My father went home to be with the Lord on Friday, May 3rd. A week later I had the honor of giving the eulogy at his funeral back in Australia, and what follows below is a transcript.
He lived a wonderfully fruitful life for His Savior, and I will always consider it the most profound privilege to be his son. Love you Dad.
Aeron Morgan 1934 – 2013
On behalf of our family, I’d like to thank you all so much for being here with us today. Some have traveled long distances. Hundreds more may not have been able to attend, but have sent expressions of support from all around the globe. We are so appreciative of every one.
Several dear friends are going to share tributes in this service, and we are grateful to each of them. Especially I would mention Pastor Ian Nicholson and Pastor Phil Powell who have been an enormous support to Mam and Dad over the months of Dad’s illness.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
The story of Aeron Morgan’s life is a study in faithfulness. We who were privileged to observe him more closely than any others can testify that he was a faithful servant of God. And there is nothing higher that could be said of any man.
His brother, my Uncle Phil, has penned a few words on behalf of all the family back in South Wales, and from Aberaman Pentecostal Church – where it all began. He writes:
“Born on the 25th March, 1934, in 33 Davies Street, Aberaman, was a little baby boy, to Edward and Irene Morgan. They gave him a Welsh name AERON. The name Aeron translated means “MOUNTAIN OF STRENGTH”. Little did they know at the time that this would be a characteristic of his life and ministry as he served the Lord. Aeron from a young teenager was desirous of serving the Lord, and it soon became evident that the call of God was on his life.
When he left school in 1951, he went to work in the CID office at the Aberdare Police station. Some 2 years later the police sergeant by the name Mr. Tucker, confirmed to our parents, that Aeron was not cut out to be a policeman, but a preacher! A few years later at the age of 22 Aeron was pastoring His first church. It was only a small village Assembly. Aeron never despised his small beginnings but always thanked GOD for his formative days in his home church. He believed it equipped him for future ministries.
Just some things I have observed in Aeron’s life:
- He was a Mountain of Strength to his family. (Dinah, you were his mountain of strength throughout your ministry together).
- He was a Mountain of Strength to the churches he pastored.
- He was a Mountain of Strength to the Bible Colleges he lectured in.
- He was a Mountain of Strength to the churches he preached in worldwide.
- Last but not least, he was a Mountain of Strength in his devotion to prayer and the declaration of the truth of GOD’S WORD, he was uncompromising in his stand for Truth.
Up until the end of his earthly life, during his long illness, he was a mountain of strength to those who attended him.
I will finish with the words of a song that Aeron often sung, and I can hear his sweet tenor voice singing it:
“Let me burn out for Thee, dear Lord
Burn and wear out for Thee
Don’t let me rust, or my life be a failure, my God, to Thee
Use me and all I have, dear Lord,
And hold me so close to Thee
That I feel the throb of the great heart of God
Until I burn out for Thee.”
I trust that all who have been touched by our brother’s life and ministry will in return be Mountains of Strength in this our generation. He was one of the choicest sons of the Aberaman Pentecostal Church; one of many who have gone out into full time ministry and are still going out.”
As Uncle Phil wrote, Dad was born in Aberaman as the 3rd of 5 children. He attended Aberdare Grammar school where he played rugby with great distinction. The local newspapers predicted that he would be chosen to play for Glamorgan, which could have led even to playing for Wales one day. But 2 things happened: one incidental, and the other fundamental. He suffered an uncharacteristic illness that sidelined him from playing, but more importantly he sensed the call of God to ministry … and that call would take precedence over everything else for the rest of his life. So rugby union was left behind … though he always loved to watch it, saying it was “the only real game”.
After Grammar School he was conscripted into military service, and joined the Royal Air force. He was honorably discharged after about a month when he was found to have a perforated eardrum, which the doctors thought might have caused him problems flying in aircraft. (If those doctors only knew how many hundreds of thousands of miles he would later fly around the world to preach the gospel.)
In 1955 Dad married his lifelong sweetheart, Dinah. It wasn’t long before they took that first pastorate that my Uncle mentioned in the village of Llantwit Fardre. This would be the first of many pastoral assignments. He did it while working in the office of a plastics factory to support his young family. My sister Angela was born during that first ministry season.
Other pastors enjoy long terms in just 1 or 2 places, but the Lord moved Dad far more often, as he seemed to be called to a ministry of “mending things”. He was always being called to tough places, where his strong preaching and gracious pastoring would bring healing and strength.
