PASTOR JOHN (JACK) BROWN: (written by Pastor Marcus Thomas)
John Brown, who was born in 1904, was saved in an independent Methodist chapel at the age of eighteen and married in 1925. He and Lily, his wife, were then part of the cottage meetings that preceded the opening of the Easington Lane Apostolic Assembly in the North East of England. Through a prophetic word, John Brown was directed to go to Sunderland and open a church. The family moved and for six months he preached to a congregation consisting only of his wife and five year old son. However, by faith, the Browns stayed and saw God increase their numbers until the hall they had hired became too small.
Their first missionary call was to Nigeria and involved leaving their young son behind in England. This was 1943 and Britain was at war with Germany. Jack and Lily both had to travel separately to Africa and the ships sailed in convoy because of the danger of German submarines. They met up in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and then made their way together to Lagos, Nigeria, arriving in early February 1943. Pastor Brown and the family were stationed in the Ilesha Area and he was appointed District Pastor with 27 assemblies. He describes their mode of transport: “My only means of transport was a bicycle and to take my wife with me I had to strap a cushion on the crossbar, then she would balance herself by sitting on the cushion... There were no tarred roads and sometimes no roads at all after the heavy rains, so that it became a work of art trying to keep on the cycle in such conditions.”
Sometime later, when they were working in the Kabba District, their living conditions were very poor. For health reasons, the local authorities stipulated that they could not live in their mud hut for more than three months at a time! With the support of the local community and the Apostolic Church a new stone house was built. It would seem from a record in the Apostolic Missionary Minutes January 1945 that the Browns themselves contributed financially to make this possible: “We record the spirit of sacrifice evidenced by Pastor and Mrs. Brown in finding the balance of the money required for the completion of the Kabba Mission House.”
Jack Brown was ordained as a prophet and, after Nigeria, went on to serve in South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and the UK. The Apostolic work in South Africa was terminated at the end of the 1950s, but there were still ex-Apostolic people in Durban. Because of the continuing call in their life for South Africa, and Durban in particular, the Browns went back in faith, but the UK Apostolic Church felt unable to support their return.
The previous Apostolics in Durban welcomed the Browns and an Apostolic work started to take shape again in South Africa, but it was independent of the UK. Pastor Brown was in demand to minister across the Body of Christ in South Africa and proved the Lord, not only in day to day provision as they lived by faith, but in the demonstration of the miraculous and the impartation of spiritual gifts. At the end of the 1960s, Brown accepted an invitation from the Danish Apostolic Church to head up their African work in South Africa.
Jack Brown was also used by God to establish an Indian work in and around Durban. It was through him that an important link was made with a man by the name of Bobby Naidoo, who went on to become a pastor and leader in the Apostolic Church in South Africa.
A sad incident occurred in the latter part of the Browns’ ministry. Pastor Brown describes what happened: “My wife and a sister in the assembly were walking up the stairs one Sunday evening to the service, the lift being out of order. A young African man, neatly dressed, was following them, and my wife turning to him said, ‘You are welcome to the service’, but when they reached the top of the stairs and were to enter into the hall this man pulled the strap of my wife’s handbag which was over her shoulder and pulled her back down the concrete steps to the first landing which was twelve steps.” Jack found his wife at the bottom of the stairs unconscious and in a pool of blood. Lily did recover, but, as he wrote, “The once alert and energetic woman that I lived and worked with for over 54 years serving the Lord was now slow, hesitant and confused.” Mrs. Brown ended her days in hospital not aware of her surroundings and unable to recognise Jack and their son.
In the early 1980s, Pastor Brown contacted the UK Apostolic Church leadership concerning the work in South Africa. This resulted in Pastor Jackie and Rita Harris being sent there in 1981 to re-open a UK Apostolic work. John handed over to them all the work and the contacts that he had made in Durban. Jackie Harris described Pastor Brown as a “great missionary, who worked hard in Nigeria, who went on to establish a work in Rhodesia and who planted seeds in South Africa”. He attributed much of the fruit which they reaped in South Africa from 1981 onwards to the seed that had been sown through the ministry of Jack Brown and those who had laboured with him.
