Mr Frank Bennett, aged 86, was called home on 16th October. Frank was first exposed to the gospel in meetings at Ballyrobert, near Ballyclare, at 34 years of age, and on learning his need he trusted Christ on 3rd June, 1960. The Lord was working with his family, as his only son, Frank, was saved that same night, while his wife, Martie, found salvation the previous evening, and a step-daughter was saved a few weeks earlier. He became involved with Free Methodists for a number of years. Sadly, Martie was called home in 1973. Sometime later, Frank was baptised and received into Cloughfern assembly. In 1975 he married Miss Ruth Stewart from the Bushmills assembly and continued in fellowship there for over 37 years. Frank originally came from the Bushmills area and developed a deep interest in the assembly, particularly in the Sunday School work and in distribution of gospel literature, while the highlight of his year was the annual Bushmills Bible Readings. Frank was a hearty and most helpful Christian, who was marked by kindness and generosity and will be much missed both by the assembly and in the district. He was a dear brother, a true example of "patient continuance in well doing" (Rom 2.7). The funeral service was conducted by Mr Matthew McKillen, assisted by others. He is survived by his son and two step-daughters.
Mr Thomas Bingham, aged 74, was called home on 30th September. Our brother was saved in 1950 and two years later was baptised and received into fellowship in the assembly at Ballykeel near Ballymartin in County Down. For the ensuing sixty years he was a faithful member of the local assembly. During the years he served as a Sunday School teacher and elder in the assembly as well as undertaking the work of Correspondent for the last thirty-three years. Our brother was a man of a quiet disposition who loved the Lord, His people, and the assembly. He took a very active interest in supporting gospel outreach and, with his wife Mildred, opened his home to meet the needs of many visiting preachers over the years. Tommy was a man marked by godliness and grace and he was held in the highest esteem by folks in the community for miles around. Several hundred people attended his funeral services which were conducted by Tom Meekin and Wesley Martin assisted by brethren Boyd, Campbell, Haugh, Palmer, Maze, Bingham, and Allen. Please pray for his widow Mildred, his three sons and two daughters-in-law all of whom are in assembly fellowship.
Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Devoy, aged 91, went to be with Christ on 8th August. She was saved in Belfast as a girl of 19, but moved to Portavogie on her marriage to her husband Johnnie in 1942. Shortly afterwards she was received into fellowship in the assembly at New Road, Portavogie, where she was a faithful member until, through ill health, she was confined to her home. The funeral service from the Gospel Hall was conducted by brother W J Nesbitt and local brethren.
Mr Thomas Gilmore, aged 85, went to be with the Lord on 26th August. Belfast has suffered the loss of a man who was active, earnest and faithful in his service for the Lord. Tommy was saved on 7th April, 1957 and shortly afterwards was received into the Maranatha Assembly where he remained until his home call. He was a man who gave 100% in everything he did and his dedication to the assembly and to the Lords Work was exemplary. As an overseer and correspondent of the assembly he played a faithful role in the organising of the Belfast Conferences where his presence was much appreciated. As a convenor his duties took him often from the platform as chairman to the reception door of the conferences where his warm welcoming smile and handshake endeared him to all. His passing leaves another gap in the ranks both in his own assembly and at Conferences. Men of his generation, and of his calibre, in whose lives faithfulness to the Scriptures and love of the Lord took prominence over self-promotion and love of place, are a great loss to the assemblies. His large funeral from Maranatha Hall was shared by Samuel Hanna, Philip McCartney, Ronnie Murphy, George Ewing and Dennis Bickerstaff, with a family tribute from his nephew Colin Gilmore. His wife Florence, who was his faithful helpmeet for years, is left to mourn his passing and to her, we offer our deepest sympathy in her loss. The day of reward cannot be far distant and both Tommy and his wife can be sure of a "well done".
Mrs Helen Graham, aged 88, was called into the presence of her Lord on 26th September, only 10 months after her beloved husband Fred. She had been in fellowship for over 60 years in Windsor Gospel Hall and took a deep interest in the missionary activity of that assembly. In 2006 she and her husband were commended to Laganvale assembly where again she was greatly appreciated. She was truly a present day Dorcas. Due to failing health she went to reside in Faith House in 2009 where she was lovingly cared for until her homecall. Her funeral services were conducted by local brethren who had known her for many years. Prayer would be valued for her family still out of Christ.
Mr Joseph Hanna, aged 97, was called home suddenly on 16th July. Joe was saved on 13th October, 1933, and soon after was received into the Lurgan assembly where he remained for many years. Upon retirement from business he came to reside in Waringstown, and he was then welcomed into the Waringstown assembly where he remained until his home-call. He was a respected elder, and an active member in the assembly, very helpful in the Bible Reading, and in the ministry of the Word to the saints. He was highly respected by everyone both in business and in the neighbourhood due to his very Godly Christian life over all the years since his conversion. His funeral services in the Gospel Hall and at the graveside were conducted by Jim Watson and assisted by Dr David McAdam (Chitokoloki). He is greatly missed by his daughter Doreen, and by the saints of the Waringstown Assembly.
Mr Beattie McFarland, aged 86, went to be with Christ on 19th September, after an extended illness. As a young man of 17 he accepted the Saviours words, "It is finished", as his assurance of heaven. He was baptised a short time later and received into fellowship in the assembly at Dunmullan. He and his wife Jean set up home in Enniskillen where they faithfully attended all the meetings of the assembly. Beattie taught a Sunday School class for many years and was an ardent supporter of an outreach work among children near Ederney. He was a peace-loving man, gracious and gentle in manner, and much loved by the saints; he will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife and two sons, their wives and families. His funeral service was very well attended, and was conducted by local brethren.
