The Broad and Narrow Way - Personal Recollections, Research and News.
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My first encounter with the Broad and Narrow Way picture, was way back growing up in the 60s. My family would sometimes visit the home of my Great Auntie, Florence E Swindells.....it was always a special occasion! And sometimes Auntie would come and stay with us too. Auntie Florence, was a very gracious and godly lady who loved the Bible and would often quote scripture. She had a strong belief in God and had a wonderful testimony how she came to Christ. Auntie was also very well traveled and would often hold slide shows of various places she had visited around the world. Hanging on the wall of, Aunties home was also the Broad and Narrow Picture - As a young boy I found the picture both fascinating and mysterious and if I remember correctly, auntie said it was like a silent witness which the Holy Spirit spoke through....which deepened the mystery even more. From time to time she fondly recounted stories of children who came to visit her home for music lessons, and would look at this curious picture. One little girl, she recalled would go home afterwards to look up scripture verses in the picture.
Auntie Florence at Jerusalem, sometime during the 50s or 60s Photo taken in front of the Arches on the Temple Mt looking towards the Mt of Olives. Rubble below arches? I am not sure - If anyone has information please contact me.
Some years later in the 1980s - Auntie Florence was planning to move to a small apartment, and gave the Broad and Narrow Way picture with "History and Explanation as a gift to me - (It is the same picture as in the photo above.) I was of course very thrilled and honoured to have this......I was very intrigued by this picture, and now I was able to study it even closer. The "History and Explanation" of the picture was very well written and conveyed so much in just 32 pages. It was printed sometime after 1892.... but what has happened since those days? Who actually was the designer, Charlotte Reihlen? where is her 1st edition of the picture? and who was Gawin Kirkham the open-air preacher? These were questions I had back then. Back in pre-internet days these questions were not easy to research.....but the internet has made a big difference and searching information much easier - So now after all these years there is a great deal more information and I am grateful to all who helped along the way to reach a better understanding.
As I read about this wonderful picture and its story - I cannot help feel sadness - if one could ask in churches today who were those esteemed people mentioned above.....sadly many would be hard pressed to find an answer. If we are going to remember and learn about church history and missions we do need to know the ways God has blessed and those through whom the blessing came.
For further information about the picture please visit the link below...the page is in German language
As an Artist - The Broad and Narrow Way picture has been a huge inspiration and influence to my own Artwork. During my Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission in 1991...I made my own updated version of the Broad and Narrow Way to take on outreach - Testimony, Evangelism and Missions Its actually quite different - but sticks with the original concept of the Two Spiritual Paths - Since 1991 I did a couple of other versions too - also quite different, but still depicting two spiritual paths in life based on Matthew 7:13-14, The parable of the Broad and the Narrow Way.
While staying in London December 2018 - I decided to visit the grave of the esteemed Open-Air Evangelist - Gawin Kirkham. I had a to do list before I arrived - and this was on the list! Before I arrived in the UK I had asked the cemetery staff if they could help and they kindly located his grave and took a couple of photos. They had to remove a lot of ivy which had overgrown over the years and it was located in one of the oldest parts of the cemetery that didn't have many visitors. When I finally visited the cemetery on a rather chilly December day....I didn't know what I would find or what I needed to do, but I managed to find the grave and decided to clean it up the best I could. If one reads the book "Gawin Kirkham Open-Air Evangelist," by Frank Cockrem. It is interesting to note included in the last Chapter are the very last words Gawin Kirkham spoke before going to his heavenly reward and are also written on his headstone : "THERE IS ONE OFFERING FOR SIN - JESUS" It was such a blessing to know! - Right to the very end Gawin Kirkham was proclaiming the Everlasting Gospel...even his headstone is proclaiming the good news, how sinners can find salvation in Jesus Christ!
Text on Headstone reads:
O Man Greatly Beloved. Daniel X. 19"
IN EVER LOVING MEMORY OF
FOR 28 YEARS THE HONOURED AND
FAITHFUL SECRETARY OF THE
BORN AUGUST 9th 1832.
RESTED FROM HIS LABOURS
SUNDAY MAY 8th 1892
TENDERLY MOURNED BY HIS BELOVED
WIDOW AND SURVIVING RELATIVES AND
LAMENTED BY THOSE WHO SHARED HIS
LABOURS. AND WERE DEBTORS TO HIS
LOVING COUNSEL, SYMPATHY
AND EVER-READY HELP. HIS LAST WORDS WERE...
"THERE IS ONE OFFERING FOR SIN - JESUS"
ALSO HIS BELOVED WIFE FRANCES ELIZABETH
ENTERED INTO REST DEC 21st 1937
AGED 91 YEARS
The photo above gives some idea how overgrown the area is around the grave....there really are grave stones in there....but buried under ivy and overgrown........time passes and also it would seem the families and loved ones connected with them. But it is a shame many in Church today don't know someone so esteemed.....someone who in his lifetime did so much to raise up an army of street preachers, and under whose leadership the Open-Air Mission reached a membership of over a thousand. In those days throughout Britain - it was very common to see regular street preaching - bringing the message of the Gospel.
Sadly - it may not be quite like this in Britain today.....But in a quiet corner of cemetery in North London - Gawin Kirkham is still preaching....
Thora on the Straight and Narrow 1993
February 2019 - At last transferred to digital format and complete series posted on Youtube
Thora Hird with the Broad and Narrow Way Picture on BBC TV!
Click below to read more
A kind friend gave me the complete series which had been recorded in 1993. Recently was able to digitize and put it on Youtube.
New page for Alexander Gysin's Der Breite und der Schmale Weg Litho 30/09/2009
In researching it appears to have some connection to Charlotte Reihlen's later more famous version. In the Explanation for the Broad and Narrow Way picture, Mrs Reihlen writes about an earlier representation and quotes some texts from it, which correspond to text in Alexander Gysin's picture shown here.
English Version of this Litho can be found at the link - Here
If anyone has similar pictures they wish to sell please contact me - I am researching the history of these type of pictures and need to gather as much information as possible.
A new video telling the story of the History of the picture can be seen here