Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Jesus Christ the same...for ever" Heb. 13. 8.
Northern Ireland. The gospel continues to be preached in various places all over the North. It is interesting to note how wide an area these reports cover. At Belfast, in Cregagh Street assembly, there was encouragement as souls were saved when Tom Meckin preached the Word. One of those saved was the evangelist's own daughter. In the Donegall Road assembly, John Thompson and Noel McKlown, (on furlough from Venezuela), have visited the district and it was good to see a few strangers come in to listen to the faithful preaching of the Word.
The little seaside town of Carnlough, Co. Antrim, is set in a difficult area, with the majority of the population being Catholic. Here Arnot Caulfield and Archie McClear preached the gospel. At Craigyhill Hall, Lame, Jim Brown and Jack Lennon saw blessing with a good interest among outsiders. Meetings were held by Albert McShane and David Gilliland in Wallace Avenue Hall at Crosskeys, outside Randalstown. In a portable hall near to the small assembly at Rasharkin, Bob Eadie and Sam Maze held some meetings at Drumack.
Meetings were held in the seaside village of Annalong, Co. Down, with John Hawthorn and A. Davidson and good interest was seen in the gospel. The gospel was preached in the Gospel Hall at Granshan, near Rathfriland, by Eric Wishart. A short spell of meetings was conducted by Archie Carew at Ardnore, Co. Armagh. At Glenan-ne, Co. Armagh, William Nesbitt and Tommy Wright (Brazil), were encouraged by good numbers attending, with some of the locals coming in to hear the gospel. Some well attended meetings were conducted by Jim Martin and Wilson Jennings at Kingsmills, Co. Tyrone, and some blessing was seen. The gospel was preached by Wilfred Glenn, (Brazil) and Bill Bingham (Canada) at Lungs, Co. Tyrone. B. Smith and B. Glendinning were encouraged as children of believers attended meetings held in Londonderry City, Co. Derry. In Co. Donegal, Gilbert Stewart and Sam Patterson continue to labour faithfully and were greatly encouraged as a woman was saved and interest has increased at Magher-acorran.
The Annual Conferences for the ministry of the Word have been held at Donema-nagh and Enniskillen. Just one week before the Conference was due to be held at Ballinamallard, the hall was damaged by an I.R.A. bomb. Very wonderfully God overruled, and the believers were able to get the hall ready in time for the meetings. Jim Graham remarks that much speculation and rumour abounds regarding the future of the province, especially in relation to the outcome of the talks between Mrs Thatcher and the Eire Government. Please pray thai whatever the decisions may be, the Lord Jesus will be greatly glorified in the salvation of many of these needy and bewildered people. Let us remember that God is still on the throne.
It is good to hear again of the National Bible Study Club in Dublin. Their News Sheet tells of God's great blessing on their activities among the 700 or so regular students who come from all over Ireland. Openings have been found in many of the so called "no go" areas of Northern Ireland. Young people are saying that through the lessons they are finding the Lord. Because the Gospels and lesson are all sent to individual children at their home address, the Word of God is being introduced directly into the homes where the family can also be influenced. A number of adults have requested help and a suitable Emmaus Course has been supplied. Evidence to hand tells that the Gospel has found its way into needy hearts. This work, with the similar activity of Postal Sunday School operating from Mountmellick, must prove an invaluable means of reaching the children for Christ.
Scotland. We have some good items of news from Tom Aitken in Forth. A series of gospel meetings conducted by Jim Smyth at Blantyre, was due to run for two weeks but was extended to three. There was good interest and a lady was led to Christ. Two weeks ministry meetings were held by Jim Aitken at Glenrothes and then one week's meetings at Bellshill. These proved to be most profitable and believers spoke of finding help. The brethren from various assemblies meet each second Friday of the month lo pray for the needs of the work in Lanarkshire. The apostolic practice of consistent, united prayer cannot be bettered if blessing is to be seen. John Spiers held a three weeks' series of gospel meetings in his home assembly at Forth. A significant feature of this campaign was the meeting each day at 2.30 p.m. of brothers and sisters for a special season of prayer. After these, those who were able went out on house to house visitation. Good numbers came to the meetings and the preaching was powerful. The interest has continued in the hearts of a few who attend the Sunday evening meetings. Dalgetty Bay is a new town on the Fifeshire coast. The brethren felt led to go there for the Fife Outreach - there is no assembly here. Much effort in various ways was put into the work. Door to door visitations was conducted and the gospel preached each night. Each Tuesday morning meetings were held in the homes of believers when neighbours gathered. Two women came to Christ and others spoke of blessings. There was a good spirit among all who shared the work with the two brethren who did the preaching during the month.
