Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rev Edward Ernest Gooding Field

Edward Ernest Gooding Field was born in Devon. England, on the 27 May 1891. When he was six years of age, the family emigrated to South Africa, settling first at Graaff-Reinet, then Durban and finally Worcester.
Ernest Field came to know Christ at a very early age and sensed a call to service for his Master.
He received his higher education at the Stellenbosch and Cape Town Universities.
While attending a Christian Endeavour Convention an Alice, CP, in 1914 he met Mabel Glass, his beloved life-partner.
He became a school teacher but the call to the ministry persisted. His preaching ability was recognized and he was accepted as a ministerial student. He served the Churches at Port Alfred, Queenstown, Victoria Park (Port Elizabeth), Taylor Street (King William’s Town) and finally Alice.
He was elected to lead the Baptist Union as President in 1938. For many years Mr and Mrs Field organized the Baptist Union Scripture Examination. In 1948 he resigned from the Pastorate owing to his wife’s health, and took up a teaching appointment at the Lovedale School.
Mr Field was a much loved pastor. He is affectionately remembered by all who enjoyed the benefits of his ministry. He was a good organizer, giving attention to even the minutest details. He was a friend and counsellor to all who sought help in times of trouble. Many came to know Christ through his ministry of visitation. His God-given ability to bring healing to the sick by the laying on of hands, was never advertised and was only used for the Glory of God.
It was as a musician that his talents shone. He composed music of a high standard, trained choirs and even spent time developing the talent of individuals and teaching them to sing. His passion for souls and love for the Master is evidenced here.
He was a devoted husband and his wife’s prolonged illness brought the best out of both of them. He spared no efforts to see that she was as comfortable as possible. Together, they always maintained a bright and cheerful faith.
Mr Field never spoke evil of any. He lived close to his Lord. His influence in the community continued long after his retirement from the active pastorate.
Shortly after his wife’s passing and not long before his own Home-call, Mr Field sent to the Editor a most moving tribute to his wife, from which the following has been extracted and in which something of his own character is revealed.
“Mabel Eva Glass was born in Alice, CP in October, 1893, of parents who were life-long zealous workers in the Alice Baptist Church. She spent most of her youth in the village and, after qualifying as a teacher, returned to her home town to take up an appointment at the local public school. She soon became a pillar of strength to the Alice Baptist Church.”
Mr Field went on to refer to their marriage in July 1918 and continues: “If ever there was a holy partnership of heavenly treasure, it was here.” “He and his wife,” he wrote, “shared the prayers, the planning, and the contracts of love, reflected in many warm hearts, during five pastoral charges…..There was much sowing in tears, or in sleepless nights, interspersed with reaping in joy……souls led to the Lord, Christians becoming strengthened in the faith, and many hitherto non church goers gathered in.”
In 1932 in Pietermaritzburg, Mrs Field graced the SABWA Presidential Chair, and for many years exercised a gracious influence at the annual women’s meetings.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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