Mrs Helen Anderson was born in Ashgill, Lanarkshire. Her parents were believers and were in fellowship in the assembly at Netherburn. Her mother died when Helen was seven, and she and her sister Bet were cared for by their grandparents. Helen’s grandmother spoke to her about the Gospel and her need to be saved. At the age of 11 she trusted the Saviour and, at 14, was baptised. Following the death of her grandparents, the family moved and Helen was in fellowship in Larkhall and, later, in the Lesmahagow assembly.
After leaving school she undertook a spell of office work but then changed career and, at the age of 19, began to train as a nurse at Ayr County Hospital. It was there that she met Jim Anderson. Married in 1950, they lived in Annbank. In addition to her activity in the local assembly, Helen was well known to many of those on furlough who lived in the adjoining missionary house. They benefited greatly from her kindness and hospitality. She was also a tremendous support to Jim in his active service for the Lord in Ayrshire and across the UK. Jim was called Home in 1992 and, in 2002, the assembly in Annbank closed. Still living in Annbank, she was received into the assembly in Woodpark, Ayr, where she remained in happy and consistent fellowship until she passed into the Lord’s presence on 5th December 2016.
Mrs Ellen Brown was called Home on 18th February. She was saved over 80 years ago, while attending meetings conducted by the late John Moneypenny, through the truth of John 6.37: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” After her baptism, she gathered with the Christians who met in the old Gospel Hall, Union Street, Lurgan, where she continued until her marriage to David Brown in 1951. They lived briefly in Lisburn and Larne, and then moved to the Whitehouse area in 1960.
From then until her homecall, Ellen enjoyed the fellowship of the Christians who meet in Whitehouse Gospel Hall. Her love for the Lord, His Word, His people and her family was outstanding, and her contentment and consideration for others was evident throughout her life. She was blessed with three sons, all of whom are saved and in assembly fellowship. Please pray for her sister, Mary, in Canada; the only remaining member of her family.
Mrs Evelyn Maud (Eva) Cowan (née Carson) was called Home on 1st February, in her 88th year. She was born in Omagh, Co Tyrone where, in her teenage years, she came to know Christ as her Saviour. Obeying her Lord in baptism, Eva gathered to His name in the assembly in Omagh, where her parents were already members. It was there, too, that she met and married Jim Cowan, and together, in 1959, they moved to live in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Both became highly-valued members of the assembly there, until Jim’s death in 1990. Eva remained a loyal member of the fellowship until deteriorating health necessitated her moving, in November 2015, to Dromore, Co Down, in order to be near her daughter Barbara-Ann. She will be greatly missed by her immediate family circle and all who knew her. Her funeral service was held in the Gospel Hall, Enniskillen, followed by interment in Omagh.
Mrs Florence Cromie, aged 92, was called Home to be with the Lord on 15th January. She was predeceased by her husband, Thomas, some 19 years ago. Our sister was saved at the age of 19, and was later baptised and received into the assembly at Shanaghan, Co Down, where she was a faithful attender while health permitted. Our sister always had a keen interest in all the activities of the assembly, even when she was not able to attend. She was a praying woman, and she loved to hear the Gospel preached. When visited, Florence often spoke of the Lord’s return, as she saw changing times in her long life. With her husband, she had the joy of seeing their two daughters saved and in assembly fellowship, and she will be sadly missed by them, as well as by the assembly at Shanaghan. The funeral service was conducted by M Radcliffe and J Rogers, and the Gospel was tenderly and faithfully spoken - just as our sister would have desired.
Mrs Jean Forsythe, aged 95 years, passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord on 12th February. Jean was 83 years in Christ, being saved as a schoolgirl of 12 years while attending meetings conducted by the late Hawthorne Bailie. She leaves four sons and one daughter, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jean married Joe Forsythe, and together they farmed outside Portglenone. In the 1940s, polio was rife and the Salk vaccine was still years ahead. When Joe was stricken with the disease it left him paralysed in one leg, so a great deal of the farm work fell to Jean. Undaunted, she managed farm and home, as well as the care of five children. Her burden was increased when Joe died of a heart attack in his early sixties. However, Jean’s faith in her God and Saviour never wavered and, until her death, she remained a valued member of the Ahoghill assembly. Her funeral was from her home, and was conducted by brethren from the assemblies at Clonkeen and Ahoghill, with a challenging message at the graveside given by David Gilliland.
Mr Robert James (Jimmy) Gibson was called Home on 10th January, aged 94. He was born outside Dromore, Co Down and lived for the most of his life in the town of Dromore. He was the eldest, and last surviving member, of a family of four. Our brother was saved in 1957 under the preaching of Mr William Bunting. Shortly afterwards he was baptised and received into the fellowship of the Dromore assembly, where he was a consistent member for many years together with his wife, Annie, who predeceased him four years ago. His job as a bread server brought him into contact with a wide section of the local community, and he bore a bright testimony there, as well as being very helpful in the distribution of Gospel leaflets around the town and district. The funeral from Dromore Gospel Hall was very large, and was conducted by local brethren. Prayer is requested for his two sons, one daughter, and the entire family circle.
