Miss Agnes (Nessie) Brown, aged 96, was called Home on 13th April. Saved in 1940, she was first received into the assembly in Carfin Gospel Hall and then, from 1957, was in fellowship with the believers who meet in Elim Gospel Hall, Plains.
Nessie was a nurse by profession, and she trained in general, infectious diseases and midwifery before becoming a district nurse in the town of Coatbridge, and this nursing experience contributed to her great work in the village of Plains. For many years, she visited the sick and those bereaved in countless homes throughout the area, giving practical help and a quiet word in the Gospel, and had an exemplary testimony in the village. She was also a great help in the local assembly, marked by her attendance and interest in Gospel activity. She had a particular interest in the children’s work, supporting it both materially and by her presence for many years.
For the past 18 years, she was housebound due to ill health, but always welcomed visits from the local believers. She never lost her love for the assembly over these years, and her interest in the Lord and His Word remained undiminished. Nessie was attended at home by her niece and great-nephew, for whom prayer is requested.
Mr Kenneth Cunningham, aged 86, went to be with His Lord on 15th March, after a long illness. He was saved at the age of 18, on 26th August 1949, when attending Gospel Meetings conducted by Mr Fred Bingham in Waringstown. After being baptised, he was in the assembly at Donaghcloney for a few years but, on moving to the Ashfield area, he joined the assembly at Mullafernaghan, remaining there for over 50 years, until his homecall. He was faithful at all the meetings, taking part, and always helpful in his brief contributions. A lover of the Gospel, he had a great interest in his neighbours, praying much for their salvation. He and his wife, Mary, who predeceased him 14 years ago, were a devoted couple, caring for their family and grandchildren, for whom he prayed much. All his working life was spent in a local linen factory, where he was also consistent and dependable, and he will be remembered by all as a man who was immaculately dressed. His large funeral was conducted by R Pickering, when many heard the Gospel.
Mr Sam Ferguson was born in Monaghan in 1927. The family moved to Belfast in 1941, and his parents came into the fellowship of the Adam Street assembly. After going to hear Mr Frank Knox preach the Gospel in 1942, Sam said his mother never had to ask him to go to another Gospel Meeting, and he was saved in December that year. On leaving school, he entered the wholesale business, before setting up his own very successful hardware business, but his consuming interest was always the preaching of the Gospel. In 1953, he married Pearl Jackson and, in the 1960s, the family moved to Bangor and to the fellowship of the Ebenezer assembly, by which he was shortly afterwards commended to the work of the Lord. He had many series of Gospel Meetings, initially with Mr John Thompson, then Mr Norman Turkington, and latterly Mr Walter Boyd. His many spiritual children are scattered not only throughout N Ireland, but also in the UK mainland and further afield. His ministry to believers was also greatly appreciated, and he was a welcome and frequent contributor at conferences in many places. Over the past decade, the illness of his wife necessitated his being at home but, even when no longer able to drive, most Sunday evenings saw him away preaching, thanks largely to the very kind assistance of William Gribben. However, his enforced presence at home proved a great blessing to the Ebenezer assembly in all of its activities. His godly influence, wise counsel, and deeply spiritual contributions were greatly appreciated and will be sorely missed - together with, of course, his renowned wit and humour!
Sam had a sharp and tidy mind which, combined with a very disciplined lifestyle, contributed greatly to his effectiveness as an evangelist and teacher. He was devoted to the Scriptures, and had a passion for both saint and sinner, praying for very many of them daily by name. Above all, he loved deeply, and served fervently and faithfully, his Lord and Saviour, into whose presence he entered on 18th April after a short illness. Those taking part in the very large funeral service were M Harper, W Gribben, W Martin, D McQuillan and D Gilpin, with touching appreciations given by members of the family. Prayer is requested for his son David, his daughter Ruth Colgan and her family, and his last remaining sibling, Wesley.
Miss Ruth Anne Priscilla McKinley, aged 79, was called into her Lord’s presence on 15th January after a trying illness Ruth was a much-appreciated sister, and a faithful helper in the Dungannon assembly for well over 60 years. Born in 1937, into the home of Fred and Lily McKinley, she had serious thoughts about her need of salvation from an early age and, having attended Sunday School and Gospel meetings regularly, was especially concerned about the Lord’s return. After her sister Beth’s conversion she was deeply troubled. Two days before her tenth birthday, on 24th March 1947, Ruth simply grasped the truth that Christ had died in her place, and immediately had the peace of pardon. The rest of her life gave clear testimony to the reality of her confession of faith. In her teens she was baptised and received into the fellowship of the Dungannon assembly, where she remained until her homecall.
Ruth never married: however, she was glad to have been able to look after her parents in their old age, particularly when her father, Fred, was widowed in 1975. One of the last comments Ruth made was in response to the statement “It is a great thing to be saved.” Her immediate reply was “It is the only thing that matters!”
The Gospel was clearly preached by Tommie Wright at her funeral in the Gospel Hall, and by Brian Glendinning at the graveside. Predeceased by her brother George, Ruth is missed by her sister, two brothers, her sister-in-law and their families. Prayer is requested for some who are not yet saved.
Mr David Morgan was called into the Lord’s presence on 2nd April 2017, aged 83 years, after a short time of illness. His parents were in fellowship in the Peterhead assembly, so David was reared in a Christian home. He was saved as a young lad of 15 years of age in the home of an esteemed brother - the late Mr Andrew Cordiner. His ambition was to be a fisherman and, after leaving school, he went to sea on his father’s boat, where he worked hard and became a successful skipper. However, the severe handicap of his eldest daughter, Lynne, raised questions in his life, and he lost the assurance of salvation.
His father’s very sudden death in January 1981 brought him to a crisis point and, at that time, the Lord restored to him the joy of salvation. David, his wife Helen, and their son David were all baptised on 25th January 1981, and received into fellowship in the assembly at York Street Hall, Peterhead. David was a quiet man, and only once spoke in public. Recounting his experience, he said that his restoration had led to the happiest years of his life. This was evidently true, as he always greeted the saints with a broad smile and a firm handshake. He is now greatly missed by Helen and her family.
Mrs Beatrice Pringle, aged 89, was called Home to be with her Lord on 11th February. She and her husband John trusted Christ for salvation in 1955, after hearing the Gospel preached by Mr Billy Graham in Glasgow. They were received into fellowship shortly after in Plantation Street Gospel Hall, Glasgow, then in Harley Street Gospel Hall, and continued faithfully until relocating to Portessie in 1996, where they met with the believers in the Gospel Hall there. John was called Home that same year. Beatrice had a faith that was marked by quiet consistency, and her godly example shone through, causing her to be highly respected by neighbours, carers, and all those who knew her. She was a faithful attender at the Gospel Hall, Portessie, until failing health prevented her. The funeral was conducted by C Geddes and A Cameron. Prayer is requested for her brother George Harvey, her sons Gordon and Robin, her daughter Ruth, and their families.