Eunice Grace Field 1910-2008
Eunice Grace Field, member of the church at Grove Road, Eastbourne, passed away peacefully in the Hove Bethesda Home on July 3rd, 2008, aged 98.
Our friend worshipped in Salem Chapel, Carshalton, with her husband Ben. They were baptized together at Salem and joined the church there on December 5th, 1937. Here her soul was instructed and blessed under her pastor, Mr. Samuel Stevens, and her soul quickened into life. She had a special time of blessing under her pastor’s ministry when he preached from Matthew 28. 18 (‘All power is given unto Me’), which raised her to a hope in Christ, and Christ was made very precious to her soul at that time. Her soul was fed under her pastor’s ministry. She was a member there for over fifty years.
In 1985, Mr. E. Moore preached from John 15:16 (‘Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you’), when she had a renewal of the love of Christ to her soul with power. On Christmas Eve 1985 she went to bed and was reading from Mr. John Gosden’s memoirs, and read how he too was favoured with John 15:16, when she again was favoured to be filled with the love of Christ, accompanied by hymn 1032 in Gadsby’s, especially verse 3. By now it was Christmas morning; she lay awake until 2 a.m., filled with love to Christ.
In May 1987 Mr. Ernest Saunders, now a deacon, read John 15. At verse 16, again love to Christ filled her soul. The truth in John 15:16 was so evidently made special to her.
Again in May 1987 one of God’s servants preached from Matthew 28:18, when she had a renewal of blessing which she had known over fifty years before through her pastor, Mr. Samuel Stevens. Christ was again made very precious.
Her husband Ben Field died in March 1989, which meant that she began to need to have a home to be looked after. She was favoured to move to Eastbourne in 1990 to live with her daughter Mary and husband John, who lovingly cared for her over the next fifteen years until she needed care in the Hove Bethesda Home, where she was also lovingly cared for.
Her first service at Grove Road Chapel, Eastbourne, the text was Psalm 121:8 (‘The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore’). This was made special to her. Our friend sought membership at Eastbourne in 1991. Her testimony was well received – a lady who knew well the plague of her own heart, and her interest in Christ. She gave her testimony in July 1991 and was received into the church at Eastbourne in September 1991.
During the first three years at Eastbourne she was often favoured in her soul. She kept a diary at that time and often spoke of times of blessing. She was a good hearer. She was especially favoured through hearing her son Richard, and by him received the anointing for her burial. The first was in the Coppice Chapel in November 1991. His text was Hebrews 11:16 (‘But now they desire a better country’). This was renewed again at Bodle Street by her son Richard in August 1993, when again the text was Hebrews 11:16; also Richard quoted John 14:1-3, which was made hers more than once in the years that followed. Her son David preaching at Eastbourne mentioned John 15:16. She said this once again broke her hard heart.
The last three years of her life were spent at Hove Bethesda Home. She had become stone deaf, but often responded to the Word of God or hymns.
Her large family often visited her and had sweet moments together. I too was favoured in visiting, when for the most part I tried to remind her of what the Lord had done for her and often received lovely smiles. We were favoured to have her at Grove Road for her last seventeen years. ‘The memory of the just is blessed.’
I was favoured to be with her the last day of her life, when two of her daughters and her eldest son were there. The Bethesda staff were so good to her and with her. I believe they loved having her with them.
The funeral service was held in Tamworth Road Strict Baptist Chapel, Croydon, on July 18th, 2008. The interment was at Bandon Hill Cemetery, Wallington.
Her son Richard wrote in March 2004: “I have checked through my diaries, and the other occasion which I have spoken to you about was on Monday evening, November 11th, 1991, when I had preached from this same text (Heb. 11. 16) at the Coppice chapel. After this service we brought her home with us, and we had not been travelling very long when she said to me, ‘Well my boy, you have been preaching to your mother tonight, and I feel that I have received the anointing for my burial.”
