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With Christ

Mr Albert Aiken (Evangelist), aged 82, was called into the presence of his Lord on 10th October after a prolonged illness. He was the youngest of a family of 15 and was saved as a boy of 12 in Carnlough, Northern Ireland through the words of John 3.16 under the preaching of Harold Paisley. He was soon baptised and received into fellowship in Carnlough and displayed a great interest in spreading the gospel. His work as an electronics engineer brought him to fellowship in lower Belfast. He married Miss Margaret Emerson in 1955 and moved to the Ormeau Road assembly where Margaret had been in fellowship. They had a family of two boys and one girl and in time had the joy of seeing them saved. Albert had a great desire for the spread of the gospel. This led to series of meetings sharing with other brethren and seeing the hand of God in salvation. He and Margaret had an exercise about serving the Lord in Malawi and everything was in place for moving there when the door was closed to them. It was a big disappointment. However, the brethren of his own assembly encouraged Albert, and in 1973 they commended him to the work of the Lord. Albert put his heart into evangelising through preaching and visitation, having a pleasing personality. He led the singing in the large conferences in Belfast for 40 years. Albert and Margaret moved to live in Lisburn and met with the saints at Wallace Avenue when at home. He partnered with a number of brethren, but for the greater part with the late Jim Hutchinson and latterly with John Rogers. The Lord richly blessed the work over the years and many souls were saved and added to the assemblies. Following a car accident when both of them were seriously injured and needed much care, the assembly were a great support. Albert was faithful to the Word of God declaring the whole counsel of God simply and clearly. He loved to preach in the open air and was responsible for commencing the annual two weeks' meetings in mid-July at the harbour in Carnlough, his native village - these meetings have continued for about 25 years. For many years he also helped annually in the gospel at Broughshane, Kells and other places. He had a great interest in missionaries and their work and was involved in starting an annual Missionary Conference in a large building belonging to his brother in Carnlough. Albert chaired the meeting each year while able and the conference continues with a good interest. He was called upon to conduct many Christian weddings and funeral services which he did with great dignity. Sadly, in 2005, he suffered a stroke leaving him unable to preach again. A further blow came in 2008 when his wife was called into the presence of her Lord and hence Albert had to go into care in Faith House. He longed for heaven, and his daughter heard his last words: "I love the Lord". At the grave Samuel Thompson and Marriot Coffey prayed. A memorial service followed in Plantation Gospel Hall where a large company of people came together showing the high regard in which Albert was held. The service was chaired by Samuel Thompson, and Ronnie Cairns, John Rodgers and Sam Patterson took part. Albert is survived by his son Andrew, his daughter Rosemary and son Jonathan, with their wives and families, and his last surviving sister Martha.

Mrs Nancy Crawford, aged 99 years, was called home after a short illness on 13th December. She was saved in her mid teens when she assisted a Baptist Minister visiting the town who asked her for directions to the Baptist Manse. She carried his case to the manse and before leaving he asked her if she had ever given thought to becoming a Christian. That morning A Grant Gibbs, the Baptist Minister, had asked the Lord to lead him to some soul. In broad day light in the open air she accepted Christ as her Lord and Saviour. She was baptised and received into the assembly at Elim Hall, Plains before moving to Hebron Hall, Airdrie where she was for over 40 years and then to Ebenezer for the last 29 years where she and her late husband John faithfully served the Lord. In early days she was involved in Sunday School work, throughout her life showed generous hospitality, and in later years had a great interest in missionary work. The large funeral attendance reflected the testimony she had in the wider family, the local assembly, and the surrounding community as a respected Christian lady. Remember the family in prayer.

Mr Leslie Erwin, aged 85, passed peacefully into the Lord's presence on 20th November. He was saved as a young man in October, 1945 when attending meetings conducted by the late Joe Stewart and Tom Wallace. Soon after, he was baptised and received into the assembly at Mullafernaghan, where he remained all his life. He was an elder in the assembly for many years, and a student of the Scriptures, often giving help in ministry. In September, 1986 Leslie with his wife Esther suffered a severe blow when their only son Mark was killed in a tragic road accident. This left a burden on Leslie which he carried for the rest of his life. His large funeral was conducted by U Crothers, B Griffith, R Shaw and R Pickering, when many friends, family and neighbours heard the gospel. Prayer is requested for his wife Esther and daughters, Ella and Pamela. Also for the assembly at Mullafernaghan which has now lost three members in three months.

