Many of the Christians on Prince Edward Island can reflect on the faithfulness of one man dearly loved by all of us. Mr. Gratton’s homecall has flooded us with precious memories. His link with Prince Edward Island spans five decades. He first came to PEI with Albert Joyce in the summer of 1946, accompanied by his wife and two sons, Donald and Tim. One of Mr. Gratton’s life-long friends on PEI, Albert Ramsay, wrote in his book that Arnold Gratton “…proved to be a man of boundless energy with an abundance of ‘know-how.’” He would return to PEI many, many times after 1946 to faithfully preach the gospel and to minister to believers.
In 1948, Mr. Gratton had only been home for a few days, after several months of meetings in Western Canada, when he received a telegram requesting his help in PEI. Leaving his wife and children behind, he traveled to PEI for tent meetings in Gamble’s Corner, the same field where Albert Joyce and Herb Harris had seen a mighty work done fourteen years earlier.
Mr. Gratton not only labored in preaching in our Province, he knew what it was to physically work and to put everything into whatever work he was doing. In September of 1959, he parked his trailer in western PEI to help in the construction of two halls in Springfield West and Rosebank. His trailer became the dining hall for the construction crews.
This beloved servant of the Lord, who has gone home to heaven, labored in many communities in Prince Edward Island over 50 years: Long Creek, Mt. Albion, Cornwall, Kensington, Sherbrooke, Conway, Bonshaw, Hampshire, O’Leary, Inverness – just to name a few. Many of his spiritual children are now home in heaven. Others remain and are continuing on in faithfulness to Christ.
We remember Mr. Gratton for his energy and his quick movements to get things done and done right. We remember his earnestness and tenderness as he preached the gospel. We recall his vivid illustrations and stories. We remember his grasp of the Scriptures and his ability to bring a Bible study to life. We remember him as a true shepherd – one who cared not only about lost and perishing sheep but straying and discouraged believers as well. Even in advanced years, he made the trek to PEI and faithfully made whistle-stop visits to the homes of saints and sinners alike. To the best of our knowledge his last visit to PEI was the summer of 2004.
A memorial service on PEI was held on August 16th in the Freetown Gospel Hall for this honored servant of the Lord.