In a letter dated September 6th, 1993, to her son Richard, she wrote:
I thought you would like to know, Richard, that your preaching at Bodle Street I felt was for me. As you know, I had difficulty in hearing at West Street and Ripley, but at Ripley, when you quoted, ‘In My Father’s house,’ etc., when you came to, ‘Where I am, there ye may be also,’ it entered into me. Well now, at Bodle Street I felt you preached the longings and desires of my heart, and as you went along, so I went along with you, but I felt so unworthy: just a lump of sin – and I said, ‘Lord, is this really for me? If it is, do let Richard repeat that text as he did at Ripley,’ and before you finished you repeated the text. Now I felt it to be a wonderful privilege for son to preach to mother and would give Him all the praise.
The following are extracts from her diaries:
December 24th, 1985. Went to bed about 10:30. Had been reading J.H. Gosden’s memoirs and he writes of being favoured with the text, ‘Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen thee.’ Same text as I felt so favoured when Mr. E. Moore was with us in July the first Sunday, and it brought the same love and power that I felt so favoured once again. Then these came: ‘I’ve bound thee up secure.’ I knew where to find them and put the light on without waking Dad, and the whole hymn was made good to me. I lay for some time and thought it was Christmas morning and wondered if this was really the day Christ was born, and felt how wonderful Christ should be born, and what love to come and redeem His people, to suffer, bleed and die, and felt such love fill my heart that I never went to sleep before 2 a.m., but that love did not quite leave me all over the Christmas.
January 14th, 1992. Had been out for a walk with Mary, and on return we could not open the front door. Mary went to the next-door neighbour for help. Whilst she was gone a voice seemed to say within me, ‘Pray about it.’ So I did, and then I put the key in the door again and it opened. So once again I was reminded, ‘My life’s minutest circumstance is subject to His eye.’
January 22nd, 1992. Pastor’s text was Joshua 3:13. He was very helped, and I was encouraged too; spoke so well of my feelings. Has been a great concern to me: is my name in the book of life? Assured this evening that it is and how my feelings in wanting another token were described. Altogether it was a good sermon; I only wish I could retain it better.
March 8th, 1992. Went to chapel again after being in for two weeks. During that time I felt so dark, vile – a real, black sinner. I did hope if I was real that there may be a crumb for me today. It was good to be in the house of God again. The third hymn, number 24 verse 3 (‘Assure my conscience’), was what I needed. In the evening Pastor traced out to me just my feelings during the days I was in, and said this is the pathway of a living soul. I really felt to come out of that darkness.
March 10th, 1992. Reading More Handfuls of Purpose. Mr. T. so confirmed Pastor’s preaching on Sunday. He said, ‘The Lord will touch you, shed abroad His love in your heart, favour you with a sweet smile, and you will know what resurrection is, and you will go on your way rejoicing.’ And that is how I feel, though this is the third anniversary of Ben’s death.
April 17th, 1992 (Good Friday). Dicker. Mr. M. preached. Spoke very much on one being reviled but not reviling again, speaking of Christ, but it was the first hymn that broke me, 785 [on the crucifixion], particularly the second verse. I had never had such a strong feeling like it before. It was Christ suffering for all my sins, and I felt such sorrow.
April 19th, 1992. I did ask the Lord that He would make this a special Easter day. Before going to chapel I had read hymn 441 (‘So fair a face bedewed with tears’) and felt a softening of heart, and when I arrived at the chapel, on the hymn board was 441 as the last hymn. This I felt as a little confirmation. Pastor was helped in tracing out the pathway, and then the crucifixion and how souls came to the church through baptism, being buried with Christ and rising to a new life, and how it is a soul’s desire to live and serve the Lord, and coming to old age, how the prayers of the aged are valued. Altogether I felt it to be a good day.
June 21st, 1992. Sunday School anniversary. Pastor spoke to the children. I thought, ‘Well, I am not beyond that yet.’ Hymn 185 from the Young People’s Hymn Book [on Ruth gleaning] was sung in the morning. I had never seen the hymn before, but it got right into my heart. I felt these are the very things I want to know now.
