodgers) serves the Lord on the mission field in Norway. She had a private family funeral, followed by a well-attended service of thanksgiving in Cambridge Avenue Gospel Hall where Drew Craig gave a very clear, positive message about redemption and the believers hope in Christ. She will be greatly missed especially by her husband and family who showed their devotion by visiting her daily for the last five years when she was confined to a nursing home due to illness.