Saturday 4 February at Hayes Town Chapel proved a joyful occasion, with about 80 people, including Evangelical Times directors, editors and journalists, as well as many friends of ET’s ministry, meeting together to thank God for his kindness and faithfulness over the past 50 years.
February 1967 saw the newspaper’s initial launch, with Peter Masters, then a pastor at Borehamwood, as its first editor, and 20,000 copies printed for the first issue. Many changes have taken place since 1967, including the newspaper’s office location (now at Darlington), directors, editors, office staff, pricing and format.
Although, in common with the rest of the newspaper industry, ET’s UK circulation has declined from those early days, its global ministry has significantly expanded. There is an online website, a monthly newsletter and a much appreciated quarterly, Evangelical Times International.
ET fulfils a vital supportive role for hundreds of UK evangelical churches, who use its website, and online and hard copy literature ministry as resources for evangelism, teaching, missionary support and prayer fellowship between churches.
During the first part of the service, the scope and history of ET’s ministry were set out in a fascinating powerpoint presentation, given by ET director and online editor Andrew Rowell. Other ET directors took part in the service, including the reading of Psalm 107:21-43 by Paul Garner (also of Biblical Creation Trust).
During the second half, Rev. Iain H. Murray (Banner of Truth) preached both a challenging and comforting message from Psalm 107:43. His text was: ‘Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord’. He focused on God’s often unseen, but always active, control of history.
This sovereignty is a great blessing to the righteous as they perceive God’s love at work in providence. But it is a token of judgment to unbelievers, who, in their pride, cannot understand spiritual things. Mr Murray preached at Hayes Chapel the next Lord’s day morning.
The warmth of welcome and hospitality shown by the congregation at Hayes helped to make this a truly memorable occasion.