Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
A. C. Hinton, Uxbridge
We are glad to take the opportunity, in the first issue of this new volume, to acknowledge our indebtedness to the Area Correspondents and to all others who co-operate in the compilation of the reports which appear in this section. Their task is not easy and their efforts are sometimes fruitless but we receive evidence of the appreciaton of readers and hope that this results in prayer and praise.
In this connection it may be mentioned that requests for the prayers of readers are often included in the reports sent to us. In most cases these requests are omitted to avoid continual repetition.
This is also a suitable time to remind readers that, as has been mentioned previously from time to time, the Lord’s servants who are referred to in this Section are in no way responsible to the Committee: also that inclusion of any particular item is not to be taken as necessarily indicating that the Committee recommends adoption of the methods, designations, etc., employed.
‘The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God’, Ps. 68. 35.
‘Finally . . ., be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might... Put on the whole armour of God, . . . Stand therefore . . . Praying always, . . . and watching thereunto’, Eph. 6. 10-18.
COUNTIES EVANGELISTIC WORK
The 2,500 seats in Westminster Chapel just sufficed to accommodate those who came together on the 10th October when fifteen evangelists ‘rehearsed all that God had done with them’ during the summer months in the wide circle of counties around London. Several of those who had professed conversion were present. Fine weather had given extra opportunities out-of-doors and the sunny spots where the Word was preached included a farmer’s lawn, the sea shore, a vicarage garden (where a hundred gathered) and village greens. Others were reached in hospitals, village halls, private houses, youth clubs and camps and through morning Bible Readings in a farm dairy. A tramp (with forty-two previous ‘convictions’) was convicted after hearing only the closing hymn and prayer in a tent and is believed to have been born again. A farmer, burdened for his employees, got them along and a lad aged 17 was brightly saved. Converts from earlier years were baptized; one, saved five years ago, helped with the preaching and others had formed a Gospel team for local witness.
Two assemblies, each of them planted a little more than a year ago where tents had been previously, have gone on well.
Great concern was expressed regarding the youth of several places. Conditions of immorality such as had never before been encountered were openly evident. Nor was this confined to teenagers, but the morals of those of earlier years were also being corrupted. A few such professed conversion. Of some places it was said that never had greater indifference been in evidence. In one village only three adult believers could be found and in another not one. Typical of all too many was a girl aged 9 who, on being spoken to, replied I’m not interested’.
More cheering was news of the opportunity to reach over twenty public school boys, several of whom professed salvation. Another evangelist was given entry into a youth club where at first it was difficult even to get order, but on leaving he was told by the secretary that he could come again at any time. A permanent work among young people has now been established at this place. At another it has been possible to arrange follow-up work in a school, the use of which had been refused to others for many years. Two elderly people who were visited in their homes gave evidence of a genuine turning to God only a short while before leaving this world.
Several evangelists spoke most gratefully of help received from believers in nearby assemblies. A brother over 70 years old came every night straight from business in London.
The evening meeting closed with a brief but faithful declaration of the way of salvation and two enquirers were dealt with.
The reports given served to underline the fact that to go with the Gospel into the spiritual darkness of the villages and housing estates of this land is no easy task. Behind the brief description of the work there evidently lay a season of patient continuance in spiritual, and often physical, hard work. A. C. W.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON VILLAGE WORK
The burden of the reports of the six parties engaged in this work in the villages and housing estates around London during the past summer was expressed in the words of the hymnwriter
‘Can we whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,
Can we to men benighted the lamp of life deny?’.
Many more workers are needed if the large areas concerned are to be covered. In some places the fields are not ‘white unto harvest’ because no seed has been sown.
The difficulties of the work were illustrated by the complete lack of interest shown in some places and the opposition encountered in others, including children being taken away from the open-air meetings by their parents: its hazards were experienced by a worker who was bitten by a dog: its encouragements were tasted when several boys and girls professed faith in Christ. A new-comer to the work told how deeply he had been impressed by the happy spirit of fellowship that existed. He also suggested that the lack of workers might be explained by the fact that many of those who are interested in proclaiming the Gospel are devoting their time to the kind of ‘Evangelical Campaign’ which is now so popular. The work as carried on in the villages, taking the Word to the people, with opportunity for individual witness, would appear to follow New Testament example more closely, Luke 10. 1; Acts 17. 2, 17, 22.