Brown, J. The Missionary.
MARGARET CLARK: (written by Pastor Marcus Thomas)
Margaret Clark was the person that the Lord used to open the door for an Apostolic work to be established in India. She had longstanding links with Frank Hodges, one of the early pioneers and founding fathers of the Apostolic Church UK. His church in Hereford had been supporting her financially and, as early as 1924, she gave a report of her work in India at the missionary meeting in the Penygroes Convention.
Margret Clark was based in Poona (Pune), a large city approximately ninety miles from Bombay (Mumbai), in western India. The Missionary Board maintained an interest in her work and, from time to time sent support. She worked as part of a team and in her letters to the UK she wrote that a small assembly was forming in Poona with outreach to Hindus, Jews, Catholics and Muslims. At that time they had no hall in which to meet, but Margaret was converting her outside kitchen block into a meeting room. In 1928, she wrote, “There have been various men and women who have been receiving Bible instruction here. We have had prayer meetings too for the salvation of others, and for the baptism with the Spirit. Some few have been immersed; some are waiting for an opportunity. There is a man, well respected, and himself baptised in water and the Spirit, whom we have asked to do it. This man is an Indian, and a welltaught Bible student.” (Apostolic Church Missionary Herald, 1928)
A lot of English was spoken in Poona and this helped the work to progress. On another occasion Margaret writes, “The Lord has been showing us not to call this a Mission, but that we are to depend on Him to bring to pass His Church here in India.” A women’s Bible class has commenced: “How we have prayed for it! Most of them are Anglo-Catholics, but they are eager for me to come every week and teach them.” However, it is evident that Margaret is looking for a deeper work of the Holy Spirit: “Sometimes I long for the word of the Lord to know what to do in connection with all this work. Miss Thomas (a fellow-worker) has prophecy sometimes. I cry to Him to raise up a true, godly prophet among the Indians and I believe He will, one who will walk with Him.” (Apostolic Church Missionary Herald, 1928)
By 1929, it appears that Margaret Clark is recognised as an Apostolic missionary. T.N. Turnbull’s, in his book, What God Hath Wrought, writes, “The Apostolic Church has had a missionary interest in India for many years, as far back as the year 1929, when Miss Clark was our first missionary.” (T.N.Turnbull, 1959) A report from India in June 1929 provides an update: “In India Miss Margaret Clark has gathered a good company of believers who are moving in unity with the Apostolic Church.” Later that year, news came that she had moved to Ahmednagar (one hundred miles from Poona) and Pastor and Mrs. S.D. Patole had been left in charge of the assembly in Poona. From a further report in April 1930, we discover that there are “now three little Apostolic Assemblies in India and the Lord is still adding.” (Weeks, 2003) The work was difficult, but Pastor Patole and his wife continued to evangelise in Poona. Meanwhile, Margaret Clark spent time visiting, not only in Poona, but in the assemblies in Ahmednagar and Kolliapur as well. She was teaching a full Gospel but the hardships and challenges were many. The caste system exerted a strong control on society, rivalries between religions were rife and many people were held in bondage to the worship of false gods.
The meetings outside Poona were house-based and Margaret visited other small groups who were expressing an interest. The Lord was moving in healing power. She relates this story from Ahmednagar: “One of the members came to me and said, ‘Mother, I do not think we shall be able to come (to a meeting); our little daughter Esther has been so ill all night. Her father is holding her while I come to tell you.’ Off I went to their house. What! Was the devil to have his way and hinder God’s children? No! Never! I rebuked the sickness with the authority of the name of Jesus, and soon the little girl was laughing in my arms, healed! Hallelujah! What a Saviour! So they came (to the meeting) father, mother and Esther.” (Apostolic Herald, 1933)
In September 1934, Pastors D.P. and Jones Williams left on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. While they were in Australia at the October/November 1934 Melbourne Convention, Pastor Fred Hurst was called as an apostle to India. At the same convention, Pastor Hector Gardiner was called to China. Both men were products of the Perth church, planted by Pastor William Cathcart. These were the first two missionaries sent out from Australia.
