Posts Tagged ‘prayer meetings’

Remembering Harold Irwin, Recently Called Home – & His Lovely Old Cottage Prayer Meeting

February 10, 2020

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Nestling in the lovely emerald countryside of the Northern Irish countryside, near Richhill in County Armagh, lies a little old cottage beside the former home of the Irwin family. For some reason, I often feel nostalgic about old times and memories on a windy night and this weekend past was no exception. I have lovely memories of sitting in this little cosy cottage which Harold and his wife Evelyn provided for use as a mid-week prayer meeting. Harold piled the logs on the fire and before long everyone would feel the warmth of the little room in more ways than one! There would be a short devotional and then rousing singing of the old hymns, followed by sincere prayer. Those who attended loved this time together, where they felt the true fellowship of fellow believers.
Sadly, Harold and his wife have been suffering from ill health for a number of years and just recently, in his 98th year, Harold fell into a peaceful sleep one night, only to waken the next morning, as his daughter put it, “at home in heaven.” “At Home in Heaven” where my mum and dad (Jack and Ella Hutchinson) and others from those days are rejoicing in the glory of the Lord’s Presence. What a wonderful way to waken up!
We travelled to Harold’s funeral in Richhill last week, where the little church hall was packed to capacity. Meeting old acquaintances that I hadn’t seen in a while was emotionally daunting and I felt moved by the hymns, which touched on some of the experiences in my own life of late. Even before the service started, many of Harold’s favourite old hymns were sung and I felt myself shedding tears as I remembered loved ones who had once attended the little prayer meeting.
Strangely, the old hymn “At Home in Heaven,” had been going through my mind for some time prior to Harold’s death. I discovered the hymn, written as a poem in an antiquarian book “Christian Lyrics Illustrated,” published well over 100 years ago. What I like about this old book, is that it shows many of the hymns printed in full, in their original wording. I think it is terrible when old hymns (no longer under copyright) have been “mutilated,” both in regard to their lyrics and the original music which was set to them. Worse still, is the fact that some modern musicians will claim that they have written those hymns and this is believed by many in today’s generation. Perhaps it would be a good idea for people to research the words and music of these hymns and “songs,” before assuming anything.
“At Home in Heaven,” was written by James Montgomery (1771-1854) who was born in Scotland but spent some years in Ballymena, Northern Ireland and in England. At best, most hymn books show 8 verses of the hymn but there are in fact 22 verses in its original form, as a poem!
Harold loved poetry, particularly of a spiritual nature. The above old photograph of the cottage prayer meeting setting was taken back in 2008, one night just before the prayer meeting, when I was visiting from my former home. As Christians may we never neglect the place of prayer, whatever the setting, until that day when we too are “Forever with the Lord.”
“At Home in Heaven.”
“For ever with the Lord!
Amen; so let it be;
Life from the dead is in that word,
‘Tis immortality.”
Link to this hymn: https://youtu.be/FBRge7RC95M

 

Thy Welcome Call… Avails for All!

February 16, 2017

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I have always admired the voices of a Welsh choir… particularly when they sing some of the lovely old hymns like “Gwahoddiad,” which is Welsh for “Welcome.” The words and music of this beautiful hymn (“I am coming Lord” or “I hear thy welcome voice”) were written by Lewis Hartsough (1828-1919) who composed it at a revival meeting in Iowa and it was subsequently published in “Guide to Holiness.” There are many stories of how it went on to be used in revival meetings and how it blessed many souls and brought many more to a place of repentance.

 

So, why am I thinking of this hymn today? Well, today is the anniversary of when my Dad (who prayed much for revival) was called Home to be with the Lord. Above is a little hall (Ballytyrone) where he used to pray with friends. I recently put a memoriam notice in the local newspaper, in remembrance of him, followed by a little verse which I composed just last week. The Lord gave me the words in an instant one morning, just after I had woken up.

 

Hutchinson, Jack, Called Home 16th February, 2011.

 

Lovingly remembered by Elizabeth, George, Grace, Christine and their families.

 

 Oh, the arms outstretched to all

 

Who gladly hear Thy welcome call!

 

Oh the joy on heaven’s shore,

 

That greets Thy saints forevermore!

 

© Elizabeth Burke

 

All sorts of people read newspapers (even local newspapers) which are left in all sorts of places and waiting rooms and somehow I believe that some simple words which we have been led to write may strike a chord with someone somewhere and will be used of the Lord to, at the very least, inspire them to think upon eternity and spiritual matters.

 

His arms are indeed still outstretched to all in this the Day of Grace; He died for all (“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1John 2v2) and it is not His will that any should perish. (2Peter 3v9)

 

Today I sing along to the words of this lovely old hymn which has blessed thousands the world over. I don’t recall Dad referring to this hymn but I know he would love it… I quote the first and last verses and chorus and share the link as a tribute to him.

 

Link to this hymn:  https://youtu.be/TlR1ot4QzP0

“I hear thy welcome voice,

 

That calls me, Lord, to Thee,

 

For cleansing in Thy precious blood

 

That flowed from Calvary.

 

I am coming, Lord,

 

Coming now to Thee:

 

Wash me, cleanse me in the blood

 

That flowed on Calvary.