News from Low Waters Gospel Hall, Hamilton. During the month of October, Jim Allen worked with the assembly. He began with ministry meetings on the subject of "Blessing", and this was much appreciated and proved most challenging in view of the effort that was to follow. Unsaved folk were present on the first evening and some were in for the first time. It could be said that some people from around the Hall came in to see it after renovations, following the fire last year. They all heard the gospel faithfully preached and were left in no doubt as to their need of the Saviour. Some backsliders who had been in fellowship many years ago, attended and one man confessed Christ as Saviour. So the seed was sown and more fruit is prayerfully awaited. The accent on visitation was much to the fore in a campaign held at High Parks Gospel Hall, Hamilton with Robert Revie. Before the campaign began the area was well covered with invitations. Then Robert and members of the assembly devoted a full week to visitation and some good contacts were made. Our brother also worked hard to get into a number of homes and some good interest was shown. One week's childrens meetings began the campaign and these were well attended with good interest shown. These meetings continued on Wednesday evenings for the remainder of the campaign. Good numbers came to the adult meetings and unsaved were in every night, some who had never been in before. The gospel was faithfully preached each night and on the final evening a married woman trusted the Saviour. Other people showed interest and it is prayed that further decision will be seen.
An encouraging gospel campagin was held by Stewart McKenzie in Elgin. Good numbers of unsaved attended and a weekly children's meeting has continued since the campaign. One young man said at the Camp Reunion that he had been baptised as a result of a message at the Summer Camp. A man of 75 who attended the meetings accepted Christ as Saviour.
North West England.Brief notes are to hand from Gerald Bourne, concerning conference time in Manchester Area, during September and October. Mauldeth Road, Gorton, Werneth and Cheetham all held their conferences. A good interest was seen in all. The conference at Cheetham had to do with missionary work. At Gorton, Jeffrey Harrison continued with one week's ministry meetings which were much appreciated. At Wythenshaw, Norman Mellish held one week's ministry meetings. Various assemblies are now holding their Saturday evening meetings for ministry. This provision of spiritual food for believers means that almost each Saturday, ministry is available from October to March. The interest shown in these meetings by young people is encouraging.
Howard Barnes sends news of activities in the Wirral. At Bromborough, Jack Hunter conducted one week's ministry on 2 Timothy. The support was good and the ministry challenging. At Bromborough and Ellesmere Port, Annual Conferences were held with good numbers and uplifting ministry. The Wirral Christian Rallies provide ministry on Saturday evenings. These are held in various assemblies and provide a way of encouraging some of the small assemblies in the area. In one of these small gatherings on the Ford Estate, Birkenhead, two week's meetings were held with Basil Dean. The meetings were encouraging with' well attended children's meetings. There were three Who professed faith in Christ. The Merseysidc Missionary Conference was well attended and proved to be a stimulating and challenging time. Reporting on the Lord's work were Dick Towse, Zambia, Jim Pugmire and William Rew, Zaire.
North East England. News of work in the assembly at Skelmanthorpe, Yorks. The Annual Homeworkcrs Conference was held in September. The brethren responsible for reports and ministry of the Word were Frank Reid, Evanton and Jim Smyth, Livingston. Good numbers attended and the ministry and reports were both challenging and encouraging. Jim Smyth followed on with a two weeks Gospel Campaign. Very real blessing was experienced and three people trusted Christ as Saviour. One was a girl in her teens. Another was a lady of 79 who came to the meetings and was gloriously saved. Through a contact made in the village, a young married woman came along to the meetings and she also found her way to Christ. Her desire now is to obey the Lord in baptism. Pray for her children who attend the Sunday School and her unsaved husband. And let us praise God for His saving power.
1985 saw the 13th Annual Sunday School Camp from the Pallion Road Gospel Hall, Sunderland. It was held in comfortable surroundings with a balanced diet provided arid a good time was enjoyed by all. There were 41 children with helpers and it was held at Lebanon Bible College, Berwick-on-Tweed. The speaker was T. Cowie and young people were saved with others leaving more established in Christian commitment. The Teeside Christian Camp held two camps during 1985 at Thropton, near Rothbury, Northumberland. 25 boys attended the first one and Bill Smith, a teacher from London was the speaker. In changeable weather a flexible programme allowed opportunities to get to know the boys and to share with them the challenge of the gospel. Two of them professed salvation. 30 girls made up the second camp and during the week the gospel was given them. The mifority of them were either Sunday School scholars or children of believers. Mrs. Valerie Close from Consctt was the speaker and all came away challenged. Two girls professed faith in the Lord and one older girl was restored to the Lord. The happy and harmonious atmosphere gave cause for gratitude to the Lord. The 42nd North East England Missionary Weekend was held in September. Speakers were J. Pugmire, Honduras, D. Jones, Zirribabwe, J. Rowberry, India, H. Ratcliffe, Morocco, L. Mullan, Japan and W. Rew, Zaire. Reports were given to assemblies from Tyneside, Teeside and Wearside. Reports were challenging and searching with regard to the Christian's attitude to service for the Lord.