The Williams brothers left Australia on 10th March 1935, accompanied by Pastor Fred Hurst. They were heading to India to visit Miss Clark and to appoint Hurst as superintendent of the Indian work. In his book, Chapter 32, Gordon Weeks writes, “They arrived at Bombay on 16th March and travelled on to Poona by train where they were met by Miss Clark. She was aged 73 years, born in India where her father was an Anglican Missionary, and she had spent most of her life there, being baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1908 and later baptised in water, for which she was excommunicated by the Anglican Bishop. She was held in high regard by the Indian believers and by the other missionaries that they had met and had some fellowship with.” (Weeks, 2003)
During this visit, four men were ordained in Ahmednagar. In Poona Pastor Patole (who until then had not received any ordination in the Apostolic Church) and an elder were set in office. Other groups were visited and a number of people were baptised in water. There were discussions about the future of the work in India and through prophecy Pastor Hurst was directed to make Ahmednagar his base. The Williams brothers left India, via Bombay, on 30th March.
Weeks writes, “After their departure Pastor F. Hurst and Miss Clark travelled to Ahmednagar and then paid a visit to the assembly in Kohlapur, three hundred miles away. Five people were later baptised in water in Ahmednagar and Pastor Hurst started the very difficult work of evangelising amid the problems of heathenism, transport and climate.” (Weeks, 2003)
This was Pastor D.P. Williams’ assessment of the situation in India and what would be required of Pastor Fred Hurst: “I assure you that the doors are open in India, the promise of a great work is there, and whoever goes must be prepared to be a martyr or not go at all. He must be prepared to be really down and out; a martyr for the cause. I confess I would have to have another body and a tremendous lot of love to be able to be a missionary to meet the demands I saw.” (Apostolic Herald, 1935)
In July 1937, the responsibility for administering the Indian work passed to the Australian Missionary Board. At this time some missionaries from other movements, including a Miss Martin, joined the Apostolic Church as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Pastor W. James Davies, from Hereford, was sent to India at the end of 1938. He had trained at the Bible College of Wales, founded by Rees Howells in Swansea. On the ship was Miss Martin who had visited the 1938 Penygroes Convention. They married early in 1939.
By October of that year, the Indian field was again under the administration of the UK Missionary Board. Pastor Fred Hurst was still there and, in time, other missionaries were sent from the UK, including the Powell family (1945), the McCullough’s (1951), and Pastor and Mrs. Stephens (1960). Thank God for Miss Margaret Clark who opened the door for an Apostolic work of God in India!
(1928). Apostolic Church Missionary Herald . (1933). Apostolic Herald . (1935). Apostolic Herald T.N.Turnbull. (1959). What God Hath Wrought. Bradford: Puritan Press Ltd. Weeks, G. (2003). Chapter Thirty-Two. Barnsley.
PASTOR JAMES HODGSON: (written by Marcus Thomas)
James Hodgson was saved at the age of seventeen, and it was through James and his father that an Apostolic work was started at Ferryhill, in County Durham, in 1927. He was ordained in 1949 and first served as a pastor in Bridgend, South Wales. He was noted for his powerful evangelistic, deliverance and healing ministry, which he had opportunity to exercise throughout the UK. However, he did not minister alone, but was often accompanied either by Pastors Evan Davies, David Cardwell or Qwen Dando. In an article in the Apostolic Herald July 1956, headed, Jesus is Lord, there are seven stories of divine healing through the ministry of James Hodgson and many further accounts of the miraculous appeared in future editions of the magazine. From these I have selected two examples.
The first is from the Apostolic Herald June 1957 and carried the title, Completely Healed: “Here is a testimony of what God has done for me through your prayers. First and foremost I thank God for strengthening my soul to go on with Him. I have been greatly blessed by your ministry in Leicester. Now I come to my wonderful healing. I had been suffering with intense catarrh which gave me a lot of pain. Last Thursday you prayed for me and instantly God touched me and now I am completely healed. Praise God! Hallelujah! May God richly bless you with many more souls for His Kingdom. Miss M. Botham.”
