The Gate Seldom Found, by Raymond Reid
I first met Raymond many years ago when the desire to forsake all to know Christ was first planted in my heart. Raymond took me into his home when I had nowhere to go. In those early days when I first began to struggle through what it would mean to suffer the loss of all things to know Christ, Raymond was there for me when no one else was.
Close to 2 years later, after clearly considering the call of Christ to forsake all, and having left family, friends, country, wealth and possessions behind, Raymond was the first friend I called.
Years later back in Canada, Raymond presented me with one of the original manuscripts of The Gate Seldom Found. I had not read many novels, but this one mesmerized me. I remember thinking that this was the best book I had ever read.
My hope is that others will be as enthralled as I was, and that perhaps the story of its pages, might not seem as fiction, but be relived again and again as a present day reality.
URfriend, Dean Johnson
(Posted with permission)
It’s been a long time since I communicated with most of you. In fact some of you may find it hard to remember who I am. Just to refresh your memory, I’m that guy from Guelph, Ontario who wrote a novel called The Gate Seldom Found. In 2001, I self-published it and thought the work was completed. But surprise, surprise. The senior editor of a major American publishing firm read it and found it intriguing. But there was a catch. They wanted additional character detailing, more complexity in the storyline, the addition of subplots and a myriad of other enhancements to bring the writing up to their standards – an endeavour that took me another two years along with my regular work ( I work like a snail at the best of times :-) The final transformed version, however, is a good 50% more robust than the self-published book and has another 200 pages or so in the historical part of the book. I’m excited about its prospects.
Harvest House Publishers released the final version a couple of months ago and now the novel can be found almost anywhere in the English-speaking world where books are sold. Christian booksellers and general bookstores alike carry or can order the book. And large online booksellers like Christianbook.com, Walmart.com and Amazon.com are beginning to ship it out. For those of you in Australia, it can be found at Koorong.com.
Anyway, this email is a shameless attempt at bringing the novel to the attention of some who may like to read it in its final form or mention it to their friends. For those of you who are not interested, please just delete now if you haven’t already. But before you do, please note my email address has changed to I’d love to hear from you and will finally have time for my correspondence once again.
For those of you who are ardent supporters of the novel may I offer three suggestions.
First, approach your local Christian and/or general bookstores and ask if they would be willing to stock a handful of copies for friends to whom you may wish to recommend the book. This also gives shoppers who are browsing a chance to consider a novel they might not otherwise stumble across. Secondly, libraries are often eager to hear from local residents about books they might add to their collections. And finally, feel free to post this message on any relevant list or forward it to anyone on your own email list who might have an interest. Unfortunately, a number of folks on my list have changed their e-mail address in the last two or three years and I can no longer contact them directly.
If anyone wishes a copy of the new book and has any trouble locating it, please advise me and I will sort out the glitch or mail a copy directly. The current ISBN is: 0-7369-1369-6 published by Harvest House Publishers.
As I mentioned previously when I self-published the book myself, all the royalties from the sales of this new version will be used to assist those who eke out their existence in desperate need and poverty.
In the meantime, I know that God is working in your life in His own unique way and I’d be pleased if you cared to take a few minutes and share that with me.
P.S. I have included an article written by Edith Smith which has been forwarded to a number of newspapers.
Paints 19th Century
by Edith K. Smith Ph. D.
Harvest House Publishers, a major U.S. player, has just released The Gate Seldom Found by local builder and author, Raymond Reid. This thought-provoking novel can now be found in bookstores and online throughout the English-speaking world. Reid’s historical narrative dramatizes the true story of a little-known fellowship that flowered in the late 1800s. Set in southern Ontario, the novel opens in the midst of a blizzard, reflecting the hidden anguish of its central character, Alistair Stanhope. Shaken by the untimely death of a friend, the Puslinch Township farmer confronts the age-old question of his own mortality. Disenchanted by the stock answers of his church, yet driven by an urgency for understanding, Alistair turns to a circle of close friends for reassurance. As they grapple with his distress, their love and awareness of God intensifies, becoming almost palpable.
This gripping saga portrays individuals in transformation as Alistair’s spiritual dilemma radiates outward to a cast of rural characters who, by following inner light, abandon the traditional edifice of faith and find God in their own hearts and homes. Engaging and colourful scenes of village and farm life are interwoven with illustrations of human faith and foibles as a simple fellowship of love is given birth in the teeth of persecution and misunderstanding. Drawing from eyewitness accounts, the novel recalls ridicule and even violence as these gentle Christians begin to worship without ritual, hierarchy or church budgets. We sense their fervent compassion as they reclaim a gentler way of life in which tramps are invited to the table and the hired man takes his place among family festivities.
