A Pioneer Dies

A Pioneer Dies ASSISTNews-owner@thomas.sheperd.com [ASSISTNews-owner@thomas.sheperd.com] on behalf of ANS@Assist-Ministries.com [ANS@Assist-Ministries.com]

Sent: 04 January 2011 03:48
ASSIST News Service (ANS) – PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA 
Visit our web site at:
 www.assistnews.net — E-mail: assistnews@aol.com
Monday, January 3, 2011 
A Pioneer Dies
George Canty: 1911 to 2010
By Adrian Hawkes
Special to ASSIST News Service

 (ANS)  I was sitting in London with a friend on New Year’s Eve celebrating the end of 2010 when my mobile phone rang. It was around 9.30 By Adrian Hawkes
Special to ASSIST News Service p.m. On that last day of the year, the voice at the other end said “sorry to tell you but George Canty ‘went home’ at 9.00 p.m.”

I was upset, I know he was 99, but I wanted him to make the 100, and I also wanted him to finish the autobiography that I knew he was half way through. I also knew he was ghost writing another important book for Christ for All Nations (CFAN) — www.cfan.org — and wondered if that had been finished.

I phoned a relative of his the next morning to get the details of his passing in a Solihull, Warwickshire, hospital, and also asked what had happened to his CFAN book.

“I took in the finished script early in the week,” that person replied.

 “Why didn’t he stay until 2011?” I asked.

“I went to see him,” the relative went on, “and he told me off for walking around, and said “for goodness sake rest, sit down, and relax,” then at 9:00 p.m. he went!”

What and who was George Canty? Well like most people, he was different things to different people. He was a father to some, pastor to others, and for me he was personally a friend, who although I did not see him often — actually it was over a year ago when I saw him last.

On that occasion I asked how he was doing, and his reply was typical. “I am working full time still, so I am a little tired. But I am still praying for you every day,” he told me and I believed him.

He also told me that he had taught himself to use a computer, set up a web site and now I could email him. He told me that the website was www.canty.org.uk Not bad for a 98-year-old.

George Canty was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, and he used to say to me, “I can say this because I am a Yorkshire man.” Then he smiled and added, “but you cannot say, that he is from Hull — strong in the arm, thick in the head.”

Well, he wasn’t that strong, being small in stature, and he certainly was not thick in the head. What was he really like? Well he will be missed, but from my perspective again, he was awkward, sometimes difficult to work with, highly intelligent, a man who when I first met him as a youngster, was already ahead of his time, thinking in new ways, understanding where others did not, not willing to be boxed by the past or the establishment and therefore not often fitting in to the establishment expectations.

As usual people like George fall foul of the establishment who of course want them to conform and be a company man. He did become president for a while of the Elim Churches in the UK, probably because he connected as he would have said “with the ordinary folk”.

As a young man, myself and my friend Mark Drew worked with George on meetings in Port Talbot where Mark and I spent many weeks living in a marquee, underneath a motorway slip road. It had a big impact on us and Mark is now a pastor.

George Canty’s approach was different to say the least. We would sit and go through the advertising for the meetings and he would ask, “Are there any religious or spiritual words in this advertising?” If we came up with any then they came out of the script. People who were absolutely non-religious, not church goers, often not interested in God, would flock to the meetings; they came because he said he could heal the sick. 

That caused problems amongst the establishment, who would say that “only God can do that!” I said to him on one occasion, “Why don’t you change your language? You are upsetting the establishment figures.”

His answer was interesting. “For years, I could give you a thousand theological reasons why the sick would not be healed by praying for them,” he said. “I never prayed for anyone to be healed and no one ever was, then God did something in my life and I changed. I started to pray for people, and guess what, some of them were healed. Sure it was God’s power, but I needed to do it and act on it, so I heal the sick and that’s what Jesus told us to go and do!”

As I worked with George, who for a time was my pastor at the Sparkbrook Elim Church, Birmingham, I saw amazing things in those meetings, and many other meetings like them. The deaf did hear and the lame did walk. Was everyone healed? No!

