Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
'How shall they hear without a preacher?' Rom. 10.14.
The above question highlights the necessity of communication in evangelism. People do need to hear, for faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of God. The postal strike has forcibly reminded us all of the problems that arise when the sources of communication arc brought lo a halt. It will be noticed in this report that some regular suppliers of news have been thwarted-news is still in the pipeline, which is blocked. Perhaps we need to be made aware of the essential of proclaiming the Christian message by every means possible so that the people may hear. The Lord Jesus Himself was tirelessly engaged in proclaiming the message-He came to proclaim the gospel to the poor, Luke 4.18. When, in the quietness of a solitary place, the disciples found Jesus they said, 'all men seek thee'. But note how the Saviour answered. 'Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth', Mark 1. 37-38. How telling this reply! Let us then be diligent in praying for all who preach; they are in the front line of communication.
North West England-Gerald Bourne, Manchester, sends several items of news regarding summer work in the area. The Lancashire Gospel Tent was erected for a six week campaign at Aldington, near Charley. In spite of some adverse weather conditions in the final weeks, support was good. Many adults and teenagers attended the meetings and the evangelist, Roland Pickering, N. Ireland, was encouraged. Children's meetings conducted by David McMasters and Tony Rerishaw were small but consistent. One of the highlights of the young people's work was the school visits where David and Tony were well received. Altogether five professed faith in Christ including two young girls. The very clear and powerful presentation of ihe gospel was a stimulus to the believers. Saturday evenings were given over to bible teaching. These gatherings and the Friday night teenagers' meetings were well supported.
A two week effort conducted by S. McKenzie and Tony Renshaw at Great Sankey, Warrington, was affected by bad weather conditions. Attendances during the first week were smaller, but there was an improvement during the second week and about 200 were there on the final night. A 17-year-old girl accepted the Saviour and another who had grown cold towards the Lord was helped. Stewart was encouraged to find thai five who professed faith in Christ the previous year were all now in fellowship and going on with the Lord. This proved to be a worth-while effort and an encouragement.
News oi the Manchester and District Sunday School Camp at Lakeside, Windermere. The weather was kind to the 154 campers who gathered there this year. Both campers and leaders were kept very busy with the many pursuits lhat mark this adventure camp during the daytime. In the evening the spiritual work was led by Raymond Tate, of Millom, and a number of young people professed to be saved. It is reported that at least one teenager asked for baptism on return home. This was a good camp which left its impact. Among those who made a profession were three sixteen-year-old boys.
Various assemblies held their Holiday Bible Clubs during the school holidays and report encouraging times. At Elim Hall, Blackburn, good numbers attended and new children were reached. At Shafteslutry Chapel, Miles Platting, Manchester, about 40 children attended the cluh. Visitation on the doors has shown results and children have been added to the Sunday School and some adults attend the gospel meetings.
Howard Barnes sends news from the Wirral. At Leesewood, near Mold, there is a small assembly with five believers. They are, however, very active in evangelism in the village. At a young people's meeting held in the rented side hall of a Welsh chapel, up to twelve teenagers gather. There have been recent campaigns held there, and John Skingley and Frank Lonncy hope, n.v., to hold a campaign next year. At Ford Estate, Birkenhead, the assembly has had children's meetings and Paul Young spoke to children and some adults who attended.
In Liverpool city centre, a number of believers led by F. Birchard, have held open air meetings and tract distributions on alternate Saturday mornings. On a number of occasions, 'militants' have tried to drown out the preaching with loud speakers. Brother F, Bircharti has also been active in Hale wood district of Liverpool where there is no assembly testimony but a population of over 10,000.
Midlands. At Charlton Road Gospel Hall, Birmingham, the believers have much cause for rejoicing as three have been recently saved. A young girl recently died and the funeral was taken by brethren at the hall. As a result the father and her boyfriend have been attending the meetings and have been converted. A lady whose husband died, commenced coming to the gospel meeting. She too Lrusted the Saviour. As the result of this a baptism was held and the hall was full. The wife and children of the man who was baptised were there to witness his step of faith. Others show interest and it is felt by the believers that the blessing is a result of early Saturday morning prayer meetings which have been a benefit and blessing to ail. Visitation work is done on a regular basis and there is encouragement by the reception experienced. So prayer goes on that a deeper interest may be shown by the folk in the area, with a real conviction of sin.
The Dynamite Club, (P.S.S.), for Warwickshire, held their two weeks of camp at Storton. There were 70 campers for ihe first week of Junior Camp and Ivor Cooper gave talks on the people Jesus met, according to John's gospet. There was a good spirit among the children and workers although a 'tummy bug' rather disrupted things. There were those who professed faith in the Saviour. The Senior camp was good as abotu 35 gathered, mainly Christians. Bob Telford shared the teaching with them on the 'last week in the Life of Jesus'. It was felt that good, sulld work was done among the young people.