After several years of ministry in South Wales, Dad received a call to finally be full time in the ministry in the town of Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, England. (This meant Mam & Dad leaving their beloved Wales – they returned often but would never live there again.) There are people from Thurnscoe in contact with us to this day, 5 decades later, who speak of how their lives were changed at that time. They remember Dad’s ministry there with such fondness, it’s extraordinary. My brother, Mike, was born in Thurnscoe.
From there, Dad was called to Darlington. I remember him telling us that when he arrived there he found a church that wasn’t just split – it was “shattered” in pieces – but nobody had left! It was a mess. But again the Lord used Dad’s ministry to bring it back to healing and strength.
When that church was back on its feet, Dad was called on again. This time to Radcliffe in Manchester. Radcliffe is where I was born. One day just a few years ago I was rummaging in Dad’s office for something, and I came across his diary for the year 1967. I thought, “This will be interesting.” And I quickly flipped open to the date of my birth … July 3rd. Dad had recorded several appointments that day, and written some comments about what a marvelous prayer meeting they’d had. Then in brackets at the bottom of the page, 3 words … “Son born, Philip”. Thanks Dad!
From Radcliffe, Dad was called to pastor at East Ham in London. It was there that an extraordinary move of God broke out. There were nights that Dad would leave people praying at the altar to bring our family home to bed, and then would go back to keep praying with people late into the night. It was during that season of revival Dad wrote the song that is printed on the back of your order of service:
Bring me there to the place near to Thine heart,
Bring me there, where no evil hath a part,
Bring me there, where Thy will is all supreme.
Bring me there Lord, bring me there.
In a sense Dad waited 40 more years for the aspiration of that prayerful song to be fully answered. His greatest desire was granted last Friday.
While he was pastoring in East Ham, he received a call from a church on the other side of the world. Toowoomba, in Queensland, Australia. Initially he turned it down because he didn’t feel that he could leave the move of God that was taking place in London. But the church contacted him again to say that Pastor A.T.Davidson was willing to give a year at Toowomba if Dad would come at the end of that time.
So, in 1971, our family boarded the Greek ship, RHMS Ellinis, and sailed the four week journey to Australia, where Dad became the pastor at Toowomba. We have dear friends here today who became part of our lives during that season of ministry.
In 1974, Dad was called by the national fellowship to become the Principal of Commonwealth Bible College in Brisbane. We had been there 2 weeks when the 1974 flood hit. The Brisbane River rose and completely submerged the college. The clean-up operation took days, but in the end the campus was unsalvageable. With all the students arriving to start the college year, Dad had to oversee billeting them all with church families, and arranging for lectures to be held in local churches. For the next year, between his new duties as Principal, Dad traveled around the country looking for a new home for CBC. One year later God had miraculously provided, and Dad oversaw the relocation to Katoomba, NSW. Another massive undertaking.
We were in Katoomba until 1981, when Dad was called back again to England. A return to pastoral ministry with a church in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Another remarkable move of God took place, and Mam looks back on those years as some of the most fruitful ministry years of their lives.
In 1987, the British Assemblies of God, meeting for their General Conference, came to a historic decision to appoint their first ever General Superintendent. This had been discussed before, but never enacted. There had always previously been resistance to the idea, but that year Dad’s name was put forward, and pastors rose to speak and said that they trusted Aeron Morgan. The extraordinary nature of this decision is attested by the fact that Dad’s name was actually inserted into the constitution and by-laws. Later on, when Dad resigned that position, the constitution had to be amended to allow for the election of successors.
For the next several years Dad “pastored the pastors” of the British Assemblies. He visited over 100 churches each year, as well as representing the fellowship across Europe.
Then in 1989, God spoke very clearly to him that he would be returning to Australia. Soon after, the Australian Executive contacted him. The principal of Commonwealth Bible College, Bro. David Bridges, had suffered a stroke and could not continue. Would Dad consider returning to that post?
Dad served at CBC again from 1989 until 1992, when he took his final pastoral assignment: the church at Nambour, on the Sunshine Coast.
He finally “re-tyred” in 1999 … at 65 years young … but he continued to have a constant worldwide ministry until just last year. He travelled to Europe and the USA very regularly, and committed himself to regular trips to South Pacific Bible College in Suva, Fiji, as a lecturer … back to his great love of training young men and women for the ministry.