In the closing address, Captain H. S. May emphasized the need to discover what is of most importance. God’s work in us must take precedence of His work through us, i.e., prayer and meditation have greater priority than the work itself. A. C. H.
A special effort designated as a ‘Good News for Gosport Crusade’ was held in Middlecroft Gospel Hall, Gosport, by a number of students from Moorlands Bible College. The hall was filled nearly every evening and many unsaved were present. Also, factory canteens and schools were visited. In all there were thirty who professed salvation, twelve in the hall and eighteen in their own homes. Some backsliders were restored and the whole assembly revived. A. C. P.
The assembly at Caine has for over thirty years been meeting in a converted paint shop. The Lord has now been pleased to open the way for a new building to be erected on the same site. This was opened on the 3rd October, when a company of well over 200 of the Lord’s people was present and very helpful and timely ministry was given by R. North and E. J. Strange. A. C. H.
The assembly at Burnt House Lane, Exeter, engaged in a mission extending over a fortnight, which was led by P. Widdison. The attendances of adults were disappointing but the response of the children from the large housing estate proved very encouraging. The number present varied between some 100 and 200 and there were several professions of conversion.
The believers in the assembly at Wolsley Road, Plymouth, were cheered when a number of people who live in the vicinity attended a series of Gospel Meetings conducted by C. Goldfinch. There were some who stayed to talk with the evangelist at the close of the meetings. Many of those present had never been in the hall before and have continued coming to the Sunday evening service since the mission ended. Special services were also conducted for children and these were not without reward.
For many years there was a gathering of the Lord’s people in the Gospel Hall Lock’s Hill, Frome, until the property was sold. They have since met in the Co-operative Hall on Sundays and in a private house during the week. On the 7th November their joy was full as they united with about 250 friends for the opening of a new Hall at Grove Lane, Lower Keyford, Frome. Ministry of the Word was given by H. Bedford and H. Brown. The project began with the purchase of a hut from an anti-aircraft site, and developed to a permanent building of a commendable character. J. MCE.
BRISTOL EVANGELISTIC MOBILE UNIT
A report meeting of the last year’s work was held at Ebenezer, Bristol, on the 3rd October. Workers told, amongst other matters, of boys and girls who had never heard of the Lord or of His Word; of a large hospital where the windows of both wards and nurses’ home were opened that the message might be heard; and of men of all nations at Avonmouth who accepted suitable literature. Mention was also made of open doors, of many useful contacts made and previous contacts re-established and of quite a number of conversions. It was felt that work had been done that would stand for eternity, to the glory of God. A. C. H.
Gospel Meetings held by Ben Sutton at Morfa Hall, Llanelly, were encouraging. Peter Brandon followed at the Evangelistic Hall. Attendances were good and there were some cases of conversion.
Cardiff. The assembly at Ely was encouraged during special Gospel Meetings held by Ben Sutton. Four spoke of being saved, and eight believers were baptized. The Annual Conference was well attended, the Word being ministered by H. Spencer and Jeffrey Harrison. The latter continued for several nights.
A series of ‘Diamond Jubilee’ meetings has been held at Ebenezer Hall. There were large attendances throughout, with a spirit of thanksgiving for the Lord’s goodness to the testimony over the years.
Large numbers were present at the Missionary Exhibition held in Mackintosh Hall, and an overflow meeting at Tavistock Street Hall was necessary.
Attendances grew from 170 to 280 during Children’s Meetings at Fforestfach, Swansea, held by Hugh Thompson. Interest was shown and some speak of having been saved. A number continue at Sunday School and weeknight meetings. There have been some conversions in the branch Gospel work at Town Hill, Swansea.
A. E. Ward has visited Tonypandy, Porth, Treherbert, Nantgarw and Treorchy. At the last named two after-church services were held with good interest on the part of strangers. One person desired fellowship with the assembly and has since been received. For some time the saints there have been encouraged by seeing an interest in the Word by believers who are not in the assembly. During the past year seven have been added, while others have taken the initial step of baptism.
