Contributed by Frank Orr of Glasgow
Percy Ellis was born in London and was trained in the chemical business. He went to Brazil in 1907 and worked in this business in Bahia. He moved south to Rio de Janeiro about 1919 and worked closely with a small group of brethren, who were probably the first group of brethren in Rio at that time. Today there are over thirty. He was closely involved with the formation of an assembly in Rua Sao Carlos, which, from those pioneering days, is still very active today.
E.P. Ellis was a most interesting gentleman who had many and diverse interests, including entomology and painting. His collection of moths and butterflies is comprehensive and of scientific value and his paintings in water colours and oils are exhilarating, showing great gift.
His chief joy was in serving the Lord in as many ways as possible and his gift of hymn-writing has been handed down to us in hymn no. 36 "Saviour unto Thee assembling, Turn we now to praise". There are eleven of his hymns in use in assemblies in Brazil today.
Together with his father, Grimsby, Percy was directly involved in the creation of a Portuguese Concordance, although his surviving daughter, Raghild, has stated that their names do not appear in the credits. This work is the more remarkable in that Grimsby Ellis was not a Portuguese speaker. In addition, (while still living in Brazil), the family was closely involved in missionary work in Portugal.
His mother's brother was Mr. James Fegan, who started Fegan's Homes, a work with which daughter Ingeborg, her husband (the late Arthur Lewis) and latterly his grand-daughter, Helen Dobbin, have been actively engaged.
Mrs. Ellis was Norwegian, a fearless, gracious and godly woman, who was much used of the Lord in many ways and whose constant desire was to see souls won for the Saviour.
Their only son, Olaf, married Elizabeth Orr, Kilkeel, and spent the post-war years from 1954 as a 'tent-maker' in Brazil until his home-call a few years ago. He, too, had a godly zeal which was much used in Brazil, and he, like his father, was largely responsible for the building and establishment of an active assembly in another part of the vast city of Rio. How humbling and challenging it is to us in 1997 to learn of the active testimony of one family exercised in the Lord's service for over a century. (Acts 16:31).
The hymn no. 36 in 'Spiritual Songs' was and is a great favourite in the 1903 and 1978 edition of the Little Flock Hymn Book. It is often used at the beginning of the remembrance of the Lord Jesus as saints gather to His Name to break bread.