Many of our younger members today hear the term GPA, but they are probably not very aware of its function in inter-ecclesial activities, nor do they comprehend its history. The origin of the Association dates back to 1958 and consequently predates the commencement of many suburban ecclesias, and has operated for 37 years. The reason for its formation was specifically to assist Gospel Proclamation activities held by the fledgling ecclesias in the Adelaide suburban area and also to provide a means of handling the ever increasing list of contacts around the world. It quickly expanded beyond these objectives and was involved in assisting ecclesias interstate, and even world-wide.

Brethren H.P. (Perce) Mansfield and Lindsay Colquhoun were the instigators of the idea. The new committee formed was entrusted with the task of firstly distributing the “Digest of Truth” leaflets to ecclesias for their distribution, which leaflets advertised the “Herald of the Coming Age” to the public, and secondly sending out the bi-monthly “Herald” to all contacts who answered the various advertisements.

Printing and Preaching

 Bro Perce had already developed a considerable number of printing “blocks” to produce the advertising matter and Bro Stan Mansfield in Melbourne was the printer. In earlier years prior to this, Bro Perce and Bro Lindsay together with other supporting brethren and sisters, visited country centres and held Lantern Lectureson Bible subjects, and some families in the Truth find their origins from these efforts.

Widespread Effects

 Around the world ecclesias were advertising the “Herald” booklets on a wide range of subjects. Replies were all addressed to our Adelaide Post Office Box Number 226 and the booklets were then posted out. Countries including the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and other African countries, Indonesia, New Zealand, etc, were providing an ever increasing number of enquiries for booklets and letters requesting answers to questions from interested friends.

Bro Lindsay Colquhoun, the GPA President, was a unique individual, greatly loved and remembered together with his sweet wife, Sis Del. Their home in Highgate became the nerve centre of many activities and their wonderful hospitality was so welcoming. The work of Bro Lindsay was “Devotion Plus” and his service of such a rare kind, displaying intense preparation, sheer joy and enthusiasm.

Bro Lindsay never owned a car. He would:

  • walk the five kilometres to the memorial meeting in order to meditate, rather than be picked up
  • write out his exhortations in full
  • always pre-read the subject material for each Bible class and be ready to add information in the discussion session.

He was an Arranging Brother, Marrying Brother, Sunday School Superintendent and, in addition to normal platform appointments, he tutored baptismal candidates with a personally prepared set of notes, well before such things were common place. He would hold breaking of bread meetings with the hospitalised or sick. On one occasion he made it his personal obligation to go through Elpis Israel with a brother in hospital, who after 30 years’ departure from the meeting had asked to have his mind re-kindled in the Truth. He did this each week for over a twelve month period, and eventually he re-established the brother in fellowship in the ecclesia. This brother had lost both legs, had both arms physically paralysed and could only write by using a pen in his mouth.

As President of the GPA:

he would contact every committee member prior to the meeting “just as a reminder”, “just to confirm” their reports would be ready for the meeting;

he would personally greet every committee member to the meeting and make them feel treasured and important;

he would set out the agenda and chair the meeting, displaying on the table the records of work done in the previous month;

he would read out the number and titles of all “Heralds” sent out in the period to the various areas.

Sis Del, assisted by Sis Jean Johns and others, would be on hand to provide supper of sandwiches,

GPa

Balfour’s buttered fruit buns and tea and coffee from the traymobile. Bro Bruce Johns became a close companion and assistant to Bro Lindsay and as his health failed, eventually took over much of his work, and eventually the role of Secretary.

The Early GPA Activities

 The Association provided a broad spectrum of activities all closely linked with preaching work and the list which follows conveys the picture:

  • Charts and advertisements—Bro Jeff Berry poured out ideas, set out the charts for the young people to paint, and framed much advertising material.
  • “Herald” Stocks—Bro Arnold Cheek controlled the quantities required and held the stocks for distribution to ecclesias world-wide.
  • Answering Biblical Questions—It was not an easy project to write to so many folk who ofttimes enquired with broken English. First Bro Les Schrapel and then Bro Colin Beard did this work with untiring devotion, typing out the replies as a personal response to each correspondent.
  • Gospel Preaching Stand—When an ecclesia put on a Special Lecture in a public hall, GPA through Bro Gordon Riddle would arrive early and set up the hall with charts, speaker’s stand and the “Bookstand”. This portable stand was filled with “Heralds” and the Truth’s books for display.
  • Treasurer—Bro Lewis Luke handled finance, sent out accounts and gathered moneys in.
  • “Digest of Truth” leaflets—The task of raising orders, establishing topics and preparing artwork was given to Bro Peter Weller.
  • “Digest” Parcels—Dispatch of parcels became the work of Bro Lance and Sis Jan Weller from their garage at Edwardstown.
  • “Herald” Advertising / Printing Blocks—These were the days when all printing was done by using “lead” typeset, and lead etched plates were fixed to a timber backing, making a printer’s “block” to mount in surrounding typeset. Bro John King kept the stock of blocks, and loaned them out to ecclesias for placing in their local newspapers.

Those Were The Days!!

 When “Special Efforts” were really SPECIAL;

when a full page advertisement for a Town Hall Lecture in the Advertiser (funded largely by private donations) drew a response from over 120 friends;

 when the Majestic Theatre was hired for a lecture and the response was so great that six nights on first principles were held in weekly succession in the Temple, out of which baptisms directly resulted;

when largely resulting from the “Majestic” effort, “The Key to the Understanding of the Bible” was written and printed, to help guide people through the Scriptures to baptism;

when after the lectures, public questions were invited and visitors entered into heated debate from the floor;

when after “challenging” doctrinal subjects were advertised by us, the “Church of Christ” entered into a six night debate series and consequently our deaf brothers and sisters came into the Truth;

when ecclesial distributions were not hindered by “No Junk Mail!” stickers;

when families, including young children, could go pamphleting, even after dark without fear of more than the local dogs;

when brethren and sisters wandering from the way of separateness came running back to the ecclesia, whenever another skirmish between Israel and the Arabs took place;

when lecture titles on Russia, Israel, and the Middle East always brought people through the doors to listen.