The Town and Country Festival held at the Royal Show Ground, Stoneleigh, gave an opportunity for the evangelists to erect a marquee for witness. It gave opportunity for recruiting children for Dynamite Club, and also for making contacts with the many thousands of people who came through the tent. A 'Grotto' illustrating ihe story of the 'Rich Fool' was at the centre of the testimony. Much Christian literature was distributed and accepted and good conversations were en|uyed. Hertfordshire. Two weeks of children's meetings were held in the Gospel Tent, Baldock, with S. Mountstevens. Over 50 children were reached with the majority attending every night. The 'I am' texts formed the basis for the seed sown in the hearts and minds of all. Two girls expressed an earnest desire to receive the Saviour and others gave encouraging indications of having been convicted. Contacts were also made with some parents. In particular a serious conversation was lad with the father of one of ihe girls who had professed faith. Sadly, while the man gave an assurance that he would not oppose his daughter in her desire to attend the classes at the local assembly, he is adamant that he will never believe. He was told that he will be the subject of prayer. The local assembly are encouraged in that a number of those reached have started to come To Sunday School. Follow up visits from the assembly are planned to the homes of all who came to the tent, and prayer would be valued for grace and strength for this work that lasting blessing may result.
South Wales. Frum Don Roberts we have items of news from Cardiff and district. The Bible Exhibition, centred at Cardiff, continues to prove useful. At Ely Gospel Hall, many hundreds of school children were brought by their teachers from all' the surrounding schools. One child was heard lo say. 'Show me Calvary'. This seemed to sum up a week of great opportunity.
At Bargoed, the believers were encouraged to see the hall packed when Cyril Hocking gave a stimulating word from Isaiah 54. The National Eisteddfod was held this year at Newport, Gwent, and the event gave Bruce Anderson an opportunity to erect his tent and display the word of God, and witness to visitors. At events such as this there is always a need for Welsh speaking believers to give assistance and witness. The Farming Show at Cowbridge, gave another opportunity to erect a stand for a witness to ihe Lord. Cowbridge is situated in the Vale of Glamorgan, where there is little of evangelical witness.
Work in many Old People's Homes still gives great opportunity to preach the gospel. Both in Cardiff and in the Valleys there are doors open to available workers, to take advantage in sharing the gospel. The work at Plassey Street, Penarth, still continues to thrive, following the great need there about a year ago. Another married couple have heard the 'Macedonian call' and have come over to help. Believers were encouraged when a young man was recently baptised.
The Senior Sunday School Camp from Cardiff was conducted by Cyril Hocking, who put the young people through their paces in studying Luke's Gospel. One ot the objectives in this was to get the young people to study God's word for themselves. The Postal Sunday School work in Cardiff has reached a point of concern for its continuance and is in need of much prayer. The brother and his wife who Slave organised the work for some considerable time and have worked hard in it, now feel it is time to look for others to pass the work on to.
A recent visit to Abertridwr brings news of the work there. With only four in fellowship the believers have been encouraged by the conversion of a young lady in a recent campaign. Every Monday morning during August a Holiday Bible Club was held and different bible themes were dealt with each morning. There was encouragement as 15 children turned up along with several of the mothers. A Ladies meeting has recently commenced each month on a Wednesday evening. Between 10 and 12 attend and some have been introduced to the Sunday evening Gospel meeting.
Dorset. From J, Harman we have news of work in this county. Two weeks mission for boys and girls was held on Weymouth sands during August. Meetings were held in mornings and afternoons of each day. The children responded well, and some encouraging conversations took place. Much blessing could result from this effort. On Weymouth sands the Sunday evening meetings have continued this summer. Numbers have fluctuated because of ihe weather, but the gospel has been preached to passers by. The numbers who actually slopped and listened were few, but one or two have shown good interest and many tracts were accepted. Help has been appreciated from visitors and those on holiday. These have swelled the numbers and helped with the preaching of the gospel. Though the efforts have seemed feeble, the gospel has been preached, and we can leave the issues with the Lord.
1988 saw the completion of 100 years witness on the site of Bethany Hall, Weymouth (formerly George Street Hall: Services arc planned to give God thanks for His faithfulness and it is hoped that many of the Lord's people who have shared the work over the years will be there. Through the goodness of the Lord the hall was preserved from bombing during the war years and the assembly has enjoyed happy fellowship together over this long period with much blessing.
Hampshire.A brief item comes from Bethany Gospel Hall, Rollestone Ruad, Holbury, Southampton. This is a small but steadily growing assembly on the edge of the New Forest. Three years ago they were on the point of closing down, but now are thriving. The number in fellowship has grown from four to sixteen. There have been four baptisms in less then three years and a warmth of love and affection is wonderfully present. The assembly is anxious to put itself on the map so thai people who gather in assembly fellowship will make their way to them. A warm welcome will be given to all who come this way for holidays. Two special needs are present with the believers. One is for a young married couple to help with the youth work, and then there is a need for building toilets and a kitchen in the hall. Our friend’s arc looking to the Lord to continue to supply their needs.
