Tribute: James G. Hutchinson

Evangelist James G. Hutchinson was called into the presence of his Lord on November 29, 2011, in his 92nd year, after a short illness. He is survived by his wife Elsie, daughters Margaret and Maureen (and their husbands), grandchildren Greer and Andrea, together with four great-grandchildren, and his brother Bertie.

Following a private family burial in Comber cemetery, conducted by Sam Patterson, the funeral service was held at the Ballymagarrick Gospel Hall. Mr. Samuel Thompson spoke, ably supported by others, including Jim’s grandson, who provided a family reflection. Those participating brought words of comfort for the bereaved, reiterated the hope of the gospel that Jim had preached so faithfully, and challenged those present to continue Jim’s work of sharing the message of the gospel.

Jim, as he was affectionately known by so many in Northern Ireland, was born on September 13, 1920. His father was John Hutchinson, an evangelist, and his mother was Sarah. He had two brothers and a sister. Only his brother Bertie now remains. The family grew up in Banbridge.

He was saved in 1934, while attending tent meetings conducted by his father and the late Willie Johnston at Huntly, Banbridge.

Jim was soon baptized and received into fellowship at Banbridge. He quickly showed a keen interest in the things of the Lord and his gift for preaching was immediately recognized.

In business, he worked in the retail shoe trade in Banbridge. He was promoted to manager and transferred to Londonderry where he also enjoyed fellowship at East Wall assembly. He became busy preaching the gospel in that area and in County Donegal. God blessed these efforts in saving a number of souls.

On April 11, 1944, Jim married Elsie Martin of Banbridge. Elsie and Jim had known each other from primary school days.

Jim felt the call of God and was wholeheartedly commended to full-time service in the work of the Lord in August 1946. His preaching was Christ-centered, presented with clarity, concise, and challenging: sin and salvation, man’s ruin, and God’s remedy in Christ. It was black or white with no gray, as he himself often remarked. God richly blessed his labors with many conversions and restorations.

In ministry, he ever sought the spiritual welfare of the saints and their upbuilding. At conferences, it was a joy to see him rise to open the Scriptures and feed the people of God, challenging their hearts. He completed 65 years of preaching in full-time service and was still preaching to within a few weeks of his home-call.

He was much sought after to conduct wedding and funeral services. His personality, adeptness, and dignity that he brought to these occasions was always something special for the families concerned.

While he felt his principle call was to his homeland, he received many invitations to Great Britain, North America, Australasia, Africa, and Europe. His visits were fruitful in gospel and ministry.

In 1998, Jim wrote a book entitled, Something of My Life. It is challenging to read, outlining many things of great interest causing thanksgiving to God and glory to His name.

The deep loss of his passing is felt by his beloved wife Elsie, to whom he was married for over 67 years. This sadness and grief is also shared by his daughters, Margaret and Maureen, and the wider family who have shown their love and care for their parents in their advancing years. Elsie was a true helper and supporter of her husband through ever changing circumstances in life. She testifies of God’s faithfulness to them both, through His people, and affirms the faithfulness of her husband in his dedicated service for the Lord. One of the families’ abiding and challenging memories is that Jim never discussed his financial needs with them. He was utterly dependent on his Savior and Lord.

The assemblies in Northern Ireland have suffered a tremendous loss, not least the Comber Road, Dundonald assembly, his home since 1950. He served the Lord faithfully and was true to His Word. It was a life well-lived to God’s glory. “Whose faith follow.”