The second appeared in the April 1961 Apostolic Herald, in a report of an evangelistic campaign that Pastor Hodgson held in Swansea. The report includes details of people being saved, and then the following story; “We give thanks to God for many manifestations of healing, there being an outstanding case of a sister suffering from acute bronchial asthma, and given up by the doctors. After eleven years of suffering, and not knowing what a night’s sleep meant, surviving on tablets and the ceaseless using of an asthma pump, she was completely delivered and has since slept every night through. On medical examination since then she has been passed by her doctor as completely clear, and on further x-ray examination has been certified to be completely whole and well.”
Pastor Samuel McKibben relates another story, concerning Ray Scott from Pontardulais, who was instantly healed of a stomach ulcer at a Penygroes Convention when Pastor Hodgson prayed for her. He later commented, “She has more faith that I have.” She went home and ate all the fried food possible, with no repercussions.
Colleagues wept when they heard of Pastor Hodgson’s death from throat cancer in May 1965. A man, with a remarkable ministry, had been lost to the Apostolic Church. The Apostolic Herald July 1965, paid this tribute to him: “An evangelist of no mean worth, his ministry was blessed of the Lord throughout Great Britain and also on the Continent.”
PASTOR EVAN D. JONES: (written by Pastor Marcus Thomas)
Evan Jones was saved on 8th March 1919, and, as a result of attending the Penygroes Convention in the same year, he became a member of the Apostolic Church. In December 1919, at the opening of the Skewen Church, he was called to be an evangelist. The following year he and his wife, Elsie, went to Northern Ireland to pioneer alongside Pastor William Phillips.
James Robinson, in his book, Pentecostal Origins, gives this description of Evan Jones: “Evan Jones was aged thirty-two when he arrived in the province. An imposing, handsome figure, he had a magnificent trained baritone voice that was used to great effect at open-air services, accompanying himself on his piano accordion. The Apostolics had a stand at the Customs House steps, Belfast’s Hyde Park Corner, where thousands congregated on Sunday afternoons to hear and often bait the street orators.” (Robinson, 2005) Pastor Idris Vaughan, who joined Phillips and Evans in Northern Ireland in January 1922, commented, “It only needed Evan Jones to be at one of his solos for a meagre audience to be immediately augmented by many hundreds. The thing about my friend was that he sang with his whole personality and with the unction of the Holy Spirit; so much so that, on one occasion, a lady in the crowd remarked, ‘He has the face of an angel’.” (Robinson, 2005)
Evan’s wife, Elsie, was a very able preacher and leader in her own right. From a Sunday morning women’s group which she commenced, another Apostolic Church was planted in Henry Street, Belfast. (Apostolic Missionary Herald , 1924)
Adam McKeown, who later became an Apostolic pastor and missionary like his brother James, describes his first encounter with Evan and Elsie Jones: “During those years in the ‘far country’, I kept away from meetings, but on one occasion a Welsh Evangelist, by the name of Evan Jones with his wife Elsie, was conducting evangelistic meetings in Killyless Orange Hall. Pastor Evan Jones was a wonderful Gospel singer, so I thought I would sneak into one of his meetings to hear him sing. I was seated away in the very back of the building, and I liked the first part of the service in song, and then Pastor Jones sang the old Gospel song, ‘There were ninety and nine that safely lay...’ He began to preach, but part way through his message, he stopped, pointing a finger in my direction, and cried, ‘Adam where art thou?’ Believe me, I was startled, and began to look for a way out of the meeting. A few nights later I went back again, hiding at the back of the hall among the crowd. Pastor Jones sang, but that night, his wife Elsie, was the preacher. About halfway through her message, she too, stopped, pointing in my direction, and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Adam, where art thou?’ I left the meeting that night feeling that I could never escape that pointing finger, or pleading voice.” (McKeown, 1985)
After working and pioneering in Northern Ireland, Pastor Evan Jones became a member of the first of two International Evangelistic Bands which were formed in 1931. His associates in the band were Pastors John Hewitt and Frank Warburton. These bands travelled the length and breadth of the UK, undertaking four to six week revival campaigns where signs and wonders followed the preaching of the Gospel. Pastor Evan Jones also ministered overseas. In March 1939, he went to Estonia for three months evangelistic ministry: “Altogether over 50 decisions for Christ were publicly made, many backsliders returned to the Lord, and a good number were baptised in water.” (Apostolic Herald, 1939) After further service in the North of England and in Wales, Pastor Evan and his wife, Elsie, retired to Hereford. He died on 26th October 1970 and was buried in Penygroes alongside Pastor William Phillips. A member of the Henry Street Assembly in Belfast wrote this on his death: “He was a true shepherd and successful soul-winner. I owe much to him and his wife.” (Riches of Grace, 1970) Idris Vaughan, in his tribute to Evan Jones, told this story about their ministry together in Ireland: “One incident has left a deep impression on my mind. An open air service held in Larne, N. Ireland, on one wild, wintry Saturday night – when four of us stood in the rain with apparently no audience to hear us. Common sense told us that we should not be there, but in those days we were not always amenable to the voice of common sense, and I thank God for it.