Devon. We have good news of the Plymouth Camps at Mcnadue, Tiniagel. Over the four weeks of camping there was a great sense of the Lord's presence and blessing. The Senior Camp was taken by Stuart McGlashan and he took the young people through studies in the book of Revelation. Most of the campers were Christians and the studies proved to be helpful to all. The Junior 2 camp was taken by Peter Brandon and was a mixed camp with NO campers. It was significant that the blessing that came was mainly among boys. One boy, Billy, was an outstanding case of the way in which the Lord can work in a boy's life. Saved before camp through a school's Christian Union, his father had said he would not be allowed to go to camp because of his mother's ill-ness. The young people at Truro prayed, and just at the last minute his father gave permission for him to go. During camp he was a bright witness, leading two other lads to the Lord. A number professed conversion and others were counselled and helped with spiritual problems. An open air meeting was held in a nearby cove on the Sunday afternoon, and because the sea was too rough for swimming, many sat and listened. There was general encouragement as the Lord gave His blessing to the camp. The last week of Junior Camp was taken by Paul Clarke and much blessing was received in the study of the word. During the week about 16 children professed conversion. The overall picture of the camps speaks much of the faithfulness of God in His goodness and keeping power. His is the glory! There was a great warmth of fellowship among the workers as they spent much time together in prayer for the blessing and salvation of the boys and girls.
Cornwall.Believers at Saltash Gospel Hall, Saltash, have recently been encouraged by the salvation of a married couple. They had been attending the gospel meeting in recent months and have now been baptised and brought into the fellowship of the assembly.
A look back to the one day May-day Fail-in Saltash. The assembly erected a stand in the street and hundreds of tracts and invitations to the meetings were distributed, both to children and adults. Some good conversations were enjoyed.
The Postal Sunday School Camp for Cornwall was held at Fowey in the school. A total of 80 gathered with about 55 children. The teaching both in the gospel talks and the practical Christian teaching from James was shared by Ken Rudge and Nigel Williams and it proved to be a great blessing to the young people. There were two who professed to trust the Saviour. The majority of the young people were Christians or had made some profession. It was found that there were those there who had made a profession of faith but had gone no further in spiritual growth and development. It was necessary to just pick them up and lead them on in the things of the Lord. It highlighted very much the need for shepherding in young people's work.
Northern Ireland.News from J. Graham, Belfast. At Dundrum, Co. Down, R. Jordan and S. Haugh preached the gospel in a portable hall in this needy area. At Ballymacombs, near Bellaghy, Co. Derry, J. Hawthorne and U. Usher, Venezuela, preached the word in a tent. In the north of the province in Co. Derry, at Limavady, B. Glendinning and B. Smith finished nine weeks working in a portable hall, where it proved difficult to get a consistent attendance. At Broughshane, A. Aiken had two weeks of open air meetings in several estates, where he did visitation work. At Ballycastle, thousands of gospel tracts were distributed and the gospel message preached at the annual Lammas Fair. At Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, R. Pickering had encouraging numbers of the locals listening to the gospel in a tent.
The weather was against open air work in July, but S. Jennings, assisted by brethren from Central Hall, had meetings each evening on the front where possible, at Bangor. At Portstewart, R. McLuckie had one week's open air meetings, with ministry meetings in the mornings and these were well attended. There will be many mid-week meetings recommencing in various halls in Belfast, and large numbers of women will gather to hear the gospel and have a cup of tea. More unsaved gather together in this way than at the usual Sunday evening services. Prayer is needed for this and other activities, especially in the light of the worsening political situation.
Scotland.Philip Prior sends news of the assembly in St. Andrews, Fife. Although only 8 in fellowship, they continue stedfastly in testimony for the Lord. In July they held their summer campaign, with the help of 20 young people commended from assemblies in various parts of the U.K. Jack Hay of Camrie took up the Epistle to the Romans in ministry. Open air meetings were held daily in prominent places in the town. Many listened and there were a number of interesting conversations with individuals who wanted to talk. There were children's meetings in the gospel hall and gospel meetings each evening, attended by a small number of unsaved but well supported by believers from the locality. Open air meetings are held regularly each Saturday morning and each Lord's Day at noon. All new students who attend St. Andrews University will be contacted.
Jim Anderson sends news from South West Scotland. All credit to many Christian workers who give up a fair fraction of their holidays to engage in the strenuous labours of Camp. The oldest Ayrshire Camp is in the Saltcoats district, and this year it went to Inverkeithing in Fife.