Midlands. The believers at Westbury Chapel, Wolverhampton, celebrated 100 years of testimony-September 1885 to September 1985-on October 12th 1985. They recalled the history of the assembly during these years. On September 20th 1885 a small room was rented in Clarence Street, above a small stable which housed a pony and trap. Here a meeting place was established and all believers whom the Lord had received were made welcome. It was agreed then that the Bible would be the sole and absolute authority in all matters of creed and conduct. So each Sunday they met to remember the Lord Jesus and also to preach the Gospel. Weekly meetings for Bible Study and prayer were also held. As the Lord blessed, with the help of various brethren, the small local church steadily grew. At the turn of the century more spacious premises were moved to in Cleveland Street. So the membership of the church continued to grow. Open air work and Sunday School activities ensued. Fireside gatherings and Young People's Rallies drew many from a wide area. There was a concern for Missionary work and in 1934 Albert Phillips was commended to the Lord's work in Malaysia. Other brethren and sisters were commended to the field in the years that followed. In 1961 Cleveland Street was sold for industrial purposes, and with the proceeds the present Westbury Chapel was built.
Various outreach activities continue with a work designed to reach to all types of need among the people in this needy area. It was with a sense of deep thankfulness to the Lord for His faithfulness that members, both past and present, gathered to celebrate and praise God. Albert Phillips, (ex Malaysia) and Jim Pugmire (ex Republic of Honduras) spoke of the goodness of God in various ways. An address was given by Dr. Stephen Short and the evening ended fittingly with the singing of "How good is the God we adore". May the Lord continue to bless this work.
We have note of work at Charlton Road Gospel Hall, Perry Common, B'ham. This tells of encouragement in various activities. To reach the young women of the district a monthly meeting was arranged and during the first occasion about 50 gathered. A young married couple have been restored to the Lord. A lady of 84 was saved, and declaring that the time was short was baptised within two weeks. A lady of 77 and a young man were baptised at the same time. There was great cause for praise to God. The Senior Citizen's meetings bring much joy with the hall filled for each occasion.
South East England.Looking back over past months, S. Mountstevens sends news of activities for the Lord. For the third consecutive year, children's services were conducted on the beach at Eastbourne. The interest was good and the weather was favourable, and children came back from previous years. A good number of adults lined the promenade and listened to the good Word of God. This annual event feeds the children's work at the local assembly and numbers have been encouraging and constant. Each year a special effort for parents and friends is held on one evening on the beach and about 50 heard the Word preached.
A special children's effort was conducted by S. Mountstevens at Bishops Waltham, in the small assembly there. It was a joy to see about 50 children gathering to listen to the gospel. Much interest was sustained throughout with parents bringing children each night. On the prize-giving night the hall was full, with parents and friends joining the children. This effort was of great encouragement to the assembly which seeks to maintain the testimony in this place. Faithful, praying believers have continued the work during the years, and it was encouraging to know of some additions to the assembly recently.
S. Mountstevens also conducted 10 days of children's meetings at Westcliffe-on-Sca, at Carlton Gospel Hall. Unexpected opposition came from the school directly opposite the hall. Normally sympathetic, they stipulated that no leaflets should be given to the children. Satan was thwarted in this however, as the Sunday School did the inviting. The result was seen in that 50 children, more than ever before, came in to the meetings. Attention was good and also the behaviour, and the message was proclaimed each night. There were «j good number of parents and friends on the last night to see the prizes distributed to the children, 18 of whom chose the Scriptures as prizes. A little Indian girl brought her parents along-they will shortly be returning to India. It is surely good to hear of these consistent efforts to reach the boys and girls for the Saviour.
South Wales.Robert McLuckie of Belfast conducted gospel meetings at the Evangelistic Hall, Llanelli, when quite an interest was shown and some unsaved gathered. He was able to visit several assemblies in the Swansea area, and he gave a report on his recent visit to the Lord's people in Egypt.
