The Story of Arthur Stace: Also Known As Mr. Eternity
July 1, 2008
Arthur Stace was born and raised in Sydney Australia. His father and mother were both drunkards. Two sisters and two brothers also were drunks and they lived much of their time in jail.
Stace used to sleep on bags under the house and when his parents were drunk he had to look after himself. He used to steal milk from the doorsteps, pick scraps of food out of garbage and shoplift cakes and sweets. When he was fourteen he had his first job - in a coal mine - and his first pay check he spent in a hotel. Already he had learned to drink at home, just like the rest of the family. He went to jail for the first time when he was fifteen.
Arthur Stace converted to Christianity on the night of August 6, 1930, after hearing a powerful sermon by Rev. R.B.S. Hammond at St. Barnabas Church, Broadway. Two years later, on 14 November 1932, Arthur was further encouraged by the preaching of Evangelist John G. Ridley-
John Ridley shouted the words, "Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You've got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?"
That night, Arthur Stace left with ETERNITY ringing through his brain and suddenly he began crying and felt a powerful call from the Lord to write Eternity all over the streets of Sydney."
Several mornings a week, Arthur would leave his wife, Pearl and their home around 5am to go around the streets of Sydney and chalk the word Eternity on footpaths, train station entrances and anywhere else he could think of. As he walked, every so often he would stop, pull out a crayon, bend down and write on the pavement - E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y. He would move on a hundred yards then write it again, E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y, nothing more, just one simple word. For thirty-seven years he chalked this one-word sermon and he wrote more than half a million times.
Arthur Stace did not like publicity. He regarded his unique style of Evangelism as a serious mission, something between Arthur Stace and his Maker, so for more then 10 years, these Eternity signs puzzled the folks who lived in Sydney.
The mystery man became
known as Mr. Eternity!
All the people of Sydney wondered, who it could be that wrote E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y on the streets all over the big city. It became a mystery and everyone was talking about it. Sydney newspaper editors wrote about it and only guessed on who the author might be. Several people even walked into newspaper offices and announced that they were the author. But the real man kept quiet.
The mystery all came clear in 1956 and the man who cracked it was the Reverend Lisle M. Thompson of the Burton Street Baptist Church. Arthur Stace was actually the church cleaner and one of their prayer leaders.
The way it came about: One day, the Reverend Lisle Thompson saw Stace take out his crayon and write the famous Eternity on the pavement. Arthur Stace had done it without realizing that he has been spotted. Thompson said: "Are you Mr. Eternity?" and Stace replied "Guilty Your Honor".
Arthur Stace died of a stroke in a nursing home on July 30, 1967. He was 83.
In 1968 the Sydney City Council decided to carry on Mr. Stace's one-word sermon "ETERNITY" by putting down permanent plaques in many numerous locations throughout the city.
As a tribute to the man known as Mr. Eternity, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up with the word "Eternity" as part of the celebrations for the beginning of the year 2000 and the beginning of the new century.
The question I must ask myself is, where will I spend eternity?
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