I asked him about that too, saying, “Why are some healed and others not? He responded in his usual nonchalant way. “Some are,” he said, “and guess what? I don’t know why they are.” When those who were not healed asked him the same question in a more personal way, he would always respond in the same way, by saying, “Have faith in God.”When they would press him and ask for how long, “Until the end,” he would respond.

 Another reason people came to the meetings was because he would paint in oils, scenic views of the Lake District and other photogenic places, while he was talking to the audience, and give them away to the person who brought the most people to the meetings at that time. What a nightmare that was for Mark and I as sometimes the people would want to fight over them and argue as to who really had brought the most friends.  

Later in life, I bumped into that nonchalant approach when I was in college. George turned up as one of the lecturers, and his subject was “Church History,” and, as usual, he made those who wanted things “normal” quite angry. There were hardly any dates in his lectures as to which pope was when in charge of the Catholic Church and who killed who, and when Luther or Calvin was born. That was what people expected from this topic. Instead, what you got was,

 “This is the history of the church and this is how it has molded us and this is where we went wrong and this is what you should now do to change things, and to move on.”

And, as always, his passion to introduce a hurting world to Jesus, to the “God who really does care and love ordinary people, the good news is the word has become flesh, now go and let people know.” It was inspiring stuff, rather than dead dates, but there are always those who don’t want to rock the boat.

I remember one student confronting him angrily over a practical issue, saying to him, “But if you take that to its logical conclusion then….” I went away to laugh as I heard him say, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that!” “Do what?” the angry student responded. “Take it to its logical conclusion,” George replied as he walked away.

I also heard him in discussion with a theologian on the subject of Pentecostals and Charismatic’s, and again his answer to the critic made me laugh. He said “I am trying to work out some theology for us all on this subject. Don’t blame me if the church hasn’t had a good one for centuries on how the Holy Spirit works.”

George Canty did not fit into the box for a Christian leader, and I love people who don’t. I hate the boxes that people want to put us into, church boxes, Christian boxes, they even want to put God in a box too, and I love it that He never lets us; God that is.

George was the author of many books, my favourite being “In My Father’s House.” Unbeknown to many, he wrote a weekly column for a Yorkshire newspaper under the pseudonym of Jack Yorkshire. Again, under a pseudonym, a joke book that was sold at railway station bookshops under the heading of “Jack Yorkshire’s Weekend Book” It was full of cartoons, political comments, and just plain commonsense fun.

On a couple of occasions, I came across articles in magazines, often the denominational one of which he was a part, under pseudonyms, and I thought, knowing George, “this is Mr. Canty’s work.” One I remember was under the pseudonym of Jack Pullford. I asked him, “Did you write this?” I didn’t get a straight answer, rather he said to me, “The thing is, as you get older, people put you in a box and they say “Oh, that’s the sort of thing George Canty would say isn’t it? So some magazines I sometimes write for won’t take articles that have my name on.” So I said, “Did you write this one?” No answer!

I know that in recent years George had been doing a huge amount of work for the German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke and that was the book I was referring to at the beginning of this tribute to him. I am sure he was working full time right to the last.
To quote what I think really sums up his approach, I have lifted some words from his own web site which is still out there. Here they are:

“Standards are written across the pages of Scripture, but not in express commands. Issues of music, dress, hair, jewellery, entertainment are peripheral matters decided by the major principles of wisdom and love. Our rule book is love. The New Testament is not a law book like the Koran, nor does it give us the right to legislate. Christianity is not routine religious performances but action and love to please God that is the God who sets us free.

“God planted a garden, and the devil led Adam out of it. A young Scottish minister one morning found the roads too frozen so he skated to church. Afterward, called by the kirk elders to give account of his Sabbath sin, they were in a dilemma. If he skated he broke the Sabbath and if he did not turn up at church it was worse. Then clarity inspired one leader. He demanded of the young man “It amounts to this – did you enjoy it or not? ‘Well, I’ve known people refuse ice-cream because they might ‘enjoy it’.. I have no such conscience. I hope there is ice-cream in heaven!”

Well, by now George will know the answer to that question.

I know he was 99, and some will say he has had a good innings. Personally, I would have liked him to stay a little longer, and have made the Big 100. But still, I will miss a radical friend. I had only just opened his Christmas card on which he had both painted the front picture and wrote the verse and had it printed up. I will miss him, even though I know I will see him again.