There was Evan Jones, playing upon his ‘flutina’ and singing away in that consecrated baritone of his – ‘O, a friend in need is a friend indeed; My Saviour is a friend in need...’
The fact is, someone was listening; a lady hurrying along a back street on her way to commit suicide in the sea. The strong wind carried the powerful voice over and into that woman’s heart – changing her mind and the direction of her feet until she arrived at the hall to which we had retired and there found the Saviour.” (Riches of Grace, 1971)
(1939). Apostolic Herald . (1924). Apostolic Missionary Herald . McKeown, A. (1985). A Man Named Adam. (1971). Riches of Grace . Robinson, J. (2005). Pentecostal Origins: Early Pentecostalism in Ireland in the Context of the British Isles. Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press.
PASTOR JOHN CARDWELL: (written by members of the Cardwell Family)
Father had a warm heart for everybody but he was especially fond of the fellowship of God’s people, so our country cottage was open to all, young and old, who needed respite from the city. It was during a visit of our Christian friends that my father chalked out in bold letters, “Behold how good and how pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity”.
Shortly after father’s death, many people were calling to express sympathy with mother and the family. Among these callers was a young married couple who were completely unknown to us. “And how did you know my husband?” enquired mother. “We didn’t know him at all, except to see him out and about, but we knew who he was and what he was and his passing had such an impact upon us that we were both convicted of our sin and we have now both given our hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ”. Note by Marcus Thomas:
This background information was published in the Apostolic Herald, May 1970: “John Cardwell came to Belfast in his early twenties. He was employed by the Belfast Corporation. His wife was saved in a meeting held by the Apostolic Church in the Independent Orange Order’s Hall in Gt. Victoria Street. Mrs. Cardwell opened her home in Primrose Street, off the Ormeau Road, for kitchen meetings. Her husband John always promised to attend, but found it convenient to be elsewhere on the meeting nights. He was, however, under deep conviction of sin, and eventually at his own fireside, with only his wife in the home with him, he gave his heart to Christ. Mrs. Cardwell was saved in 1921, her husband in 1922.”
From the Cardwell home, a church was planted in Ava Street, Belfast. Through John’s family connections with Waringstown, County Armagh, a church was started in the village that led to an assembly being established in Lurgan. John Cardwell had three sons and five daughters. Pastor John Cardwell was the first Ulsterman to be recognised as an apostle (1929). He came into full-time ministry in 1937, when he became the Irish Superintendent.
PASTOR ALEXANDER GARDINER: (written by Marilyn Crow, granddaughter)
(Information taken from the overcomersonline.com website and originally compiled from notes by Alistair Gardiner - a former President of the Apostolic Church Australia and son of Alex Gardiner) Badly wounded in France during the German offensive in World War 1 and left for dead on the battlefield, the Scottish soldier prayed, “God! Save me from this hopeless situation and I will commit my life fully to you.” This was a key moment in the life of a man who became a pioneer and vital administrative leader in the Apostolic Church in the UK and Australasia.
Alexander Gardiner was born in 1891 at Lockerbie in the South of Scotland, the eldest of eight children. Opportunities for advancement were limited in his home town, so he moved to Dunblane in central Scotland and commenced a business in the main street. A friend, James Henderson, introduced Alex to his family, and particularly his sister, Mary, who became his bride in 1915.
