Ernest Lloyd, 1913-2010
On December 23 2010, Ernest Lloyd went to be with the Lord. He was 98 years old.
By any standard his life was remarkable. At the age of five, Ernest was abandoned to the care of the Naomi Home for Women and Children, run by the Barbican Mission to the Jews. He never knew his father and the only recollection he had of his mother was that of a tall, dark, Italian Sephardi Jewess from whom he inherited his height, black hair and striking looks. Life was particularly hard for Jews during WWI. A timid and melancholic child, Ernest was an object of hatred, called a ‘Christ killer’ and like many other Jewish children, suffered frequent taunts and even stoning.
In his late teens, following an intense intellectual and spiritual conflict, Ernest became convinced that Jesus was the Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets and, in 1933, commenced his life’s work with the British Society for the Propogation of the Gospel among the Jews, now Christian Witness to Israel.
In August 1937, he married Jessie McGowan, a blunt, independent spirited but immensely compassionate Geordie who patiently endured his long absences in the cause of Jewish mission. The door of their flat in Muswell Hill was never locked and there were always guests and people being helped.
In the 70 years of his missionary service, Ernest travelled more than one million miles and preached more than 200,000 times in 20 countries to countless multitudes. He was an evangelist, a teacher, a preacher, an advocate of mission to the Jewish people and a spokesman for the international Messianic movement. In spite of frequent bouts of ill health, he single handedly layed the foundations for mission work to the Jewish people in South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Though not all remained affiliated to Christian Witness to Israel, almost all those branches continue to present a vibrant witness to the Jewish communities in their countries.
Many were saved through his ministry and often he led them to Christ himself, but at other times his role was to break down prejudices and lay a foundation on which others could build.
Ernest never owned his own home, never learned to drive and never learned another language. At the age of 98 he had a better memory than men half his age. He was an avid and wide reader, a lover of music and an indefatigable writer of letters. He is survived by his two sons.