Memorial: Albert McShane

WITH CHRIST - MAY 20, 2002

David Gilliland

It was with a great sense of loss that many heard of the home call of our beloved brother Albert McShane, on May 20th 2002.

Our brother was born in a rural district about three miles from Lurgan. After his conversion in January 1929, he was received into the assembly at Kilmore which was small and very weak. In those days it was not unknown for him to come to the little hall, light the fire, and when no one else appeared, kneel to pray and go home. On other occasions his only company was a few older sisters and a brother who was over eighty years and to whom he often referred. Thankfully, the Lord blessed his work locally so that after his marriage, when he moved to be in fellowship in the Lurgan assembly, the assembly at Kilmore had grown considerably.

His full time preaching career began in 1944 when he joined Mr. William McCracken of whom he often spoke with evident affection. This proved to be a fruitful partnership for as long as Mr. McCracken's health allowed, extending into the early fifties. After some time he became associated with Mr. Alec Lyttle with whom he spent a number of years of faithful service in the gospel. This was followed by a period with Mr. Norman Turkington and then, in recent years, by a partnership with Mr. David Gilliland, who continued with him to the end.

He loved the gospel and nothing gave him greater joy than to see the tent erected every summer in some area of the countryside. While well known for his ability in ministry, he never allowed himself to become devoted solely to this work in which he could easily and usefully have employed his time. He was ever stressing the need for assemblies to keep active in the gospel if they were to be preserved spiritually and expand numerically and often pointed out the disastrous effects upon assembly life in countries where ministry has taken precedence over the Gospel.

His ministry was much valued for a number of reasons. He had an ability to handle difficult and obscure topics in a way which made them accessible to the ordinary listener. In scope, he covered a very wide range of truth and he was not a man for repeating well worn sermons. Many who heard him hundreds of times can never recall hearing him repeat a message. Not only were his messages fresh but he ever seemed to be able to have a message suitable to an occasion. This was true of his conference addresses and especially evident in the many fitting messages which he delivered at funeral services. His material was presented in a format and with a forcefulness which riveted it on the memory of his hearers, often leaving indelible impressions. He loved con­ciseness and was never unduly lengthy. Perhaps this is another feature which contributed to the unforgettable nature of his addresses as he compressed good material into small compass.

Our brother had a special skill in conducting Bible readings. He took a leading part in the Lurgan Conference for many years as well as sharing in other conference readings at Larne, Belfast, Albertbridge Road and Limavady. His last reading of this type was on John 19 at Newtownstewart on New Year's Day, 2002.

Perhaps his most influential Bible reading work was in tile Saturday evening reading in Lurgan for which he was responsible for almost 53 years. There are many, throughout the years and across the country, who can testify to the great help they received from the clear exposition given at this meeting. Consistent and comprehensive teaching was imparted and during the period, Mr. McShane led readings on every book in Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.

Mention must also be made of his travels. While he loved to be at home and was very much a Northern Ireland man, his labours were also known in England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. A further extension of his ministry came through his writings. He had a fruitful pen and many have profited from his commentaries on books in both the Old and New Testaments as well as numerous articles in assembly magazines spanning the years and covering a wide range of scriptural subjects. Indeed, he was working at material to within a few weeks of his home call and some material which he produced has not yet been published.

While many feel the loss, nowhere will this be more keenly felt than in the home. Prayer will be valued by the family and especially by his widow, Mrs. McShane, who shared many sacri­fices in fellowship with her husband and was fully behind him in his work for the Lord over these many years. May the Lord create within the heart of all who knew our departed brother a spiritual exercise for the advancement of the work of the Lord, to which he, through divine grace, made such a significant contribution.

* * * * *

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (Hebrews 13:7).