Our History

The history of GARF

A quaint name like the Gospel Advocate Relief Fund takes some explaining. In 1867 North Street Chapel, Eastboume, called as the pastor of their church (which was to become known later as Cavendish Place Independent Chapel) A J Baxter. Baxter was a gifted and energetic man who among his many other endeavours began to publish a magazine, The Gospel Advocate for Promoting Spiritual Unity. This publication was well-received and had a good circulation. Through the magazine, Baxter began a fund to help needy Gospel ministers, inviting subscriptions and gifts from his readers. The Gospel Advocate Magazine Fund was born. After the death of Mr Baxter the magazine was edited for some years by Mr J W Tobitt, Pastor at ‘The Tabernacle’, Hastings, but sadly ceased publication in 1921. However, the charity established through the magazine continued. It was renamed the Gospel Advocate Relief Fund in 1979. In 2007 several friends felt that an attempt should be made to re-launch the magazine, and meetings were arranged to prayerfully explore the possibility. The prospect seemed somewhat daunting, after what must be a record gap of 87 years! The first issue of the new ‘Gospel Advocate’ was published in January 2008 as a quarterly magazine under the editorship of Mr Timothy Martin, and continues to serve a growing readership. The ‘Gospel Advocate’ describes itself as a devotional magazine, and as such seeks to maintain the warm application of sound teaching found in the spirit of its founding fathers, Baxter and Tobitt