Alex was a member of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. However, through the witness and counselling of his future mother-in-law he accepted Christ as Saviour in 1913. Pastor Andrew Turnbull of the Glasgow Burning Bush assembly occasionally conducted meetings in Mrs. Henderson`s home, unfolding scriptural truths that God was revealing to him, but Alex strongly opposed Pentecostal-type meetings. After hospitalisation following his war injuries he recommenced his business in Dunblane. Glasgow, Scotland`s largest city, offered more scope for expansion for his business so he moved there. Mary and her mother attended Andrew Turnbull`s meetings. The Burning Bush assembly had become the Apostolic Church. Alex flatly refused to attend these meetings but God was dealing with him and in 1924 he joined the Glasgow Apostolic Church and soon received the Holy Spirit baptism.
What a transformation! A few months later, Alex was appointed as an assembly overseer and then pastor of the Parkhead assembly. In January 1928, he was transferred to the Glasgow Church as an associate pastor with the apostle, Andrew Turnbull, who was also a powerful evangelist used in signs and wonders. During the 1929 New Year Convention at Bridgeton, Glasgow, Alex Gardiner was called to function in his apostolic gifting. In October that year he travelled to Bradford to attend the first Council of Apostles and Prophets of the Apostolic Church in Great Britain and was appointed to the Executive.
Alex, as an astute entrepreneur, had prospered in business but left that behind when he was called to fulltime ministry. The Apostolic Herald (Vol. 1, No.12) recorded: “Willingly surrendering business prospects at the call of Jesus Christ, the Master, Pastor Gardiner entered full-time ministry. His zeal and vitality were quickly demanded beyond the borders of Scotland, the Church using him in both spiritual and executive capacity in all parts of the British Isles, France and Denmark.”
Andrew Turnbull transferred to England in 1931 and Alex Gardiner took charge of the 700 strong Glasgow Church. By 1933, numbers attending the Scottish Convention had increased so much that all previous venues were inadequate. Alex took a faith-step, hiring St. Andrews Hall, the largest auditorium in Scotland. It proved a faith-step of success and blessing with 2,500 attending and 100 baptised in water.
In January 1934, the Council formed a select committee of apostles, including Alex Gardiner, to “formulate a basis of visible unity internationally.” During a subsequent Council meeting that same year the Lord spoke through a prophet stating, “A word to my servant Gardiner to loosen his tent pegs.”
The event that was to entirely “loosen his tent pegs” was described in the Australian magazine Revival Echoes (Vol.2, No.8 ): “Just after the start of the Apostolic Church in Melbourne it was felt that a good, capable man was needed to hold the position at Commonwealth HQ and to organise the work of the Apostolic Church in Australia. We asked for a capable leader and Pastor Alex Gardiner of Glasgow was promised. We appreciate the generous sacrifice of the staff at home giving us one of their best workers.” Alex Gardiner responded to the call and with his wife, Mary, and family arrived in Melbourne 5th Nov. 1934, in time for the Centenary Convention. He assumed responsibility for the Commonwealth HQ and Executive Control.
It is of interest to note that today (2003) 69 years since they arrived in Melbourne, the three children, Marion Waterhouse (my mother), Alistair Gardiner (my Uncle), Jesse Thirkell (NZ) continue faithful in the Apostolic Church.
Alex pastored the Melbourne Assembly, providing apostolic oversight for a dozen Victorian churches. He was appointed President of the Apostolic Church Australia in March 1937, continuing until the end of 1941. William Cathcart again took the reins at the commencement of 1942 and Alex Gardiner was transferred to New Zealand, where he later became President of the Apostolic work in that nation. The drive and vision of Alex Gardiner were the motivating force in building the HQ Church and Offices in Richmond, Melbourne known affectionately as “The Big Church”. It is to his credit that the building was opened debt-free, in 1939. As well as his heart for the Apostolic Church Australia he had a typical Apostolic pioneering spirit. He supported overseas missions, stimulating interest that resulted in twelve missionaries being sent out in 1937.
