Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy, if with my latest breath …

Daniel Draper was known as the ‘second founder’ of Wesleyan Methodism in South Australia. During his nine years of leadership in Adelaide from 1846 to 1855 membership increased ten fold. After this, he became superintendent of the Wesley church in Melbourne.

In 1865 he returned to England as a representative at the British Conference. He made arrangements to return to Australia, booking a passage on the steamship London, bound for Melbourne.

The badly overloaded ship foundered in the Bay of Biscay on 11 January 1866, and sank during a storm. There were only 19 survivors out of a total of some 239 passengers on board.

The survivors told the story of how Draper prayed on deck, urging the doomed passengers to make ‘the port of heaven’. He sang the hymn ‘Rock of Ages’ as the ship went down. He brought hope where there was no hope.

When news reached Australia of his death, friends recalled the fervour with which he had often sung the lines of Charles Wesley:

Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp His name;
Preach Him to all, and cry in death;
Behold, behold the Lamb!

It was Draper’s lot to be given the opportunity to make those words a tragic reality amid the heaving waters off the coast of France.

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What a way to go!

Everyman ready for glory!


Memorial to a church planter

Abridged from This side of heaven, Arnold D. Hunt, page 38-39 and other sources

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What a way to go!

George Cole was born in Chichester, in Sussex in 1792. He became a devout “Bible Christian” Methodist believer whilst living in England. Later he emigrated to South Australia in 1839 and on his arrival in Adelaide became a Wesleyan Methodist.

He died on November 21st 1853 whilst leading a public worship service in Adelaide. He was reading the passage in John chapter 1, where John the Baptist denies being the messiah, and read the words
He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.’” (John 1:20)

George Cole got to the last word in verse 20, and then collapsed and died. Thus he went to heaven with the name of “Christ” literally on his lips. He was 61 years old.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee. (from the hymn Rock of Ages)

What a way to go!

Related posts

Everyman ready for glory!


Memorial to a church planter

From This side of heaven, Arnold D. Hunt, page 44

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This Friday will be 11.11.11 (11 November, 2011). At eleven seconds after eleven minutes past eleven it will be 11.11.11am on 11.11.11. Now I'm not a big fan of the significance of numbers, but the 11th of November each year is known as Remembrance Day because at 11:00am we pause for two minutes silence to remember those who died in war.

Remembrance Day was instituted to remember the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918, the event that formally ended the First World War.

World War I was a terrible war, ironically called ‘the war to end all wars’. Many thousands of young men lost their lives in seemingly pointless battles in the trenches of northern France.

Tens of thousands were killed in places such as Ypres, The Somme, Passchendaele and Fromelles . In the battle of The Somme, some 58,000 British troops were killed on the first day alone. It was carnage on a massive scale.

It is estimated that some ten million men were killed in the war. So many men of marriagable age were wiped out that after the war they became known as The Missing Generation. It was much harder for women to marry because of the shortage of eligible men. The social consequences were significant.

Today we have another Missing Generation. It is a missing generation of young men and women who are missing from the church and the cause of Christ. Congregations are getting older, and are literally dying off, with many fewer young adults to replace them. Surveys in the UK and Australia show the same trend.

We have a rising generation of young people who may never have been to church (except for a wedding or a funeral), who have not read anything much of the Bible, and who have never clearly heard or experienced the life changing gospel of Christ. Their image of Christianity, and church in particular, is often one of being irrelevant, and out of touch with the real world.

This Missing Generation are a harvest field to be reached for the gospel of Christ. Let us not forget them.

So this November 11th will you pause to pray for the Missing Generation, for those that need to hear the gospel? Will you remember them?

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1. Always hope

2. Why Innovation is needed in church life

3. ANZAC Day Reflection

4. Asking the hard questions