Mr William Church, aged 92, on 15th October. Looking back over the life of our brother we cannot help but conclude that the Lord has taken to himself the most loved, able and respected leader associated with the assembly in Greenock. Uncle Willie, as he was affectionately known, was born into a Christian home, and at the age of 9 trusted Christ as Lord and Saviour. He married Joan in 1951. They had a partnership which lasted 62 years, and every year of their married life his heart was resting in the wife that God had given him. He was not only a loving husband but also a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. As a person Willie had few interests apart from his Lord, his family and his church. He was an invaluable help in the work that he was engaged in as his range of ministry was diverse. He was a trustee and elder for 58 years, treasurer for 50 years, and was the missionary correspondent for 57 years, right up until last year. He was a preacher, teacher and pastor. What he preached he also practised as he served tirelesly in nearly every activity. He was a 20th century Barnabas who had a tremendous interest in the welfare of other people. But above and beyond all of his work, he was best known for the fact that he was essentially a one-to-one man, as he bore an attitude of courtsey and kindness in his approach to people with a great capacity for friendship. He was in the words of Proverbs 17.27 a man of understanding, a man of an excellent spirit, a man greatly beloved. He has left us with a legacy for which we are indebted. His passing has left a great void in the family, and there is a void in the assembly, his place, his seat being now empty. He will be greatly missed.
Mr Jim Dugan, aged 85, was called home on 9th January. He was saved in 1972 when Messers Boland and Grant preached in a barn at Comber. His wife Betty and one of their family were saved at the same meetings. Some weeks later their three other children trusted Christ as well. Jims eyes were truly opened and showed immediate signs of Divine life. After a few years of searching the Scriptures he was baptised and with his wife came into the assembly at Comber. Jims spiritual influence not only affected his children but all his grandchildren whom he loved, and they all loved him. This was seen during his illness when for over a year they were all so attentive to him prior to his passing. His large funeral was conducted by R Pickering, a fitting tribute was given by his son Gareth, while D McMullan, D Brown and J McMullan shared in prayer.
Mrs Annie Gibson, passed away peacefully on 26th December in her 89th year after 3 years of illness patiently borne. With her husband James she was associated with the assembly in Dromore, Co Down from the early 1950s and last year they celebrated 60 years of married life together. The funeral services were conducted by Mr John Rogers and Mr Tom Meekin assisted by local brethren, and words of comfort and challenge were heard by a large company of mourners. Prayer is requested for her husband James, her sons Laurence and Will, her daughter Olivia, with their spouses, her grandchildren and great grandchildren and her two sisters Agnes and Isobel.
Mrs Maude Hill, went to be with Christ on 29th November. Our sister was born in Belfast in 1920, and attended meetings in Cregagh St Hall in childhood. During the war, Maude served in the RAF. Following her marriage to Walter, they moved to Bangor, where they cared devotedly for their two sons Adrian and George, both of whom were severely handicapped. It was after the death of the boys that Maude was saved, on 13th December, 1972. Walter was saved subsequently, and they were both received into fellowship at Ebenezer, Bangor. Following Walters homecall, Maude moved to the South Down area, and was in fellowship in Castlewellan, and latterly in Kilkeel. Her last years were spent in Slieve Roe House and in Brooklands Nursing Home. The funeral service, in Belfast and Clandeboye Cemetery, Bangor, was shared by Kenneth Newell and Robert Shannon.
Mr James Truscott, aged 66, passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord, after a very trying illness, on 4th January. Our dear brother trusted Christ at the age of 15, and dedicated his life to reaching out to others with the gospel. He immersed himself in the Scriptures and took a keen interest in all assembly matters at Shields Road Gospel Hall, Motherwell, becoming an elder there some 9 years ago and remaining there until his homecall. He was a faithful and consistent brother and was involved in all aspects of the assembly. In the latter part of his life he was also involved as a trustee with ShareAfrica, where he will be sadly missed. Please remember his wife Ray, his mother Lily and the rest of the family in your prayers.