Some of the Books by George Canty:
1) Practice of the Pentecost by George Canty (Paperback – Apr 1987)
2) Evangelism by Fire: An Initiative for Revival by Reinhard Bonnke and George Canty (Paperback – 3 Nov 1989)
3. What’s Going on?: The George Canty Viewpoint by George Canty (Paperback – Apr 1977)
4. The Practice of Pentecost by George Canty (Paperback – Jul 1987)
5. In My Father’s House: Pentecostal Exposition of the Major Christian Truths by George Canty (Paperback – Dec 1972)
6. The Hallmarks of Pentecost by George Canty (Paperback – 18 May 1989)

Adrian Hawkes lives in London, England, and was once the leader 
 of the Rainbow churches, and is still very involved internationally with
 them in Kenya, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, France, Norway, the USA and
 Canada, usually with church leadership teams overseas and also in
 the UK. He has been married for 40 years to Pauline, and they have
 three children and ten grandchildren. Adrian is the author of five
 published books, and he spends much of his time now lecturing to
 students at various UK colleges and venues on “Culture,” which
 is a 30-hour course. He can be contacted by e-mail 

at:adrianhawkes@phoenixcommunity.co.uk You can read more of Adrian’s material at:http://www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.   Share
ASSIST News Service 

You may also like...

20 Responses

  1. adrian2526 says:

    Terry Threadwell
    It was the first Pentecostal service I attended at Ilford Elim in 1976. Mike Sherwood was pastor. George was a great man of God.
    A few seconds ago · Like · Comment · See friendship

  2. adrian2526 says:

    Richard T. Sandbach The loss of a FRIEND and Scholar! Thanks for the introduction so many years ago.

  3. adrian2526 says:

    Peter Bayliss But may not know what you said about George Canty but indeed he was a lovely chap. He did so much for the Church and Christianity in general, as i have said before he was wonderful with Pat in those days of my accident. Must admit i wondered how he could manage after his wife dying but he did seem to cope and never stopped from his calling even when officially retired !

  4. adrian2526 says:

    Brilliant – x

  5. adrian2526 says:

    Thanks for this, Adrian you have done a fantastic review of Gorge's life. He had a great impact on my life, still does as I think about the answers to my many questions, "why do people get sick ?, " answer " ask the transport minister, why are there road accidents !"…..He will be greatly missed by so many. Thanks again, in a hurry so must go.


  6. adrian2526 says:

    A lovely tribute from you Adrian to the life of George Canty.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  7. adrian2526 says:

    Paul Sinclair
    Good feature on George Canty for those who knew him.

  8. adrian2526 says:

    Robert Chorley Yes he was a grand guy, I only heard him a few times but they were good times.

  9. adrian2526 says:

    05 January 2011 17:51
    Adrian Hawkes
    Hi Adrian Just read your tribute to my father in law and enjoyed every word. I know you could fill a book with his achivements but he would not want that.But to outline some of the things he did and how he delt with situations which would have thrown most folk into a mad trantrum was indeed a lesson to all of us.in fact the way he delt with difficult questions and situations almost echoes how Jesus delt with his critics.I feel proud to have been his son in law an even lived with for some months,even though it was hard at times,like telling him his dinner was ready only having to re-heat it beacuse he was always busy on his computer writins his latest book or article.Yes we will all miss him for one reason or another but he has left behind a lasting impression all who who crosed his path either in person,through his ministery ore his writing.Thankyou on behalf of Jackie or as her dad always called her chicken,and look foward to seeing you on the 24th of Jan. at 2pm at Renewal Church Solihull God Bless Brian

  10. adrian2526 says:

    Dear Adrian

    THANK YOU for writing about Pastor Canty and sending it via Dan Wooding to the world.

    We were looking forward to the street party his muslim neighbours had planned for his 100th birthday on October 15th.

    I last spoke with Pastor Canty in September, when he declined an invitation to be brought to the UK celebration of the 50th Anniversary of my marriage to Ann. He paid a number of visits to Spain, and I first met him when I collected him from the Mislata AoG church of Pastor Peter Austin, and took him to the Muchamiel home of Gordon Burgess in Alicante. As we neared the end of the journey, he said "I got a brother who lives here, you know?" Expressing my surprise, Pastor Canty explained "Yes his name is ALI – 'Ali Canty'.

