Regional Survey - North West Somerset
Cecil Ingleby, Erdington
We hope that the regional surveys given on this page from time to time will help our readers to get accurate impressions of the need in our land, what is being done and what remains to be done.
“The day is past when we can get people into the Gospel Halls,” sadly said the visiting brother, on holiday in our lovely hills and moors in Somerset. We held our peace, but invited him, with a smile, to the gospel meeting, and soon from four different villages there came a company of more than eighty souls who were simply attracted by the grandeur and glory of God’s greatest message told out by a Farmer who well knew how to get the best out of his farm but, better still, how to scatter the living seed into the soil of the human heart. Some of us still refuse to be pessimistic about what are sometimes called “old methods,” and there are many meetings in this area that cause us to “thank God and take courage.”
However, there is another side to this N.W. Somerset picture. From Bridgwater to Minehead there stretches a wonderful unfolding of the beauties of God's handiwork and yet in this scene of beauty you may find village after village steeped in spiritual darkness, and to the mind comes the words, “The situation is pleasant, as my Lord seeth, but the water is naught and the ground barren.” Away southward one comes to the Sedgmoor land, rich in the annals of history, but alas! how poor in spiritual treasures. Aller, the village where 100 Danes were once baptised by Alfred the Great, but now needing a greater power than a Saxon King, and many another small town and hamlet in this moorland that awaits the Gospel.
Perhaps one of the greatest needs in this area is that of the small village meeting, and there are many who are bravely struggling to maintain the testimony and needing help so much. It is not only Gospel preachers that we need, but men gifted to teach and shepherd the tiny assemblies—those who are just as cheerfully ready to minister to the needs of the seven as of the seventy-seven.
Before the war a number of the meetings combined in a united open-air work and the Lord was pleased to bless so that in many a Somerset village the sweet music of the Word harmonised with the ripple of the brook and the song of the lark ; and our younger brethren and sisters did splendid work. We hope, as the door is opened, to go further with this, and by means of sectional huts to conduct something more constructive than was possible by open-air work alone. This will form an outlet for the energies of the young people back from the Services and Factory, and we are looking forward to putting our hands to the plough in a work which, we trust, will enable us to “go up and possess ... for there remaineth much land.”
Space does not permit to tell of the very real service carried out at Taunton and elsewhere amongst the Forces, and of the many gems won for the Master amongst the evacuated children, but the Lord has noted it all and what a glad day is coming!