PASTOR THOMAS VAUGHAN LEWIS: (written by Tom Jenkins, late Apostolic Church elder and father of Pastor Andrew Jenkins) Testimony: T.V. Lewis and miracle at my parents’ home.
My maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Morgan, for many years since their conversion had opened their home and provided hospitality to visiting preachers and pastors in the Apostolic Church who visited the Rhondda Valley. Pastor T.V. Lewis was one of those many visitors who stayed. Ps. T.V. had come to minister in special meetings held in “Beulah” (Treorchy Apostolic Assembly). Ps. T.V. at the time of his visit was serving as the National President of the Apostolic Church. He was originally from the Rhondda and for some years worked as a collier in the coal industry, prior to entering the full time pastorate.
My grandfather was also a coal miner at the time Ps. T.V. stayed at their home. On one day a load of coal (1 ton) was delivered to the back lane. My grandfather was in work and Ps. T.V. asked for some old clothes so he could carry the coal in from the lane and save my grandfather the effort once he returned home from a shift in the pit. My gran was most unwilling and resisted the idea that the President should carry coal in. Ps. T.V. won the argument and the coal shed was restocked with a ton of coal before Richard came home. Those special meetings were so special and amazingly successful that they were extended from a long weekend to two weeks. Ps. T.V. sent for his wife to join him at my grandparents’ home. My parents, Tom and Rita Jenkins, were newly married and asked if Ps. T.V. would like to have tea at their home. This was a great honour for them to have the National President in their first home for Sunday dinner. After the meal, Ps. T.V. asked if he could pray for the newly-weds and their home. This he did, laying his hands on the wall of the hallway as he prayed for God`s blessing and protection. Ps. T.V. left for church and my parents were thrilled to bits with the whole experience.
The next day however both my parents left for work and would not return until the early evening. My mother worked nearby in a local factory. Realising she had left a birthday card at home for her cousin she proceeded to return home to pick up the card during her lunch break. My mother turned the key in the front door and screamed - her house was on fire! Billows of dense smoke belched out of the house and the fire alarm was duly sounded. The situation was brought under control by the fire brigade who established the cause of the fire to be an electrical wiring fault.
The senior fireman on duty spoke to my mother and father, who was now on the scene, stating she was a very fortunate woman to be alive as a gas pipe had melted near to the faulty wiring and the gas was escaping. He could not understand how the fire had stopped at a certain point and said that, should it have spread any further, my mother opening the front door would have triggered a major explosion. He was noticeably perplexed as to why the flames stopped at a certain point in the hallway. My parents knew! It was the very spot the previous day Ps. T.V. Lewis had laid his hands on the wall and prayed. What a moment for this young couple to prove the reality of God so early in their marriage. The fire chief`s mystery was solved and it was a further tribute to a truly remarkable man of God. Note by Marcus Thomas:
Thomas Vaughan Lewis was living in Clydach Vale, a village in the Rhondda Valley, when the Welsh revivalist Evan Roberts came to the district to preach, towards the end of 1904. T.V., as he was affectionately known, was saved under the preaching of Evan Roberts. As with many who experienced the power of the Holy Spirit during the revival, T.V. had a thirst to keep seeking the Lord. (Riches of Grace, 1959). Pastor T.V. Lewis became the National President of the Apostolic Church on the death of Pastor D.P. Williams in 1947.
DAVID T. MORRIS: (written by Peter Bridgens in his History of Gosen Apostolic Church, Pontardawe)
Around the end of the First World War, the assembly was holding an open air service in the adjoining village of Trebanos, when a young man named David T. Morris was pushing his cycle past the spot, having sustained a puncture. He was invited to follow the people back to the meeting in Pontardawe, where he gave his life to Christ. Very soon he knew the call of God to serve Him overseas and so in 1922, at the age of 23 years, he became one of the very first Apostolic missionaries when the Apostolic Missionary Movement was first launched. He, together with Pastor and Mrs. Joseph Hollis, was located initially in Tucuman in Northern Argentina, but in August 1923 David Morris relocated to Aguilares, a small town where there was no evangelical witness and the opposition was very hard in every way. This move was to have an amazing outcome in the wider purposes of God. While preaching there one day in the open air, a listener called Mr. I. Palau was converted. He was to be the father of Luis Palau, the international evangelist (born 1935), who has been the means of winning many thousands to Christ all around the world. And it all began through an open air service in Trebanos.
