The History of The Christadelphian Tidings Magazine
Bro. Robert J. Lloyd (cont’d)
Life as Editor
Bro. Bob Lloyd was already a very busy man when, in 1957, he accepted the position of editor of The Christadelphian Tidings. He had three young children and he was trying to get his new insurance business off the ground. But it probably didn’t take him long to decide to accept the offer. His daughter Linda shared with me that Bob truly believed, “he should always take the opportunity to do the Lord’s work. He knew he was helping people, and helping so many to choose the path that leads to life, that he wanted to serve and accept each call for service…he wouldn’t turn down any requests unless he physically couldn’t do them.”1Email from Linda Wilson, May 27, 2017
When a married brother is making these kinds of sacrifices for the brotherhood, we can be certain his wife is backing him up and making her own sacrifices for Christ. This is a reality that should never be forgotten.
Sis. Peggy Lloyd remembers the meeting at their home in which her husband was chosen to be the new editor of The Tidings. When Bob took on the role, he was determined to do the best job that he could, which of course involved a great deal of work on his part. In those early days several members of the Tidings committee would meet around the Lloyd’s dining room table each month to prepare the magazines for mailing. Using a portable printer, they placed the names and addresses on the magazines one-by-one. Peggy, Richard Stone (Assistant Editor) and John McConville (Subscription and News) all helped with the mailings.
That Bob took the responsibilities of publishing the magazine very seriously right from the start can also be gathered from what he wrote in the February 1958 editorial:
Bro. Bob knew that the magazine’s subscribers also had an important part to play, as he had mentioned in a message for the readers in the January 1958 issue, his first as editor:
The need for the readers’ support is something else that hasn’t changed over the years. There has continually been a struggle to raise enough money to cover the cost of publishing. Bro. Lloyd wrote about this problem in 1961:
Waiting for the Lord
The 1960s was a turbulent time in America and The Tidings included articles on subjects like race relations, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. While events in the 60’s were unsettling, they would also raise feelings of excitement for many Christadelphians as they seemed to point strongly to Christ’s imminent return.
These feelings increased when in late 1963, Lyndon Johnson became President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The fact that Johnson’s grandparents, Sam, Sr. and Eliza Johnson, had been Christadelphians created quite a stir among the brotherhood at the time. An article by Bro. Joe Banta entitled “President Johnson and the Truth’s Heritage” was included in the January-February 1964 issue of The Tidings.
At the end of 1963, Bro. Lloyd, as editor, had sent a letter to President Johnson as well as an offer to send him a copy of Elpis Israel.3Tidings Magazine, January, 1964 President Johnson responded with a letter that was published in the January-February 1964 issue:
It was also in 1964, that a photo was added to the cover of the magazine for the first time. While the look of The Tidings continued to change, the desire for the Kingdom to be quickly established did not.
While Bob always looked forward longingly to the Kingdom, he understood that it is destined to be set up at God’s discretion. Two major wars around this time, involving Israel, amplified the feeling that Christ was at the door. The Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973 seemed to bring the world to the brink of “Armageddon”. It would have been very difficult to believe at the time that 50 years later we would still be looking forward to that day.
While Bob always looked forward longingly to the Kingdom, he understood that it is destined to be set up at God’s discretion. The first Tidings issue of 1967 began with an article that reflected the belief the brotherhood had in Christ’s imminent return but was tempered with a disclaimer at the beginning of the article:
It was shortly after this, in the early 1970s, that Bro. Bob Lloyd expanded the work he was doing for his master by teaching at a Bible school, something he would do many times over the next 40 years. His initial endeavor was at the Silver Star Bible School in Canada in 1971. In 1974, Bro. Bob was asked to teach at a Bible school in New Zealand, his first of many Bible schools outside the U.S. Over the years Bob also taught at schools in England, South Africa, Russia, India, Australia, South Korea, Guyana and Jamaica as well as the U.S. I personally had the privilege of hearing him speak at several schools in America. Like many other brothers and sisters I will never forget the spiritual lessons that Bob reinforced with apropos stories and props. Anyone who attended a Bible School where Bob taught will also remember his “Unbaptized” classes, and many will know that it was those classes that brought them to the point of baptism into Christ.
If you were fortunate enough to have heard Bob speak, you may have assumed that he was a natural at it. He seemed to have such a wonderful rapport with the audience and appeared so at ease as he shared with other Christadelphians the book that he loved. The truth of the matter though, according to his daughter Linda, is this:
The interpersonal connection that Bob displayed from the platform was evident on a more personal level as well. As might be expected, many people asked him to conduct pre-baptismal classes with them over the years, but few may be aware of the amount of work that Bob did to bring “lost sheep” back into the fold. Bob’s daughter Linda remembers that after he had died many people spoke or wrote to the family
Besides his care for individual brothers and sisters and heavy workload as a popular Bible school teacher, Bob was the Recording Brother of the Glendale, CA Ecclesia and a member of the Radio and TV Committee for many years.
