Gospel Tidings was begun by my grandfather Frank Leslie Rowell during the second World War. He was the pastor of Hope Baptist Chapel in Rochdale in Lancashire. He and other church members were deeply concerned for the spiritual welfare of the men in the congregation who had been called up for National Service. This concern was initially expressed in the publication of a small news letter called “Hope Chapel Circular”. This carried news and Christian messages to those who were far away from home and family.
As time went on the number of those who appreciated the Circular increased as many beyond the Rochdale service-men became appreciative readers. At the end of the war and the conclusion of my father’s ministry at Rochdale he still had a burden to spread the message of the grace of God to those on his mailing list and any others who would become interested.
In December 1964 the first edition of Gospel Tidings was published. At first it was a simple 25 page magazine in a plain buff-coloured cover. The intention was to publish sermons, lectures, articles, and poetry which would be of spiritual encouragement and also give opportunity for living authors of a Free-grace Baptist persuasion to publish their work.
Sadly, in January 1973, my grand-father died from a heart-attack and it was left to my father to carry on the work of editing the magazine and directing the affairs of the Trust along with great support from a number of willing Trustees and friends, especially in the church at Evington where my grand-father had been the Pastor in the closing years of his ministry.
In May 1977 it was felt necessary to set up The Gospel Tidings Trust as a registered charity with the registration number 273755. Since then the Trust has published the magazine as and when there was sufficient funds and material for another edition. A number of books have also been produced and sold widely during the life of the Trust. A Benevolent Fund was also commenced which has been of help to Christian ministers and friends as gifts could be made as funds became available.
In 2008 the number of people on the mailing list had dwindled and the support for the magazine was declining. My father took the decision to terminate the work of Gospel Tidings. It was however his desire that the material in the magazine should be made accessible for all by converting all the material into web pages. This was done before my father died in 2015.