Reports of Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities
C. H. Darch, Taunton, England
RINGWOOD, ST. IVES
There is some concern at the small number attending the gospel meetings and consideration is being given to the matter of moving the Hall nearer to the town, or if possible to a site on a new housing estate. Prayer is requested that the right step may be taken and that, if a suitable site is found. Town Planning difficulties may be overcome.
RYDE, ISLE OF WIGHT
Major repairs to a Hall can be an almost insoluble problem to a very small assembly. The state of repair of the Hall at Ryde was almost such as to necessitate closure. The practical interest shown by neighbouring assemblies and by those who have a link with this very old assembly has been such that the repairs arc now well in hand. We are asked to rejoice with those who rejoice in the good hand of our God.
DEVON & COHNWALL EVANGELISTIC UNIT
Since the beginning of June, Edgar Jackman has been working with this Unit in Cornwall. During the first week of the campaign good interest was shown especially by the children, at Holmbush Mission Hall, a building for which the St. Austell assembly has accepted responsibility. Children's meetings on a housing estate in St, Austell proved more difficult, because the children were not: easy to manage. The caravan was then taken to the Royal Cornwall Show at Newquay find placed on a previously arranged site on the show-field. Some interesting contacts were made and Christians visiting the show expressed appreciation of the testimony. A quantity of literature was freely distributed and several books were sold during the two days. Although there was a poor response at Chacewater, there was a good hearing at Mount Hawke and St. Day. At these two places children's meetings were a feature of the work and the mothers of some of the children showed interest in the meetings.
Derek Frost has had a series of meetings at Blagdon (Somerset) where Lie was able to hire a chapel for the purpose. He was well supported by the Christians in the district and as a result a Sunday School has been restarted alter a lapse of many years. It was in this same building that the hymn "I think when I road the sweet story of old" was first sung, having been composed by the daughter of the minister who was then in charge. The building was almost, full most nights, the audience inducting several children, and there is reason to believe there were a few cases of definite blessing.
Open-air work is being carried on in most of the Birmingham parks on Saturday and Sunday evenings with the help of public-address equipment. For some time the assembly at Helier Hall, North field, has been exercised with regard to their inability to get the parents of the Sunday School children into the gospel meeting, in spite of repeated invitations given through the children Sunday after Sunday. In an endeavour to interest the parents on this large housing estate it was decided to hold a "Parents' Day" service at 6.31) p.m. on a Sunday in July. It was duly advertised by means of a letter signed by the Sunday School superintendent and teachers, and also by visits to the homes. The children were also encouraged to come and sing their favourite hymns, H. E. Pope, of Nuneaton, was the guest speaker and it was made a matter of special prayer. As a result over 160 children filled the Hall to capacity, the audience including about 30 parents who had never been inside the Hall before. With this encouragement it is hoped to repeat the experiment on future occasions. In July a party of children (boys and girls over 12 years of age) and helpers, about 160 in all drawn from the assemblies in and around Birmingham went for a week's camp at Poole (Dorset).
Interest in tent work has been renewed and a tent was pitched at Shiney Row, a thickly-populated colliery village about 10 miles south of Newcastle. An excellent site was acquired and considerable interest was shown on the part of the people, especially the children, who gathered in large numbers to hear the old, old story. The work was conducted by David Hyslop, and some children professed to believe in the Saviour. The results on the whole were encouraging, and the people of the locality expressed regret when the tent was taken down. Local Christians were helped. The tent was removed to Forest Hall, a few miles north of Newcastle, and at the opening meeting for believers suitable ministry was provided to stimulate the effort to reach the unsaved. For the first night of the gospel campaign (Sunday) the gospel broadcast from South port by R. W. Wyse, was relayed in the tent.
LANCASHIRE GOSPEL TENT
We were very sorry to hear early in July that the Lancashire Gospel Tent had been burnt to the ground, but as these reports are being prepared we have received intimation that another tent has been loaned, so that the campaign planned for Leigh can be carried out by Fred Whitmore as arranged. We hope to include a report in our next issue.
A number of assemblies in South Wales carry on open-air activities in their own districts during the summer months. In addition the Cardiff assemblies have been holding a United Open-Air Meeting in Cathays Park on Thursday evenings. Tract and open-air bands have also visited outlying districts. On the whole the work has been encouraging, with some interesting personal contacts. L. H. Tranter's visits were much appreciated during a series of meetings at Treherbert, Tonypandy and Aberdare in June and July. W. A. Norris and W. Trew commenced tent work near a large housing estate on the main Cardiff-Pontypridd road, at Hawthorn, Rhydy-felin, in July. Workers visited the homes regularly with gospel literature and invitations. Children's meetings were well attended and sonic strangers from the district came under the sound of the Word in the adult meetings.
For a number of years a company of brethren, drawn from various assemblies in Belfast, lias accepted invitations to sing the gospel to sick folk both in their own homes and in hospitals. A most successful year in this worthwhile work has just ended. Through the auspices of a Sunshine Committee ten of these brethren were able to pay four Sunday-evening visits to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and they sang hymns in six of the wards. One of their visits took place on Christmas morning. It should be noted that preaching is not allowed in this hospital. Visits were also paid to the Massereng Hospital, and the Mental Health Hospital at Muckamore, where our brethren received permission to preach as well as sing. Hospitals in Lisburn and Ballymena were also visited, and on all occasions the brethren were received in a friendly spirit by the staff and patients alike, whilst many of the latter have spoken appreciatively of the messages that went forth in song. A few visits were also paid to the homes of sick Christians, the majority of whom were aged and bedridden. Such contacts have been a source of inestimable blessing and comfort to many a weary saint. The activities of our brethren have occasionally been extended to open-air meetings, children's meetings and young people's meetings, all of which have been held in connection with the assemblies of the Lord's people.
A NEW IDEA
Under this heading we included a note in our March/April issue on "bottle evangelism." We now hear from the Argentine that E. G. Mann, returning to that country from England on the S.S. Alcantara, was given, by the Purser, a packet of 24 bottles each containing the gospel message John 3. 16, with instructions to throw them overboard at various points on the voyage. He did this along the coast of France, Spain, Portugal, Las Palmas, Brazil, Uruguay, etc. Within a few months two of the bottles had been received and acknowledged, one of them having been carried by the Gull' Stream as far as the North of Scotland. We are very pleased to have this information of the effectiveness of this novel form of gospel witness.
Tent work in a housing estate, conducted by local brethren (splendidly supported by the willing labours of sisters), attracted a large number of children, many of whom had no Christian background. There is evidence that a real work was done among them - some came forward quite voluntarily to say they had trusted Christ. Adults were difficult to reach, but two Parents' Nights brought a number in.