    He returned to Spain to lead the first of his campaigns in Javea, and the opening night was carried live – by satellite link (A UK registered uplink truck was in Javea that day to report on something happening at the Town Hall) – on Canal Nou the regional TV station and Pastor Canty would not pass to the 'miracles' they wanted to show, until he had explained the gospel to those in the meeting. There were 8 seconds to go before Canal Nou said they would cut to 'Plan B' when the sick were called forward. All phone lines to the Police and Civil Guard were jammed with people asking when and where the meetings were being held, and by noon the following day there were people from 150 miles away, sitting outside and waiting for the 7.30pm meeting.

    When it was possible he was accompanied by "Rieta" his wife, and when she passed into the presence of her Saviour a few years ago, Pastor Canty was torn between wanting to serve his Lord, here on earth, and be with his beloved wife in Glory. They are together now.

    I wonder what happened to Charlie the parrot, whom we met when we visited the Canty home in Moseley, Birmingham. Charlie was an incredible mimic, and must have caused many a heart-wrenching tear for George when, after Rieta died, Charlie would call up from his cage downstairs, in the unmistakable voice of his wife "Do you want a cup of tea, George?"

    We'd planned to travel back from Spain for the street party – but now await news of when his funeral Celebration will be held.

    We saw many miracles during his visits to Spain.

    Clive and Ann Read

  11. adrian2526 says:

    Elizabeth Heaven
    Adrian, do you remember the George Canty Crusades at Palmers Green Elim Church we all pulled out the stops to bring people into the meetings in order for them to be saved and know the Lord as they own personal saviour – they were fantastic days and I thoroughly enjoyed the meetings bringing my friends from school and who lived on my road in order to get a painting, I never got one as there was always someone else who brought more people than me. George Canty was a lovely preacher and had his own way of bringing the gospel across to those who did not have any religious background whatsoever. We will miss him and our love goes out to his family at this special time. Adrian keep up the good work and thank you for your tribute to George Canty.

  12. adrian2526 says:

    Simon Nicholas Now collecting his reward. An example to us all.

  13. adrian2526 says:

    Dear Adrian,
    I read your eulogy on the passing of George Canty with relish. Thank you for helping me to know him better.
    I learned of George and his work with Reinhard Bonnke as I ghost wrote Living a Life of Fire.
    Great blessings to you in Christ,
    Stephen Bransford

  14. adrian2526 says:

    Thanks Adrian,

    Really enjoyed reading that and the memories of those day in college, and later.


  15. adrian2526 says:

    Tony Stone
    Well written Adrian…..we all have personal stories about him. He was one of the greatest influences on my life when I first came into Pentecost. We shall miss him!

  16. adrian2526 says:

    Cliff Harris
    18 January at 19:08
    So sorry to hear this. What a fantastic man.

  17. adrian2526 says:

    David Kilpatrick A great soldier has entered into His rest and reward

  18. adrian2526 says:

    Paul Sanderson
    great words about a great man. Nice one Adrian

  19. adrian2526 says:

    Stuart Lindsell
    Thanks Adrian – the pioneers are always fascinating people.

  20. adrian2526 says:

    While I was sad to hear of George Canty's homecall from your ASSIST article. However, we can thank God for his long and active contribution to the Church. He should, like some others, sat on the Elim executive.
    I last saw you at the London March For Jesus in June, 1994, but I will never forget the times I spent with your family at your home while I worked on the Elim Evangel (from June 1979 to March 1982). They were such jolly occasions! Hope all is well with you and Pauline, Anna, Carla and 'Ilya.'
    Now I have retired from work I have become heavily involved with the European Coalition for Israel, Christian Friends of Israel, Christians For Zion, and Out of Zion Ministries. Next week I will lead a course countering the false teaching that the Church has replaced Israel and point out that the Holocaust would never have happened but for ant-Semitism promulgated in the historic churches. The course runs on seven consecutive Tuesdays.


    Chris Proudlove