Mrs Margaret Hunter, aged 102, went to be with her Lord on 23rd December 2016. Born just before the First World War in 1914, in Scotstoun, Glasgow, she left school at age 13, passed an entrance exam shortly after, and became a Post Office telephone operator. She was taken by a friend to Yoker Parish Church, and she became a Christian through hearing that the Lord Jesus lived and died to be her Saviour. Her friend took her to Knightswood Gospel Hall, Glasgow, then just a wooden shed, where she regularly attended the Bible Class. Her parents would not allow her to be baptised until she was in her twenties, but she and her two sisters were ultimately baptised in Knightswood Gospel Hall in March 1938, and she joined the local assembly there. She met her future husband, Jack Hunter, at Netherhall, Largs, and they married in 1943. They lived firstly in Glasgow, where they were in fellowship at Abingdon Hall until 1973. They were then led to Bridge of Weir, helping to progress the building of the new Hall, until they retired to Ayr about 1980, where they were in fellowship in the assembly at Woodpark. After being widowed in 2003, Margaret continued consistently. Latterly too frail to be able to attend the meetings, she had been in assembly fellowship for over 78 years when she was called Home.
Mr Ivan Johnston was called Home on 17th February, in his 92nd year. He was saved at the age of 18 on 3rd March, 1943, while attending Gospel meetings conducted by the late Alex Cooke. Later, he was baptised and received into the fellowship of the Ballymoney assembly. On his marriage to Hope Duff, he gathered with the Kingsbridge assembly. When the assembly at Newtownbreda commenced in May 1957, Ivan became a founder member, and continued steadfastly there until his homecall. Ivan was a faithful, helpful and encouraging brother, and liked everything to “be done decently and in order”. From the inception of the assembly, until a few years ago, he was the precentor, and he discharged this responsibility with dignity. For many years he also was a convener of the Belfast Christmas and Easter Conferences. He will be greatly missed. Prayer is requested for his wife, daughter Linda and her husband Robert, son Edmund and his wife Agnes (who serve the Lord in Ukraine), and the family circle. His large funeral was conducted by local brethren and his cousin, Carson McDowell.
Mr William Mitchell, aged 93, went to be with his Lord from his own home in Antrim on 1st January, after a short illness. The eldest of a family of eight children, he was led to faith in Christ by an older Christian colleague in the workshop, through John 1.12, assured that the Lord who saves can also keep His own. He always spoke of his gratitude to individual believers whose lives and testimonies were a blessing to him. Most of his working life was with the Admiralty, and he lived and worked in the UK, the Mediterranean, and Far East locations. He was happy in the fellowship of other believers, however small the company, and witnessed faithfully to many individuals wherever he went. For many years he was a valued elder in the assembly in the town of Antrim. Predeceased by his devoted wife Maureen in 2003, he was faithfully supported by his two sons and their families. On his last Lord’s Day with the saints he read from Revelation 22, his face glowing with expectation, and entered into the reality of glory just a week later.
Mrs Roberta (Berta) Murray, aged 91, passed into the presence of the Lord on 15th November 2016. Saved in early life, our sister, along with other members of her family, was for many years associated with the Fraserburgh assembly. In 1968 she married our late brother Peter Murray and, during their years together, was a true “help meet for him” in their labours for the Lord. Returning latterly to Pete’s home town of Lossiemouth in 1998, Berta continued in happy and consistent fellowship following Pete’s homecall in 2001. Although recently confined to her home, she maintained a continuing interest in the assembly and its local witness. Missed by many, she will be remembered for her quiet and faithful testimony. “Whose faith follow.”
Mr Robert (Bobby) Smyth, aged 78, departed this life to be with Christ on 9th January. Bobby was born in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, on 21st January 1938, into a godly home, his parents being faithful and highly-respected members of the local assembly. He left home as a young man, still unsaved, and moved to the town of Lurgan seeking employment. He took up the trade of a motor mechanic and, through time, was married to Sally McComb, who also was unsaved and a stranger to the message of the Gospel. Meetings were conducted by John Thompson and Joe Turkington in Lurgan in late 1967, and Bobby was invited to those meetings by Sam McCormick, who had taken an interest in him. Both Bobby and his wife were saved at that time. He lived the rest of his days in the enjoyment of salvation, always having the desire to see others enjoy what he had. He went on to be a faithful member of the assembly in Lurgan, and was also a godly and highly-respected overseer for many years. He was a humble and God-fearing man, righteous in his dealings, with a warm and affectionate love for the Lord’s people. He maintained a great interest in the Gospel, and was always found supporting special series of meetings held in the area. The spread of the Word of God through Gospel calendars was a big exercise upon his heart, and he also loved to preach in the open air. He had the joy of seeing his two sons and four daughters saved by the grace of God, and walking in the ways of the Lord. He will be greatly missed by his wife Sally, his immediate family and wider family circle, the saints of the assembly in Lurgan, and the many other believers whose lives he touched. His funeral was attended by a large company of people, many of whom were unsaved, who heard the Gospel preached by two of his own local brethren from the Lurgan assembly - David Gilliland and Mark Turkington.
Mrs Gretta Twibill, aged 90, passed into the presence of her Lord and Saviour on 15th February. Our sister was saved on 20th February 1945, during Gospel meetings held in Parkgate by T H Lyttle (her grandfather) and E Fairfield. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15.3) brought light to her darkened mind. A short time after her conversion she was received into fellowship at Parkgate, Belfast, where she was a highly-valued member until her homecall. She was a most caring and very thoughtful Christian lady, all her life seeking to display Christ to those who knew her, loving the Lord, and living for His glory. A faithful Sunday School teacher, she was also interested in missionary work, and she visited the aged and sick continually. She was a godly wife and mother, and will be greatly missed by her family, especially her husband Joe, as they had been married for more than 60 years. Prayer is requested for some of the dear ones yet without Christ. Gretta’s funeral service was conducted by R Eadie and J Rogers, with a most fitting tribute given by her son John.