July 12th, 1992. Mr. Mercer not well; reading services morning and evening. Early in morning, looking back in my life and wondering if after all I was deceived, hymn 376 came to my mind, verse 6 and the last two lines: ‘After so much mercy past, canst Thou let me sink at last?’ This was the last hymn in the evening.
July 26th, 1992. Had a sweet time early this morning in reading Mr. Ramsbottom’s [25th Anniversary] book. He speaks about being led out to Bethany, and says Bethany was a place of love, and so I felt I had received nothing but love since moving to Eastbourne. Beginning with dear Mary and John, they have shown such loving kindness to me, and Pastor, and the friends at Eastbourne as well. Then Psalm 121:8, this was made so good to me before going to chapel. We were late as the car would not start, but first hymn was 686; then Pastor read from 1 John 2:24 onwards, to the end of chapter 4. So much of the reading was on the love of Christ, and I felt I had a little of that love in my heart. Hymns 1070, 983 and 1013 were also sung and Pastor had much liberty in preaching both morning and evening; text was Psalm 133; altogether it was a good day.
September 20th, 1992. A day of thanksgiving at the chapel; and how great are the Lord’s mercies to unworthy me. It really was a day of praise. Text: 1 Chron. 16:28,29.
January 3rd, 1993. It has been such a long time since I felt a soft heart, a touch of His love. Pastor’s text was Luke 22:19, 20. He was helped morning and evening. In the evening he spoke about coming to the Lord’s table and eating and drinking unworthily. O I felt, ‘How can I go and sit there tonight?’ But then Pastor spoke of a soul who had felt the same, and she said she went to the table remembering her Lord, but she said, ‘But do remember me, Lord,’ and that is just how I felt and I went and sat at the table. Pastor preached so clearly of the judgement hall, Gethsemane, and the cross, but how little if anything did I feel to know. When I sat down at the table and bowed my head, I never had any words, but my heart was made soft and I felt it to be full of the love of Christ. Inwardly I sat and wept, though I tried to show nothing on the outside. I should have liked to have gone from the table to my bed, but this is impossible. I felt how good this was to begin the year, but wonder what lies ahead.
July 4th, 1993. Felt very comfortable all day. Pastor’s text was John 19:30: ‘When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar,’ etc. Spoke mostly in the evening of the sufferings of Christ, and how little I felt to know anything about these sufferings. At the Lord’s table Pastor spoke of a special time he had himself and how it renewed to me once at Carshalton at the Lord’s table, and the hymn, ‘He wept, He bled, He died for you,’ was given out, which again sank into my soul.
January 12th, 1994. David preached at Eastbourne, and during his remarks he mentioned a promise that I had many years ago, which was, ‘Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.’ Once again this broke my hard heart.
March 13th, 1994. Text, Joshua 4:6: ‘What mean ye by these stones?’ Pastor was very helped; described what these stones were, but more in the morning of going through the river of Jordan. Early in the morning I had these words: ‘This world is not my home.’ I thought it was hymn 1048, but found it to be 948; felt both hymns were on eternity, and Pastor spoke of the river of death, and the last hymn was Gadsby’s 934 (“Jerusalem, my happy home”). I looked at this before the service and it broke me down, but was able to sing the hymn when it was given out. It was a good morning service; good in the evening, but not quite the same.
September 18th, 1994. Went to chapel, feeling to need a fresh token. Text for the day was Luke 2:29. Feeling the Lord’s presence, felt so comfortable, and then Pastor quoted last verse of hymn 801. I had this verse come very forcibly to me in the night about two weeks before this. I had to put the light on to look it up. I really only felt one line: ‘O Jesus, Thou art mine,’ but then I read through the whole verse, and the whole hymn was so good to me, and Pastor quoted this both morning and evening. It was a good confirmation, because Pastor knew nothing about my feelings.
Taken with permission from The Gospel Standard, January 2009.
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