In 1991 Arthur and Jenny Hardiman joined the family of Church on the Way and for the next ten years richly blessed our fellowship. Born into a poor family in 1908, at the age of fourteen, on the death of his father, he became, as the eldest of the family, the breadwinner, working as a young butcher responsible for providing money to feed the family, taking home a wage of fifteen shillings a week (75 pence today). There came a defining moment in his life; being told by his employer to put an English ticket on some Polish chickens, (which would bring a higher price to his boss), and being a young yet devoted Christian he refused and was promptly given the sack. In those days no work meant no money and no food. He trusted God and found Him faithful! Before the day was out he had been offered employment with another butcher (when thousands were unemployed) and at a wage of £2/10 shillings (£2.50 a week) a huge wage rise in those days. As one who was privileged to know and work alongside him for nearly fifty years, I can testify that it was God who kept him and blessed him.
The family of Church on the Way shared in Arthur's ninetieth birthday celebrations, with a 'This Is Your Life' evening with his many friends who had worked with Arthur as he had worked in his varied career as a Labour Councillor, an Alderman of the City, a Magistrate, and as a Pastor of the then Annensley Methodist Church. All spoke of his leadership, his support, his encouragement and above all, his faith and trust in the living Lord Jesus. Having known the depression years of the thirties and the struggles related to providing for a family in the war years, Arthur could say with authority 'I found my Lord faithful, as a lad of fourteen years of age and could say that I have proved 'Him faithful who promised' in every situation since. It was with that rock like faith that he believed 'God would provide', which so richly blessed our fellowship during his later years. Whenever Arthur and his lovely wife Jenny were in the congregation, Pastor Jim always asked him to open the meeting in prayer. His rich strong voice spoke forth the love of God, and his words always exhorted the body at Church on the Way. Many of us remember the opening celebration of the new Youth Hall and Sunday School in 1996 when the building was dedicated and prayed over by Arthur. What a tremendous powerful prayer that was!
Arthur took a great interest in the needs of old people and he often arranged regular visits of singers and musicians to hold "praise and worship" evenings in local care homes. Even in old age this passion and enthusiasm to serve God never left both Arthur and his wife Jenny. At the age of 93 it blessed him to see the ministry of the "Lightbearers" come into being.