 

 

All hail, atoning blood!

 

All hail, redeeming grace!

 

All hail, the gift of Christ, our Lord,

 

Our strength and righteousness!

 

Loving Memories of Mrs. Ella Hutchinson – A Lovely Lady Who Will be missed by many

January 31, 2015

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Below is a little obituary article in respect of my mum, Mrs. Ella Hutchinson, who went to be with the Lord in December 2014. Really, this is just a short synopsis of a life that was lived to the full; even in ill health and pain my mother was creative, as is evidenced by all the wonderful paintings which now hang in our home! The robin (above) which she painted once for my daughter appears in my first book: “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year.” Words are somehow inadequate when it comes to trying to describe how much she loved her children and grandchildren, but most of all I would wish her testimony (see the link to this below) to continue to challenge, encourage or convict those who read. Submitted to the Ulster Gazette newspaper in Armagh; the following was kindly published by them in the edition dated Thursday 22nd January, 2015…

“Saturday 13th December last saw the passing of a beloved mother and grandmother, Mrs. Ella Hutchinson from the Woodview, Portadown Road area.

Dearly loved and missed by each of her four children, Elizabeth, George, Grace and Christine, their spouses and her 12 grandchildren; Ella was also loved by many in her local community, including those in the health sector who cared for her.

Born ‘Margaret Isabella Turkington,’ to parents Richard and Anna, Ella had one sister Betty who is now deceased. She grew up in the Bannfoot and Portadown town areas of County Armagh and in 1952 married a young farmer Jack Hutchinson from near Richhill; the close couple were together for almost 59 years when Jack passed away in February 2011.

Ella had many unique characteristics and gifts for which she was widely known; as a homemaker and as an artist with an appreciation of nature, she painted many beautiful scenes in water-colour and oils which now grace the homes of loved ones and friends to whom she was always so generous.

Her hospitability, warmth, motherly and caring nature, deep interest in many aspects of life and sense of humour were also known to many, despite the fact that in later years she suffered from ill health, was disabled and endured much pain.

It must be said that Ella’s patience in the midst of trials, suffering and many hospital procedures can only be attributed to her personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, a journey which began many years ago, just before her marriage to Jack who also came to put his trust in the Lord for salvation.

As with her husband Jack, Ella would want sorrowing loved ones and friends to know that although she is “absent from the body” she is joyfully “present with the Lord” (2Cor. 5v8) in a realm where there is “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, or pain for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21v4)

She would also want it known that for all who put their trust in her Saviour and lifelong Friend, there is this sure promise: “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30v5)

Finally, as with Jack, Ella would also desire that her testimony should live on to speak to others, long after her passing. Her testimony can be viewed here:

https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/the-testimony-of-my-mother-ella-hutchinson-nee-turkington-27th-may-1929-13th-december-2014/

Copies are freely available from her daughter Elizabeth. (Email: readywriterpublications@gmail.com)

 

 

Have Thine Own Way Lord

July 2, 2013

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Have you ever been in a situation where there is so much turmoil going on in your life, that you feel totally swamped and unable to bear anymore? Last week was one of those weeks for me and this week is no different – except that my reaction to it all has changed. Thank God for His sustaining power, no matter what we are going through! Today I feel a peace that only He can impart all because I have committed these heavy burdens to Him and left them there.

The tune of some hymn kept going through my head, since all these troubles intensified and strangely it was a while before I remembered what the hymn was…  and then it came to me:

“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mould me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.”

One afternoon recently when I was alone and very troubled, I simply looked up into the blue sky and asked the Lord to totally have His own way in my life and in all the circumstances which were causing me so much anguish. Not my will, or anyone else’s will – but the Lord’s will be done!

Adelaide Addison Pollard (1862-1934), the writer of the hymn “Have Thine Own Way Lord,” believed that she was called of the Lord to be a missionary in Africa. However, she was unable to raise the funds to go. Troubled and uncertain, she attended a prayer meeting where she heard an elderly woman pray:

“It’s all right, Lord. It does­n’t mat­ter what You bring in­to our lives, just have Your own way with us.”

Because of the elderly woman’s prayer, that night in 1907 Miss Pollard wrote that encouraging and challenging hymn which I have been dwelling on this past week. How amazing to think that a prayer could inspire a hymn which in turn would inspire me – over one hundred years later!

Only the Lord can work out whole situations in our lives and bring His will to bear, defeating the powers of darkness which would try to make us feel defeated. Surely, if we have committed all to Him… “He is the Potter – and we are the clay.” (Isaiah 64v8, 29v16, 45v9, Jeremiah 18v1-6.)

And He can (and will) work out circumstances in our lives, overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles.

“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.”

