Blest Be The Tie That Binds

Yesterday we said goodbye to my 92 year old dad. Having my two brothers share in the funeral service with me was special, as was seeing the chapel filled with lots of men, an indication of his sporting interests and career in the legal profession. One of the judges who came had left a trial at the Old Bailey at midday, caught a train to Chelmsford, attended the funeral then zoomed back to the Old Bailey.

It was such a privilege to speak out the Easter message, ‘He is not here, He has Risen…just as He said he would’.

Life has come to the place of death. ‘O Death where is your sting?’

A sad day, but full of the sure and certain hope to eternal life.

So many lovely sympathy cards, and flowers. A vital sense of being held and belonging to the ‘fellowship’. A special thanks to those who Held the Ladder for me

Then back to London and more ‘stop start’ packing ready because of the steam of callers coming to say ‘goodbye’.

Just can’t stop the tears flowing as we pray, and read the entries in the Visitors book. Love is not a feeling – it’s something real, tangible, touchable…and raw.

Our last night in our home  will be Wednesday and then it all happens on Thursday when our bed and much of our furniture will be distributed around the fellowship (anyone need a tumble drier?).

The relationship a pastor has with his sheep is very special; some how we get into each others hearts. I’m beginning to understand how John Fawcett felt when he was inspired to write that powerful hymn ‘Blessed be the tie that BINDS our hearts in Christian love’. His story was amazing

John Fawcett was born into a poor family in Yorkshire, England, in the 1700’s and was orphaned at age 12. To survive, he accepted a lengthy apprenticeship to a tailor. Then, while still in his teens, he heard the great George Whitfield preach and became a Christian.

While serving his apprenticeship, Fawcett became active in a Baptist church and was often asked to speak. Then at age 25 (and newly married) he was invited to serve as pastor of a small church at Wainsgate near Bradford. The poor people of that little village were able to pay very little, and much of Fawcett’s pay came as potatoes and other produce. Once his wife, Mary, began having children, they found it difficult to survive.

Then Fawcett learned that the pastor of a large Baptist church in London was retiring, and he let the church know that he would be interested in serving them. They called him to be their pastor at a much larger salary, so John and Mary packed their household and prepared to move. But then, as the story is told, as they began walking through the high street with their belongings on a horse and cart, the people weeping alongside the road really touched their hearts. Mary told John that she didn’t think that she could leave these people whom they had both learned to love –– and John, tears flowing down his cheeks said neither could he. So the two of them turned back, unpacked the wagon and let the London church know that they wouldn’t be coming.

Then Fawcett sat down and wrote this hymn, “Blest Be the Tie,” to convey his sentiments and those of his wife to the poor people among whom they had chosen to live. It was sung the next Sunday. Fawcett served that little church for the rest of his life –– 54 years in all and saw it grow to over 600 members.

These words sum up how we feel about leaving All Nations

1.            Blest be the tie that binds

our hearts in Christian love;

the fellowship of kindred minds

is like to that above.


2.            Before our Father’s throne

we pour our ardent prayers;

our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,

our comforts and our cares.


3.            We share each other’s woes,

our mutual burdens bear;

and often for each other flows

the sympathizing tear.

4.            When we asunder part,

it gives us inward pain;

but we shall still be joined in heart,

and hope to meet again.

2 thoughts on “Blest Be The Tie That Binds

  1. Kari Lindqvist says:

    You both have a big part in my life

    You gave me Home, after I had lost my wife. You showed me Christ´s loving care, when I needed encouragement. Through all these 30 years I have always felt that your guestroom has been my London Home. Bonneville has been my Church and Y2 have been the couple that I wanted to learn from. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

    I am weeping alongside the Atkins Rd as you are mooving ahead.


  2. Irene Antwi-Buasiako says:

    When we asunder part,it gives us inward pain;

    but we shall still be joined in heart,and hope to meet again.

    The song sums this parting and helps me to be able to move on as you and Ann and have played a big spiritual part in my life and that of countless others. This is neither a flippant statement or time to be modest! It is the truth and you will both know the extent of your obedience in its entirety when God reveals it to you here on earth and in Heaven above. You imparted love and confidence for me to grow as a christian who is always longing for a deeper relationship with Jesus and also to dream BIG for Jesus. This is a sentiment that many others will share.
    Ann is a gentle and selfless person and one others can confide in. We will continue to miss you but we will keep in touch.

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