He also took great interest in the reunion effort which was evident in The Tidings magazine. News of progress towards reunion between the Amended and Unamended ecclesias was carried in the magazine as early as 1964. A section entitled “Reunion News” became a regular feature beginning in 1966, and it included details of the possibility of reunion in California in 1967. The reunion news section would continue through Bro. Bob’s editorship, but reunion would not be reached in North America or in California by the time he retired from being editor.
The reunion progress seemed to stall early on and Bro. Lloyd directed an editorial on the subject to younger brothers and sisters in the May-June, 1968 issue of The Tidings:
Bro. Bob excelled in influencing the young people. His object lessons were a wonderful way for them to learn the truths of God’s word. Who could forget the silver dollars that Bob would throw on the floor to illustrate the love of money or his unwinding a roll of adding machine tape as a metaphor for eternal life? One of his more memorable object lessons was his challenge to the teens to provide their best opponent to outrun him in a footrace. Bob, not particularly athletic, was in his late forties when he began to incorporate this demonstration in his repertoire. It sounded like an easy win for the young man who accepted the challenge, but there was a catch: the teenager had to compete while carrying a stack of chairs while Bob ran unencumbered and naturally won the race. Bob’s point was etched in the observers’ minds: In running our race to the Kingdom, we must set aside every weight and sin that does so easily beset us!
Bro. Bob excelled in influencing the young people.While his race to the Kingdom would continue for many years, his role as editor of The Tidings ended when Bob was 62 years old. Bro. Don Styles took over as editor in 1988, 30 years after Bob had accepted the role from Bro. Carl Wolfe. In the January 1988 issue, Bro. Styles wrote about the great amount of work that Bob had carried out for the brotherhood during those three decades:
Despite the many encouraging signs in the world, our Lord would not return before Bob fell asleep. Bob, however, would continue to “invigorate us” for another 27 years before passing off the scene. Bro. Lloyd fell asleep in Christ on December 14, 2015, at 89 years old.
Bob Lloyd’s legacy
Bob wanted to be working for God until his last breath.6Email from Linda Wilson, May 27, 2017 God seemed to grant him his wish. Though for the last few years of his life he had to give up teaching at Bible schools, he was able to teach the Verdugo Hills ecclesial CYC class for several weeks just prior to his death.
Bro. Bob had ably taught many Bible schools and study days over a forty-year span. His final one was a study weekend in September 2011 in Rogue Valley, Oregon. On the flight home from the weekend, Bob lost consciousness due to a heart issue, resulting in an emergency landing. Bob was scheduled to lead another study day two weeks later in Vancouver, Canada. Never wanting to miss the opportunity to help his brothers and sisters, Bob was determined to have surgery to implant a pacemaker and then fly up to Vancouver to lead the study day. For Bob to fly so soon after surgery didn’t seem like a good idea to my son Jason, who had grown close to Bob over the previous few years. Jason offered to take his mentor’s place in Vancouver, and the ecclesia accepted his offer. Bob was not able to fulfill his appointment, but only because, as the quote from his daughter Linda at the beginning of this article stated, “he wouldn’t turn down any requests unless he physically couldn’t do them.”
The point of these articles on Bob’s life and leadership is not to glorify Bob Lloyd. He would have been very uncomfortable with that. Just like all of us, Bob was human and had his faults. The point is to show what can be accomplished if we truly dedicate ourselves to loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Two verses come to my mind when I think of Bob, because they seem to embody what he was all about:
Bob Lloyd was a very loving brother who was also exceptionally talented and at the same time extraordinarily humble. While I knew Bro. Bob personally for many years, there were others who knew him much more closely than I. Two of them, Bob’s work associate and his grandson, had words to say about him that give real insight into the life of an exemplary brother in Christ.
Bro. Ken Sommerville, who worked for many with Bob, wrote the following about him in the January, 2016 issue of The Tidings magazine:
It was Bob’s love of service that his grandson, Bro. James Robinson, wrote about in the February 2016 issue of the Tidings:
In his final Minute Meditation, in the December, 2015 issue, Bro. Bob wrote words that he lived by:
There can be no doubt that this is exactly what Bob did in his life. Bob unknowingly summed up his own life when he quoted Rom 14:8 in his first article in The Tidings, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord’s.” Bro. Bob Lloyd always knew who he belonged to and he dedicated his life to serving his master and his brothers and sisters. His work on The Christadelphian Tidings magazine was only one part of a multi-faceted life of service but it was a very important one to him. It’s not surprising, then, that this article on his life ends with four quotes (spanning an amazing 73 years) from the magazine that meant so much to a young Texas teenager who grew up to be its editor and touched so many lives in the process. Including mine.
The Greek philosopher Epictetus said many years ago that “any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.” We can read in the book of James how to control our emotions by listening more and slowing down our reactions: “My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry.” Let us keep in mind this good advice, and remember the words of Paul who tells us, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath”.