Ebenezer Gospel Hall,Wishaw
In Lanarkshire in 1843 the minister of the Congregational Church in Hamilton was the means in God’s hands of a work of grace in the neighbouring town of Wishaw. Though he little realized it there were to be far reaching results as sixty people professed salvation and soon formed themselves into a local Congregational Church in Wishaw.
On 9th April 1847 sixteen of them left and ‘broke bread’ the following Lord’s Day in a workshop in Newmains, a small village near Wishaw. None of them had been baptized but had seen that a one-man ministry was unscriptural, that the Lord had given gifts to the members of the body and that no one person had all the gifts necessary for the church to function properly. Thoughts of baptism soon occupied their attention and four were baptized in the River Calder on Lord’s Day morning 25th May 1848. A short time later over twenty others were also baptized in the same river.
For the next four years they continued happily but fundamental errors of doctrine crept in and broke up the church so that by May 1852 only four were left. Devastated, they continued to meet without making much progress until 1862. The numbers by that year had risen to thirty and since then hundreds have been added. For the next thirty-five years an average of thirty persons were received into fellowship each year. This increase called for larger accommodation and in 1869 Victoria Hall was built, by John Wardrop, in Hill Street, Wishaw, with seating for over six hundred. There, too, many were won for Christ. Believers in fellowship went on to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ in Australia, USA and New Zealand as well as in many parts of the UK. Since the summer of 1907 the assembly has met in the present premises in Young Street, Wishaw.
After the war years the Sunday School grew steadily and children were bussed in from the a new housing estate on the edge of the town. As numbers grew it was decided to commence another Sunday School in the new Coltness Primary School and this also quickly grew in numbers. As a spin off from the Sunday School work gospel services were held in the school resulting in many parents attending regularly.
Commencing in 1971, and for the following twenty-five years, a midweek children’s service was held in another part of town where each evening up to three hundred children were presented with a simple gospel message and many parents were spoken to regarding their eternal destiny.
Throughout the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s Robert Walker, Stuart McKenzie, Peter Brandon, John Grant and Stephen Grant have conducted gospel campaigns and those who were saved were added to the assembly. Hospital visitation has played a big part in assembly witness over many years with regular visits for services being made to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Law Hospital, Bellfield Hospital and Wishaw Sanatorium where the gospel was presented faithfully in song and story.
The assembly has always been active in the local community in the distribution of tracts and in open-air witness. In the mid 1990s every home in the town was presented with a Seed Sowers text. In recent years the assembly welcomed the opportunity to be involved with building projects in Romania, Moldova, Bolivia and Zambia helping some of the saints in these lands to be able to gather in more comfortable surroundings.
In 1981 the present building in Young Street was extended and completely refurbished with an upgraded kitchen and toilet facilities as well as extra rooms to facilitate various assembly activities. At present the assembly has a healthy group of young couples who are responsible for the work among ‘mothers and toddlers’, children and teenagers. There is a good attendance at all of these meetings for which there is constant thanksgiving and praise. Seeming disregard for the claims of God and His word by the townsfolk continually exercises the prayers of the assembly for grace and wisdom to enable the testimony that has been maintained in this building for 100 years to continue until the Lord Jesus returns.