Embarking upon a homeless and itinerant ministry, two of the men sell their possessions, give the money to the poor and set out in faith on a 'pilgrim's progress' through the farm settlements of a bucolic Ontario. Readers will take delight in following the story past notable landmarks as resolute men and strong articulate women play out controversial roles in a world of candlelight and kerosene lamps, of weather prediction by signs in the heavens, of cures by poultices and plasters.
The characters leap off the page, their lives calling out for honest consideration as the reader enters the poignant drama and intensity of their choices. But even as they challenge, chasten and inspire, they also beckon the reader into their warm circle of friendship.
The author, Raymond Reid, has lived his entire 56 years in the area of Guelph, Ontario, the setting of the novel. After graduation, he designed and built hundreds of homes until the late eighties when he semi-retired, giving him time to write of the itinerant preachers who had found their way to his grandmother’s farm in 1906.
During the first three years of working on the novel, he invited input from the public, taking the innovative approach of advertising in newspapers and delivering flyers door to door to find readers with whom to share the manuscript. Hundreds of people aged 16 to 86 and from all walks of life read the work-in-progress and offered their reactions. The result is a book that truly reflects the yearnings in the hearts of many ordinary men and women. The author intends to distribute any income derived from his writing to people living in poverty in the Third World.
This inspirational novel resonates with Christians who practise their beliefs outside the traditional church and addresses the burgeoning undercurrent of folks disillusioned with institutional worship. Second, the book challenges thoughtful churchgoers who find themselves yearning to express their faith in a deep yet simpler manner. Finally, the compelling story and rich portraits of a historic era captivate readers, ushering them into the nostalgic world of their grandparents.
People of strong conviction have historically resisted the dominant culture when it challenged family values or personal ethics. In an era of big box churches where some feel insignificant as part of a mass membership, this historical novel appeals to the contemporary reader who seeks God in a less complicated way. Indisputably, The Gate Seldom Found is the only novel inspired by a unique fellowship active at a time of spiritual awakening across the western world. A ‘Glossary of Historical Terms’ and a map of the townships, circa 1898, complete an account that will fascinate many.
The Gate Seldom Found
by Raymond Reid
What Readers Are Saying About It!
"What a wonderful story! I felt teary eyed at the finish . . . reflecting on what I had read, wishing for more. The call, the need these people felt was so real and so spiritual. My father felt that call while ploughing a field. He left all behind; his mother and father, his occupation, his entire life. He went where God directed, setting aside his own plans." Guelph, Ontario
"My mom has read your book about ten times…….It is her favourite book of all time!" Kelowna, British Columbia
"I read with great pleasure at 33,000 feet on a recent business trip. As if I weren't already at a sufficiently high altitude, I must tell you that your writing lifted me higher still. . . Not only did you describe an era which seemed idyllic and now sadly lost, but you moved beyond that to describe a people struggling for spiritual purity and dedication. I was informed, moved, challenged, shamed, and inspired. As a fellow author, I greatly admire your gift of writing." Nashville, Tennessee
"I enjoyed your book immensely! It was very imaginatively done, with an ending that was unexpected and surprising." Greenville, South Carolina
"As President of The Seacoast Missionary Society, it is my intention to purchase more copies and distribute them, as opportunity lends, to the commercial fishermen, military and merchant seamen and others along the seacoasts of America . . . Thank you for opening this window to gaze back to the simple ways, to a more pure, humble and biblical Christianity." Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
"[The] characters find a living faith through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and exemplify the simple, joyful life that His indwelling presence produces. In a short time, this book has impacted so many people for good, creating a burning desire to reach out and share our faith with others as effectively as the believers in the book do. The focus is on Christ to the degree that it makes us want to experience Him in a deeper way than ever before……I think all the believers who have read the book find themselves inspired to lay aside human thinking in its many forms and get closer to the living Christ than ever before. Thank God for that!" Santa Fe, New Mexico
"Thank you for giving me hope that true Christians really do exist." Guelph, Ontario
"I got so engrossed in the book that when I awoke at 3:00 A.M. I stayed up reading it. I am now reading it for the second time." Casino, New South Wales, Australia
"Few books capture my heart, but I soon realized that this book addresses an issue which we have wrestled with for a long time. Ten years ago my husband and I and four of our five children left the ‘church of our fathers’ – the church where we had been baptized, grown up in and had been active in. In many ways the last ten years has been an exhilarating time, but it has also been challenging as we left behind a community, where culturally we fit in, but spiritually felt more and more alienated. As you can imagine, this story of a group of spiritually hungry and searching individuals parallels our own . . ." Burlington, Ontario
"I don’t know how many times I had to stop reading, blow my nose and dry my eyes. I so identified with your writing, I realized today, when I finished my second reading, I had to let you know how much the book has meant to me. I wish I’d had it to read twenty years ago. I’’m sure it would have given fresh direction to my ministry." Wiarton, Ontario
