The history of this charitable trust and the publication of its magazine, Gospel Tidings, can be traced back to the period of the last World War, 1939-44. At that time my father, Frank L Rowell, was the pastor of Hope Chapel, Rochdale, Lancashire. Along with the church members there he was deeply concerned for the spiritual well-being of the men of the congregation who had been called-up for National Service. This resulted in the publication of a small news-letter called the Hope Chapel Circular carrying local church news and Christian messages to those who were so far away from homes and families.
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 father died from a heart-attack and it was left to me 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 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.
The Gospel Tidings Trust Deed has a statement of faith to which all trustees must agree. This includes a statement regarding our belief in Baptist principles but reasonable liberty is given to the writers whose work is printed so that differences over matters like church-order and baptism are not a bar to publication so long as the great evangelical doctrines are maintained.
By the grace of God the work continues with three or four editions of Gospel Tidings produced each year. There has never been any formal charge made for the magazine and all financial needs have been met by the donations of our readers.
(Since the above words were written my father made the decision to cease publishing new editions of Gospel Tidings. In October 2015 my father passed away. Andrew Rowell)