Mr Victor McGookin, aged 85, passed away on 20th September. Saved in his early thirties under the preaching of Frank Knox, Victor and his wife Sally were baptised and received into fellowship in the Bloomfield assembly in 1960. Ill health meant that he had to give up employment in his forties but he always retained a deep interest in divine and spiritual matters, seeking to live close to the Lord. He loved the gospel and was a keen and diligent student of the Scriptures. His contributions, particularly on Lords Day morning and in the Bible Reading, were most helpful, well researched, thought out and presented. Many commented at his funeral how they benefited from his help in both spiritual and practical matters. Failing health meant that he was less able to be at the assembly meetings, and in later years he was lovingly cared for by his devoted wife of 56 years. The last few months were spent in a Nursing Home where he passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord he loved. Malcolm Beattie, Willie Pauley and Stephen Hawthorne shared in the funeral services.
Mrs Margaret (Meg) Maxwell, aged 92. Our dear sister passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord after a long illness most of which was spent at Auchlochan Care Home, Lesmahagow. Meg was brought up in the village of Larkhall and it was there in early life she trusted the Saviour, was baptised and received into fellowship in Hebron Hall. Later she married Bill Johnston from the Roman Road assembly in Motherwell where they set up home. The home proved to be a blessing to many of the Lords people in these early days. Sadly, Meg was widowed in her thirties and worked hard to care for her 2 children Margaret and Douglas. Despite her great loss in life, she was a very cheerful person and was one who took every opportunity to witness and praise the Lord. She and the family were founder members of the assembly in the Forgewood area of Motherwell where they continued faithfully for many years. Later in life she married Jim Maxwell (deceased) and continued in happy fellowship there till the assembly closed due to decreasing numbers. The remaining part of Megs life was spent with the believers at Shields Road when times of happy fellowship were enjoyed. Please remember in prayer all those that mourn the passing of our dear sister, particularly Margaret and Jack and Douglas and Mary.
Mrs Agnes Ovenstone, aged 95, was called home on 2nd September after some weeks of immobility following a stroke. She spent many years on Merseyside with her husband Bill, much of it in the assemblies at Ellesmere Port and Little Sutton, then they returned to their native east Fife and shared in the work and fellowship of the St Monans assembly for the last 30 years. As mother of their four daughters and a true help-meet to her husband she carefully and efficiently managed their home and contributed faithfully to the assembly testimony. She had a kind word and a cheerful smile for all who met her even in latter years when living became more stressful. Remember Bill who is now being cared for in a nursing home. In spite of difficulties in seeing and hearing he maintains his steadfast faith and thankfulness to the Lord for their long life together.
Mr Jim Preston was called home on 3rd September in his 98th year. He was saved in 1931 whilst attending tent meetings conducted by late Frank Knox, received into fellowship at Matchett Street, Belfast and later at Fortwilliam, then Victoria Memorial Hall, for some 35 years at Knockbracken, Carryduff, and for the last 3 years of his life at Bethany, Finaghy whilst resident at Faith House which he referred to as his "5 Star Hotel". He was active in all aspects of assembly life, gifted in gospel and ministry, and, having a good singing voice, acted as precentor for many years. He evidenced a great love for his Lord and His people and was a diligent student of the Word of God. In earlier life he, with his beloved wife Sybil who pre-deceased him in 1999, was much given to hospitality. A number of the fellow residents at Faith House said they loved to hear him pray and give thanks for the food in the manner in which he addressed his Lord. A thanksgiving service for his life was held at Carryduff Gospel Hall conducted by S Thompson with a tribute from J Scott, his 3 sons Donald, David and Alan all sharing in the services and speaking highly of the grace of God in their fathers life.
Mrs Sadie Rainey, aged 92, was called home on 14th October. She was saved as a girl of 15 years on 19th January, 1936. Later that year Sadie was baptized and received into fellowship in the assembly at Lisachrin in County Londonderry. After her marriage in 1944 she and her husband Tommy ensured that their home was a place of hospitality for all the Lords people. They gave their lives unreservedly to the spread of the gospel and the edification of the local assembly. Sadie was a woman of a most pleasant disposition who evidently enjoyed salvation and loved the Lord Jesus. Following the homecall of her husband in 2010 our sister was faithfully cared for in the Prospect Nursing Home in Ballymena until her passing. A sizeable congregation attended her funeral services which were conducted by James Martin and Wesley Martin assisted by brethren McIntosh, Stewart, Nesbitt and Connor. Prayer is requested for her daughters Avril and Grace and their families.
Mrs Ena Wright (née Jordan), aged 93, was called home to be with the Lord on 3rd October. Raised in a Christian home near Coagh Village, she came to know the Saviour as a young woman of 20 years while working in Belfast. After her marriage to Mr William Wright she went to live in the Antrim area. When her husband died 25 years ago, she spent a short time in Cookstown and then came to Aughavey assembly where she was a faithful attender and took a good interest in spiritual things until failing health necessitated her going into a care home. Ena was predeceased by her stepson John. Her stepdaughter-in-law Eunice and stepdaughter Joan were faithful and devoted until her home-call. The funeral services were conducted by Mr Samuel Lees and Mr Uel Badger. She will be missed by her near relatives and the assembly.