Mr Jim Geddes, aged 88, was called home on 10th November. Our brother was born in 1926, and saved in his early teens under the preaching of David Walker (father of Robert Walker). Jim was baptised and received into fellowship at the Fountain Hall Assembly, Aberdeen in 1940 and continued there steadfastly until prevented by his recent illness, patiently borne. Jim had been a widower for 7 years after the death of his wife Margaret. He was a quiet brother always willing to help, and he and his wife were much given to hospitality. Our brother lost his son James very suddenly only 41/2 weeks before his home call. Please remember his son Alan, and daughters Grace and Moira in prayer as they adjust to their loss.

Mr James (Jimmy) Gowans, aged 91, of St Monans was called home on 16th November. He was saved at the age of 11 after hearing David Walker preach about the Great White Throne, was later baptised and received into fellowship. Apprenticed as a baker to James Ferguson, a stalwart in the village assembly, his work later took him to Edinburgh where he met with the believers at Bellevue Chapel, then to Whitley Bay where the Tyneside assemblies benefited from his ministries. On retiring he returned to St Monans with his wife Rina, who predeceased him by 12 years. Wherever he lived he was an energetic worker for the Lord, with a special love for reaching children with the gospel. He also capably and willingly taught the Word of God and preached the gospel, and served as an elder among the Lord's people. Of a kindly disposition he cheered and encouraged many. For the last 8 years he was in a local Care Home, latterly very weak. The last hymn he sang, just weeks before he died, was, "I am waiting for the dawning …".

Mr Robert (Rob) Henry, aged 84 years, went home to be with his Lord on 24th December. He was saved in October, 1959 at gospel meetings in Ballymagarrick Gospel Hall when the late T Campbell and H Paisley were preaching. He was soon baptised and received into the assembly at Gransha (near Rathfriland) where he remained all his life. Rob was a man who took a keen interest in his Bible, helping in the assembly in ministry, and leading the Bible Reading ably for a number of years. For many years he also preached the gospel on Sunday evenings with the late Sam Foster, travelling all over the province. He was a man who also loved children's work, helping faithfully in the Sunday School at Drumnahare, for over forty years. His large funeral was taken by J Wishart and R Pickering when words of comfort and challenge were spoken. Prayer is requested for his widow, now in advanced years, and also for his son and three daughters.

Mrs Ann Mellish. The youngest of 6 children, Ann attended Sunday School in Blackley Gospel Hall, Manchester where each week she heard that she was the object of divine interest and love. In 1951, aged 11, she trusted the Lord, and the girl who lost her earthly father when she was just 3 gained a Father in heaven. In 1960 she married Norman and together they raised a family of 9 children. Despite the demands of having a large family, and with Norman frequently away in the Lord's service, Ann's home was open to anyone from anywhere at anytime as her hospitality knew no bounds and countless numbers of believers are indebted to her. In the opening minutes of Thursday, 18th December Ann died suddenly, leaving her home in Stoke to be at home with the Lord. A devoted wife, mother and grandmother it can be said of her, "She hath done what she could".

Mr Henry Findlay Slater, aged 73 years, was called home on 19th September. Our brother was born into a fishing family in Cullen. His father died suddenly at sea during a fishing trip when Henry was thirteen years old. Thereafter life was not easy, but his grandmother took him to meetings in Portknockie where he heard the gospel, and a brother named Alex McKay took an interest in him. Thus he was led to trust the Saviour. On leaving school he went to the fishing for some time before coming ashore to work on a farm. Later he moved to Edinburgh, and worked at the Royal Infirmary for many years and was in the fellowship of the assembly at Bruntsfield. On retiring in 2001 he moved to Peterhead and was welcomed to the fellowship of the assembly at York Street Hall. Henry was a quiet and unassuming brother who enjoyed the meetings despite poor health in recent years. He is survived by two of his three sisters.


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