Matthew Hill, who died in January, became known throughout the UK during his period as Home Secretary of the Spanish Gospel Mission. He did much to raise the profile of the Mission among churches.
Born in the New Forest, Matthew was converted as a teenager, and his life was Christ-centred from that point onwards.
After finishing school, he studied at Birmingham Bible Institute. Upon leaving, Matthew and his wife Jean settled in the unknown territory of Stockton-on-Tees to take over the running of the Quayside Mission, a refuge for the homeless and a site of gospel ministry.
It was a daunting prospect for a young couple, but with the Lord’s help they persevered until it eventually closed down as a result of town centre redevelopment.
A group of believers who had gathered there for worship formed Stockton Independent Evangelical Church and called Matthew to be their part-time pastor.
For a time he combined that work with the job of being what was then known as an ‘ambulance man’. Matthew recalled that, when on call, much sermon preparation took place in the ambulance station staff room. Eventually, he was able to become full-time pastor.
In the late 1980s he began to feel that his time at Stockton was coming to an end, and in 1989 he was appointed Home Secretary of Spanish Gospel Mission, for which he had already been area representative in the northeast.
This fulfilled an interest in Spanish gospel work stretching back to Matthew’s earlier days.
After 27 years in Stockton, during which time Matthew and Jean’s children – Matt, Lorna, Helen and Grace – had been born, he and Jean moved to Grassmoor, near Chesterfield.
For some 15 years he visited churches, produced magazines, prayer newsletters, and handled administrative work for the Mission.
His enthusiasm for gospel work in Spain took him across the UK and he visited the Mission churches in Spain twice a year.
During this time he was a faithful member of Holmegate EC in Clay Cross. He maintained involvement with that church after his retirement in 2004, preaching there and at other churches, as well as running a bookstall.
In his spare time, Matthew was a great lover of railways, poetry, and books. He was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, pastor, and friend.
In all his activities, he was faithful to the Word of God and concerned for the glory of Christ, in whose presence he is now and will be forever.