Eric Hutchings has died

   8.26pm. I have my pen again! It arrived by recorded delivery this morning.

   I became very tired last evening and went to bed before 10.30pm. I was asleep when Freda came up. Towards morning I woke and found myself worrying about Freda, and had difficulty in getting back to sleep again.

   I took Freda a cup of tea in bed, after which she had a bath while I prepared breakfast; then I dressed the swelling again which showed definite signs of coming to a head.

   After breakfast I answered all the letters, including one to Art Katz of Ben Israel Ministries, USA. He had been reading Judgment on Britain in ORU [Oral Roberts University] Library, and asked for his own copy. I also wrote to Bro. Frost postponing (if we need to) our visit to Reigate on Monday.

   About 11.30am I went shopping for bread, greengroceries, medical dressings etc., which took me until 12.45pm. I got bread and a lettuce for Eva [Eva Marsden], which I delivered on the way home.

   It began to rain heavily as I arrived at Eva’s, and we had a stormy afternoon. We had our salad lunch here in the TV lounge, and watched the news on ITV.

   After lunch I stuck the labels on the stencils I cut yesterday. Several stencils needed to have some of the figures re-typing: the keys had become clogged and I cleaned some of them yesterday.

   I had a phone call from Burrows Lea during the afternoon. Ray Branch will be glad to see us on Monday at 2.00pm if Freda is able to travel.

   I parcelled up Reg’s 23 stencils and went to the Post Office to get them off to him. On the way back I called at Hunting Lambert’s travel agency to enquire about cheap flights to Tulsa; Freda had earlier phoned Delta Airlines.

   Both of us have been feeling we would like to attend another seminar at ORU, and especially to see the City of Faith. Fares to the USA have greatly increased since the collapse of Laker Airways. The stand-by fare to Atlanta is currently £176, and it costs $184.26 from Atlanta to Tulsa, or $109 if the fare is booked before leaving for the USA.

   While we were having tea we watched the 1941 Arthur Askey film, I Thank You, which was being shown on TV for the first time.

   After tea I did the washing up, then we watched Gardeners’ World from Maidencombe, near Torquay, where Harry Rayson has won the Garden News award. It was of special interest as the garden is on a slope like ours.

   Another job I did this afternoon before going in to town was to make Librafilm jackets for two of the books I have purchased in recent months, Ray Branch’s book on Harry Edwards—The life story of the great healer, and Homoeopathy by Dr G. Ruthven Mitchell of Brighton.

   Eric Hutchings died on Wednesday. We heard the sad news from Dora Rowden in a letter we received this morning. His death was announced yesterday on Trans World Radio. Eric was greatly used in an evangelistic ministry, especially in South Africa, which he visited many times. It was Billy Graham, about 1946, who told Eric that the Lord was going to use him. Eric had a great Crusade at Bingley Hall in 1960, and we came to know him quite well. He was never without financial burdens, however, having a radio ministry to maintain. On two occasions I was able to help him in a small way. At Bingley Hall, when it looked as though the budget would not be met, he acted on my [written] suggestion that some members of the congregation might be willing to donate £5. They were, and the need was met. On another occasion he asked in a newsletter for prayer for bills to be paid. I sent him a little note to the effect that “money pays bills, not prayer”, and he printed it, exactly as I had typed it, in his “International Daily News Bulletin.” This Bulletin provided an invaluable commentary on world events, and the moral and spiritual issues facing the nation. It was Eric who first apprised me of the real situation in South Africa, and the propaganda war against that country. He ministered many times for Pastor Rowlands during his visits there. Eric was nothing like the popular conception of what an evangelist should look like. He was short, bespectacled and tubby, and not very inspiring in his delivery, but the Lord greatly used him. God bless you, Eric.




The Mary Rose

   8.39pm. The Mary Rose was raised from the sea-bed today. It was an extraordinary experience to witness the Tudor battleship slowly break the surface of the water as she was lifted in a giant cradle. She sank on Sunday July 19th 1545, watched by Henry VIII, suddenly keeling over and taking 700 men to their deaths. The King attempted to have her raised, but it has taken 437 years and the expertise of 20th century technology and the outlay of £4 million to achieve that aim.

   I calculate that the Mary Rose was submerged for exactly 159,685 days, or 22,812 weeks and one day. If a ship were to sink today and take as long to raise, it would not see the light of day again until January 4th, 2420.

   Such figures fascinate me. I calculate that from the Crucifixion, Friday 3rd April 33 to 31st July 1935 is exactly 694,811 days or 99,258 weeks and 5 days.

   We watched the raising of the Mary Rose while we were having breakfast and until about 10.15am, then we got ready to go to Weymouth to visit and pray for Hazel King. We left at 10.52am, called first at 59B to collect a walking stick and other items. These we delivered to Nellie at Yeovil Hospital on our way to Weymouth. Freda took them in to her while I stayed with the car.

   We arrived at Weymouth around 12.30pm and parked the car just off the sea-front in a free area. It was still raining as it had been all morning, and we had to put our raincoats on. We bought a few items at the local Health Food shop, and Freda asked the assistants if there was anywhere that we might get a nice meal. A girl recommended the Centurion Restaurant nearby, and there we had a very nice lunch: leek and mushroom soup, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, roast and creamed potatoes, sprouts and parsnips; followed by rice pudding (Freda had jelly, cream and fruit). We also had a glass of red wine. The meal cost £5.30 and the wine £1.20.

   After leaving the restaurant we did a little more shopping. In a TV shop we saw the Mary Rose in her cradle, completely out of the water now. We went to the bread shop and to Marks & Spencer’s, then returned to the car and drove to Westbourne Road, which Freda had seen on our way in.

   No. 2 was an old house, Georgian I think, with a bow window on the first floor. Vera Stewart welcomed us and took us into the front room to tell us about her sister’s illness. Hazel had had a stroke last Tuesday morning and was now in the nearby hospital. She was paralysed all down her right side. Vera suggested I go alone to visit her as there was no official visiting this afternoon.

   It took only 5 minutes to walk to the hospital. Hazel was on Maud Alexander Ward and was asleep when I got there. Two nurses sat her up in bed for us to talk. She was able to talk but was obviously full of anger at being immobilised. I got the impression of a deep-feeling person who always kept her true emotions all bottled up. I stayed about 15 minutes, read Psalm 121, and then prayed with her before I left.

   I got back to Vera Stewart’s at about 3.00pm. Vera made us a cup of tea and we stayed until about 4.00pm, then we drove down to the sea-front again and parked the car, then went for a walk along the promenade. The rain had stopped and the sun was shining.

   We left at 4.30pm and arrived home seconds before 5.45pm, just in time to watch ITN News and the latest report about the Mary Rose. Vera Stewart had had TV on when we arrived, and told us that there had been an accident. Part of the lifting frame had collapsed onto the Mary Rose, but no great damage was done.

   The most important event of the day I have left till last. I had a letter from Janet this morning. It was the letter I had prayed for. She says I need not reply and she will not write again. She has at last released me, and I release her for God’s great good to begin to work out in her life. I love her very much. I have been near to tears all day. I have no regrets and trust she has none either. Both of us must now fulfil our separate destinies. God bless you, dear Janet.

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30