Note by Marcus Thomas: David T. Morris returned to Argentina in October 1924 as a married man. His wife was called Cissie and they had married in Bradford after the August Penygroes Convention. On 17th January 1926, they had their first child, Megan Consuelo. She was the first Apostolic child born on the mission field.
PASTOR WILLIAM PHILLIPS: (written by Pastor Jackie Harris, a colleague)
My recollections of personal time with the Apostle William Phillips are limited to the few occasions I met him. These were at Penygroes Convention time, and in his later years when he had retired and lived in Aberystwyth. Even though retired he served the Lord faithfully in the local assembly which he had, in previous years, established in that university town. Time with this man was always profitable and challenging and you always left knowing you had been in the company of a man who loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and had proved this to be so by his life of obedience and sacrificial service, though he would never refer to it as being a sacrifice to serve Jesus.
One of the most remarkable stories that he shared with me was while Rita and I were on honeymoon in Aberystwyth in 1955. A letter had arrived from a man that he had never met, whose name was Pastor Abia Armstrong who was with the Apostolic Church in Harare, Zimbabwe. The name revived memories in his mind of a remarkable incident he had experienced in the 1920s, resulting from a prophetic word delivered to him through a prophet. I believe, though am not certain, that the prophet was Pastor T.N. Turnbull. The prophecy was that when he would return to Belfast, he was to go to a certain address (address given I presume) in Belfast. He was told that he would find that the lady of the house had recently given birth to a baby boy. He was to tell her why he had come and that she was to name the boy “Abia”. Pastor Phillips went and found the house. There was a new baby in the house. He delivered the message and never saw the family again.
Some thirty five years later, he was reading the Apostolic Herald and discovered that a man of that name had been ordained as a Pastor in Zimbabwe. His curiosity was aroused and so he wrote to the family in Zimbabwe asking if they had any connection with Belfast and that particular home. The answer was yes. That baby boy from Belfast was now a Pastor in the Apostolic Church in Harare.
The family in Belfast were Salvationists. The father of Abia, who was a bandmaster in the Salvation Army, was moved from Belfast to Glasgow. He heard about the Burning Bush assembly and went along to one of the services. Pastor Andrew Turnbull was preaching. During the service there was a prophecy through a young man, inviting people to come forward to receive the baptism of the Spirit. Mr. Armstrong stayed in his seat but that young prophet spoke again and said, “The bandmaster, come.” He obeyed and was filled with the Holy Spirit. The family became members of the Apostolic Church.
Late in the 1940s the family moved first to South Africa and then to Rhodesia, as it was known then, and Abia became a pastor in the Apostolic Church in Rhodesia.
J. ALLAN TATE: (written by Pastor W. John Hewitt, a colleague)
A prophet from Scotland, J. Allan Tate, was sent out from Great Britain soon after W.A.C. Rowe had arrived in Australia in 1946. With his wife and son they joined up with the president in the “Headquarters” assembly. At that time he was known as the “Commonwealth Prophet”. At times in a meeting his prophecies would seem endless, lasting up to 40 minutes.
Allan Tate had a very strong, harsh Scottish accent, different from men like Joshua McCabe, William Cathcart and Alex Gardiner who were also Scots. Nevertheless, his preaching and prophetic ministry was readily received. He used to set a goal to use a new English word every time he preached. I recall as a boy taking a notepad and pen to write down such words, and then upon arriving home I would get out my dictionary. As a result my vocabulary was enlarged.
The Australian Apostolic Magazine, Herald of Grace, was taken over by the new editor, J Allan Tate. He also took over the role of Commonwealth Secretary for a period. J Allan Tate later pastored in Adelaide SA and Perth WA. It was during his time in Western Australia, when driving home from an Area Elders’ meeting, he was fatally injured in a car crash.