Link to this hymn: http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/t/hthineow.htm

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Memories of “Sleepy Valley Mission Hall” – & Reflections on my Unchanging Saviour

April 9, 2011

After Mr. Ralph Loney, a dear friend of my parents recently passed away, I recalled a little article for a local newspaper, the Ulster Gazette, which I had written around 8 years ago about Sleepy Valley Mission Hall, with which he was associated…

Sleepy Valley“, as it was aptly named in bygone days, can be accessed from the main Armagh/Portadown Road or from the village of Richhill. These days, that once verdant valley, is a favourite location for new housing developments. My early memories of “Sleepy Valley” were not so much of its peaceful green fields, or of the later ‘concrete spread’, the extension of an ever-growing village – but of a little portable hall in the corner of a vast field. As a child I attended Sunday afternoon meetings there, and later, as an adult, Sunday evening meetings and that special “Day of Prayer”, held annually around Christmas and the New Year.

The little hall was not affiliated to any church, which in these days of denominationalism, is a refreshing concept. Mr. Samuel Hewitt, who once lived in Richhill castle, was responsible for the erection of the hall in the field belonging to Mr. Ralph Loney – who was to lead the Sunday evening meetings there for many years, and whose wife Maureen played the organ.  Indeed, the hall had been originally erected for the purpose of one mission. However, it stood throughout the decades in a troubled province, and who knows what encouraging influence, or how many lives were changed for eternity by the words spoken; the ministry in song, and the sincere prayer which arose within its humble walls?

Until just last year it had been in use for a Tuesday evening Bible Study and Prayer Meeting for a handful of stalwarts, including the Woodhouse family, Mr. Jack Hutchinson and Mr. Harold Irwin.  I had the privilege of being present at one of the last few meetings. Then, on Tuesday, 11th March 2003, the prayer meeting was held in Sleepy Valley for what was to be the very last time. The following week the hall could not be accessed, for that vast green field was to be the site for another new housing development.

On a recent visit to my native environs, I noticed that the little hall had gone, and the houses had been built. Consequently, I felt that I should write about Sleepy Valley Hall at this time, paying tribute to what it stood for, and never forgetting all those who ever crossed its threshold over the years – many of whom have “gone home”. In a changing world, shattered by terrorism and cankered by materialism, prayer is as vital as ever, and I have no doubt that it continues in the hearts of the afore-mentioned, as they join with others in that wonderful little cottage, belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Irwin.

Nowadays, in another time, another place, my memories often return to the pictures which lined either side of Sleepy Valley hall, and which made a strong and lasting impression on my young life. I recall one of Jesus knocking on a door … It is surely fitting that I should close with His precious words: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3v20,21).

Just today, as I thought on Sleepy Valley and all the familiar faces of those who sat in it over the years, my thoughts also dwelt on the words of Hebrews 13v8… “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Old familiar faces have left this scene of time; places of sincere worship and prayer are on the decrease… but my Saviour never changes! In this the Day of Grace, He still stands knocking on the doors of the hearts of mankind.

My prayer is that all who read would open the doors of their hearts to this loving Saviour, who is an unchanging Rock and Fortress throughout the changing scenes of time and who says to them: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” (Matthew 7v13) May those who know Him declare with the hymnist Henry Francis Lyte …

 “Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day:

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away,

Change and decay in all around I see:

O thou who changest not, abide with me!”

Link to the hymn “Abide with me:” http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/b/abidewme.htm

Fond Memories of my father, Jack Hutchinson (15th June 1926 – 16th February 2011)

March 15, 2011

The following is a little article which I submitted to the Ulster Gazette newspaper in Armagh; it was kindly published by them just recently…

“Wednesday 16th February last saw the passing of Jack Hutchinson, a local farmer and fruit-grower from the Portadown Road/Armagh area, close to the village of Richhill. Well known and loved in his own community and further afield, Jack will be sadly missed by his wife Ella (née Turkington), children Elizabeth, George, Grace and Christine and Jack’s younger sister Ella, who is his only remaining sibling. Jack was loved dearly by each and every one of his 11 grandchildren for his fun-loving personality and will also be sadly missed by his daughter-in-law Jackie and sons-in-law Martin, Bruce and Colin, in addition to his sisters-in-law Rena and Freda, brother-in-law George and his many nephews, nieces and others in the extended family circle.

Friends, neighbours and acquaintances will also miss Jack, an unassuming man who encouraged others and whose life was characterised by honesty, integrity, hard work and love for his fellowman. He and his wife Ella were married for almost 59 years and their united faith and devotion to their Saviour and each other was exemplary, mirroring their commitment to the Lord in the early 1950’s. Jack came to put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in June 1950 and had a later experience of sanctification in December 1955. Prayer was of the utmost importance to him throughout the years; both his own personal prayer and the prayer meetings which he attended with others, while his well-studied Bible was his constant companion on the armchair beside him.

Above all, Jack would want sorrowing loved ones and close friends to know that although he is “absent from the body,” he is joyfully “present with the Lord” (2Cor. 5v8) and that for all who put their trust in his Saviour and lifelong Friend, there is this sure promise… “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30v5)

Finally, Jack would also desire that his testimony should live on to speak to others, long after his passing. Jack’s testimony can be viewed and printed from this website:

https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/jack-hutchinson-%e2%80%93-%e2%80%9cyou-can-be-saved-%e2%80%93-and-know-it%e2%80%9d-by-his-daughter-elizabeth-burke-nee-hutchinson/

Copies are also available from his daughter, Elizabeth. (Email: readywriterpublications@gmail.com)