The believers at Moorlands Gospel Hall, Neath, were encouraged by a visit of Stephen Gillham. Interest among the children was thrilling and the hall was full each evening, with the special parents evening bringing a "pack-out". The work at Neath is very encouraging with a fine band of active young believers. The Gospel Hall at Dunvant, near Swansea, is also being blessed, with an increasing number of young folk who delight to witness for the Lord. There is a burden among believers in Swansea assemblies to purchase a Residential home for elderly Christians and prayer would be valued.
We have a note about the Vale of Glamorgan Outreach. This covers the one day Show at Penlline Castle, Nr. Cow-bridge. The objects of the outreach were to "distribute the Word of God, engage in spiritual conversation and sell evangelical literature. Added to this, the promotion of Postal Sunday School work and where visitors are seeking a local church, to direct them to an assembly". Most of the people who attended were given an attractively produced John's Gospel, and tracts dealing with various spiritual needs were given away. There were also special activities for the children. Apart from brethren and sisters from local assemblies, three evangelists, Bruce Anderson, John Baker and David Prosscr were engaged in the work. Many contacts and conversations were enjoyed and many were confronted with the claims of Christ.
Devon.The Annual Conference at West Hill Gospel Hall, Plymouth, saw a good company gathering together. Clear and helpful ministry was given by Barry King and Alan Maunder. It was encouraging to see a good percentage of young people among those present. At Hebron Hall, Torquay, a full and enthusiastic company of believers gathered for their Annual Conference. The warmth of fellowship was good and practical, devotional ministry was given by S. Hughes, Kingsbridge and K. Rudge, St. Austell.
From the assembly at Bitton Park, Teignmouth, comes some interesting news. The assembly, helped by Peter Smith, conducted a week's gospel outreach in conjunction a 34th Anniversary Meeting. At this meeting it was good to see the respective Mayors of Teignmouth and Dawlish present and they were pleased to be there. The week's gospel meetings were held at Colman Avenue and this proved to be a time of blessing. At the children's meetings numbers reached 81 and a girl of 10 professed to be saved. The regular youth group "Searchers" has doubled since this effort. There were four nights of gospel preaching for the adults, and although the numbers were small one lady came on three occasions. A new outreach called "Coffee Break" was begun. Much literature was distributed during the effort and homes and schools were visited. The Annual Devon United Missionary Offering meetings were held and a new venture was commenced with a Friday special Youth Night meeting. Over 100 young people attended. These were good meetings.
Cornwall.We have some interesting items of news from this County. The assembly at Falmouth were thrilled to see over 30 youngsters come in to the hall during a week of meetings conducted by Peter Smith. Time was spent in house to house visitation, seeking to stir up interest in the gospel. It was good to see a number of the parents at the prize-giving. The assembly has followed up this effort by re-commencing the Sunday School and also a girls gathering on Monday evenings called "Busy Bodies". The few workers here would value prayer as they seek to hold on to the ground gained.
At Saltash a week's ministry meetings was held by John Riddle and the assembly and other believers from the area benefitted from the many practical and devotional truths that were helpfully expounded. Good interest was shown. At the St. Austell assembly there was encouragement when, after a gospel meeting, the mother of a Sunday School child revealed that both she and her husband had come to faith in Christ at an evening meeting of the Postal Sunday School Camp. Her daughter was at Camp and they were invited to spend the day with the campers. They stayed on to the gospel meeting and then unknown to each other, made their individual commitments to the Lord. The assembly had been praying for them since September, as they had been attending gospel meetings regularly. Their daughter had made a clear profession of salvation at Camp. It is good to see that they all have shown clear evidence of the change that Christ makes to life. Surely this would encourage all of us to make contact with as many people as we can and then allow the Lord to do his own work through His Word. We would say "Amen" to this statement.
A Saturday Rally entitled "Evangelism in Cornwall", was held in the Gospel Hall in Bodmin, when John Hadley showed slides and reported on the work done with the Gospel Tent during the summer months. As the tent is now beyond repair, prayer is valued for the possibilities of a replacement for next summer. K. Smaile of Bideford ministered the Word on this occasion. There was fervent exhortation for all to engage in the greatly needed work of evangelism according to God's direction.
Foreign Item.From Serowe, Botswana, Ian Rees writes to tell of growth in Sunday-School work. The Sunday School is so large that new class-rooms had to be built to accommodate the children. He says that looking back, the new buildings seem to be miracles. The new classrooms will be in use all the year round. The glory belongs to the Lord. Ian and his wife are exercised about work further north. A small company meeting in Gaborone are building a new hall. There are good possibilities, when a survey is completed, of obtaining a plot to build at Francistown. This is a growing town with good strategic possibilities for the gospel. Prayer would be valued for these needs.