"One of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time." Eureka, California
"Once I got started, I had a very difficult time putting it away. I think it’s absolutely fantastic and has been one of the most meaningful books I have ever read. I feel as if I know the characters on a personal basis. The storyline is extremely interesting and thought-provoking, and the spiritual values are true to the word of God in every respect." Elliot Lake, Ontario
"I laughed, cried, and thanked God for the biblical insights woven through the text and the experiences of the characters. Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit has authored the book through the fingers of the writer, and its timing couldn’t be more perfect in terms of our need to get an experiential insight into the principles, worked out in real time, of groups of God’s people discovering how He intended ‘church’ to function . . . May God bless you richly for providing me with a most inspiring weekend of reading." Newmarket, Ontario
"The hand of God works in wondrous ways. This novel has come to me at a time when I needed reawakening and reassurance that God walks with me. . . I found the spiritual message most honest and forthright." Guelph, Ontario
"A great untold story of our history. It was a journey of faith which brought relevance to everyday life experiences. More people than we know sit in church as ‘detached spectators’ just as Alistair did. Congratulations on a great book." Hamilton, Ontario
"I’ve been on a journey – and what a journey it has been!!! Thank you for sending the book and sharing such a soul-searching experience with us. I am thankful for the new awakening in my heart and feel like it came at the right time." Ogallala, Nebraska
"I LOVED the book. Your writing skill is superb, far surpassing the writing skill of many modern book writers that I have read, to say nothing of the content!" Kearney, Nebraska
"The farther I read, the more amazed I became at the depth and scope of the book! I read only a small portion at a time so that I would not read it superficially. It deserves far better than that. It often brought tears to my eyes!" Poulsbo, Washington
"I was saddened to have the book end and will always remember the people and their joys and struggles. . ." Guelph, Ontario
"The only other novel I have read with captive interest in recent years is In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon. I highly recommend your book – as well as Sheldon’s. They are both books that move the Spirit to touch the soul. At least they did for me." Edgar, Wisconsin
"My husband and I, like many others, have been dissatisfied with the organized church for a long time. We gather with some friends for fellowship in our homes. There was a time in the past when I read a great deal, but I have not been able to pick up a book and enjoy it for a while now. Someone gave your manuscript to my husband recently and I just got done reading it. A LOVELY piece of work . . . You have a way of writing that people can relate to. I feel this book would appeal to many who are going through similar thoughts and feelings." Sonora, California
"Reading the book has, I think, been one way among others that the Holy Spirit has striven to open my eyes and make me more aware of what God would like in my relationship with Him. I was amazed at the things which I had never completely grasped before and so thankful for the truth and clarity of them in the book." Friona, Texas
"The story is ‘atmospheric’ and sets the scene well. It’s not hard to imagine the characters." South Glamorgan, Wales, Great Britain
"Another thing I personally enjoyed was your use of ‘dated’ words, phrases and descriptions of various events. In many cases they brought back memories of events long past. Thank you!" Victoria, British Columbia
"I want to congratulate you on your thought-provoking work! Within a few short pages, I was carried into a world whose characters invite the reader to personal self-examination and an honest search for what the New Testament teaches about being a disciple of Jesus. It has reawakened a yearning for the type of fellowship described in its pages . . . I could also appreciate the sights and smells of rural life at the turn of the century – a love for the incredible beauty of creation is evident. You do a good job of balancing the spiritual intensity of your theme with delightful descriptions of the settings! Your characters are meaningful and each add to either moving the storyline forward or answering questions that you anticipate your readers to raise. . . It was a joy to read such a clear picture of salvation by grace alone while still acknowledging that faith without works is dead." Lancaster, Ontario
"I soon found myself engrossed in my reading. Quite frankly, I found it hard to put the book down. I am amazed at the way in which you have incorporated so many biblical dimensions of radical faith: the fundamentally spiritual nature of the church, images depicting the identity and mission of the church, practical applications of discipleship, a deep understanding of grace, the essentially relational character of salvation, the social and economic dimensions of a common life in Christ with corresponding critiques of materialism, social violence, and discrimination on the basis of sex or education. . . As I read your novel, I realized more than once that this was a story illustrating the vision that I had intended to spell out in biblical and theological terms in my recent book on radical ecclesiology. Goshen, Indiana. John Driver, missionary, teacher, and author of Radical Faith and Images of the Church in Mission.
The Gate Seldom Found ISBN: 0-7369-1369-6
Publisher: Harvest House Publishing, Eugene, Oregon 97402
Author: Raymond Reid, R.R. #6 Guelph, Ontario N1H 6J3
Phone: (519) 766-0498 Fax: (519) 767-1400
Church : People meeting in homes, keeping it simple.
No name, no titles, no property, no corporation, no salaries etc.
Just believers gathering simply, in His Name
doesn't have to be Historical Fiction. It can be a Present day Reality.
For a step in this direction. You can start a meeting.