This was the fruitful life of Aeron Morgan, borne testimony to by so many believers around the world who knew and loved him. A fine expositor of God’s Word, a pastor at heart, a teacher and mentor to many. Perhaps the most widely impacting legacy of his life is his students. So many have reached out to us from around the globe over the past few days. From his earliest days teaching at Kenley Bible College, in London, from the International Bible Training Institute in West Sussex, from Commonwealth Bible College in Katoomba (now Alphacrucis College), and from South Pacific Bible College, in Suva.
But then there is the Dad that we his family knew. And this is OUR testimony of a faithful man; a faithful husband, a faithful father and grandfather:
He taught us the gospel. He taught it accurately, and uncompromisingly. He taught us the whole counsel of God’s Word. I’ve been in full time pastoral ministry for 22 years now. I graduated Bible College, and have spent my life reading and studying. But I can honestly say my real preparation for ministry was sitting in my home church, listening to my Dad systematically teach God’s Word. Nothing has prepared me more in all my life.
But even more than that … He not only taught us the gospel … He LIVED the gospel. He never faltered and he never changed. There was no hypocrisy in Dad. What you saw in the pulpit was what he lived every day. He taught us again and again, I can hear him saying it now, “The greatest asset you can have in life is a clean heart.” He kept a clean heart.
Dad preached passionately about the holiness of God … he’d been humbled by it. He never preached legalistically. He lived his life in a kind of joyous reverence. He was not a perfect man. “The best of men are men at best”. But he was a truly Christ-like man.
He loved our mother. I can’t express just how much we adore him for that. Every day of our lives he was faithful to Mam, as she was to him. They are such an example to our family.
He was a tender man. When each of us were infants, night after night he would come home and go to our cradles, pick us up and bring us into bed with him and Mam to have us sleep in his arms. And he loved us so beautifully all our lives. He loved his grandchildren, and finally his great-children. He loved people everywhere with such a warm heart.
Finally, he was a man of prayer. Pastor Bill Randles from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, wrote in tribute to Dad this week, “One of my first thoughts on hearing of his home going was selfish, I admit, for I thought, ‘who will pray for us, as Aeron did?’”
I know exactly how he feels. I can’t tell you how many Sunday mornings he phoned me, or emailed me, to say “I’ve been praying for you this morning, son.” He was constant in prayer.
To bring this to a close: another text that Dad referenced so often in preaching … if I heard him say it once, I heard it a thousand times … 1 John 2:17 “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Aeron Morgan pursued the will of God from his boyhood. His life was completely surrendered to Jesus Christ. And Aeron Morgan is alive today … more alive in fact than ever. He would hate us to talk ethereally today about him somehow “being here with us”, or “looking down on us from heaven”. He’s not. He’s with Christ, which is far better. I imagine he’s prostrated on the ground adoring the Savior he hungered to see throughout his whole life.
Our family has been split up around the world several times, as we have followed God’s will. But probably the time we all remember the most was 1981 when Mam & Dad received the call to go back and pastor in the north of England. By that time our family were very much established here in Australia – my sister Angela was married and had presented my parents with their first grandchild (Amanda), my brother Michael was working in Sydney. I’m the youngest, and was still in high school, so I went with them – but we had to leave Michael and Angela behind. I vividly remember saying goodbye at Mascot airport. I remember even more vividly that Mam cried all the way to London – and that’s a very long flight. Dad was focused on Mam – he consoled her. We finally arrived at Heathrow airport and were met by some of our family from Wales, and I remember Mam going off to use the restroom. I saw Dad watch Mam all the way until she turned out of sight, and then he broke down in a flood of tears — his own emotion that he’d been holding in all the way from Sydney. And I can still hear the words he said to my Uncle Phil – as if it were yesterday – he said, “I don’t want Dinah to see.” She was his helpmeet … he was her rock.
I tell you that story simply to say that we know something about difficult partings. But we also know that God – in His love and providence – also allowed us the joy of being reunited. A few years later we were all back living in Australia again, able to enjoy being with each other.
And I’ve often thought of that. For believers a funeral is just exactly like an airport terminal. It can be heart-wrenching … but it is only “farewell” for a time, not goodbye.
The separation is real … and I tell you today it feels real … but it is not final. And from eternity’s perspective it will only be brief.
So it is “farewell” to our beloved husband, and our Dad, and our Papa. We will miss him every day. But we also know that we will see him in the morning.
God bless you.