Our brother also visited the assembly at Mount Joy Street, Newport) for two weeks. There was a steady interest throughout and some testified that they had received definite blessing. One evening saw 200 old age pensioners present. W. A. N.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The extreme poverty in which some folk are living in the Republic is very distressing and Fred Pontin has come into contact with some typical cases. There are wives and children with little or nothing to eat, and lacking adequate clothing or bedding, because the little money available is misused. Another type of case is where the husband has gone off to England, deserting his wife and family. Our brother discovered a case in the latter category when visiting an address to which he had been sending literature for some time. The lady, who was obviously of good upbringing, would not ask for any help. Even where the need is genuine, it is not easy to help such people. How can one speak to them of the love of God and do nothing about their material circumstances? Yet how soon is it broadcast that the motive is ‘souperism’ - a bribe to get them to change their religion!
After a long absence from the work through illness Geo. Latimer is again able to undertake his part in proclaiming the Gospel. He and Mrs. Latimer have recently been visiting in country districts in the South of Ireland.
H. Winfield Graham is at present engaged in a second campaign in the mobile hall. Fair numbers of unsaved and a few Christians not connected with assemblies are attending. In the open-air work and at fairs in Co. Donegal he has been experiencing some opposition lately in the more backward parts. Our brother writes: In one town in which I had preached from time to time for almost five years, I was expelled somewhat violently. It is such a rough place that the Guards (police) cannot protect me, in fact they were beaten up the same day’. T. E. J. A.
The assembly in Cregagh Street Gospel Hall, Belfast) maintains a regular Gospel witness not only there but also in a comparatively new hall on a nearby housing estate. Recently they hired the Community Centre at another new housing estate for a three-week effort which was conducted by Wm. Bunting and E. Fairfield. Good numbers of the local people, who were not in the habit of attending Gospel Meetings, came and although no definite results were known during the meetings it has since been heard that some were saved.
A number have been saved also as the result of Gospel Meetings held by John Hutchinson at Dromore. They include an invalid woman who was unable to attend the meetings but who was visited regularly by the preacher. It is well over thirty years since he had his first meetings in the town and some are still in the assembly who were saved then.
J. G. Hutchinson has had one of the most encouraging Gospel efforts held in Holywood for many years. The meetings were postponed from last year as the evangelist was detained elsewhere at fruitful meetings and this resulted in a good deal of time being spent in prayer and preparation, the fruit of which was seen in the meetings right from the start. Some were saved and others already saved were added to the assembly. The closing meeting took the form of a baptismal service, at which tea was provided. During it, a middle-aged man, whose wife is in the assembly, professed.
T. Campbell and H. S. Paisley have had fruitful meetings for about two months at Ballymagarrick. The people attended well and there was a good interest. Some who had been the subject of much prayer have been saved. Our brother Campbell, although well over eighty years of age, is wonderfully well in body and is preaching nightly with freshness and power.
Good interest and blessing were also seen at special meetings held by Frank Knox at Ballywatermoy, Co. Antrim; W. Nesbitt at Drums allow, Co. Armagh; and R. Beattie and T. Wallace at Dunmullan, Co. Tyrone. J. S. W.
During the autumn Andrew K. Philip made a tour of several districts. He gave help in meetings at the week-ends but was mainly engaged in visitation and tract distribution, around Selivoe and in Scalloway, Hoswick and Bigton.
Cottage meetings have been held by John M. Smith, of Tasmania, in several localities adjoining the assembly meeting place at Selivoe. Attendances were exceptionally good and a marked interest was shown; it is felt that a definite work of the Spirit has been done. Similar meetings were held in Sandness, East Burrafirth and Mid Walls. The believers in the small assembly have been greatly uplifted and an increased interest in the usual meetings has been promoted.
At the time of writing John Burns is conducting a Gospel campaign, following extensive visitation of the villages of Hoswick and Sandwick. The response so far has been encouraging, despite very forbidding weather conditions and the prevalence of epidemics. J. H. Y. S.
A large company gathered at Port Seton to hear a tape recording by J. Donaldson of the life story of the late Jas. Lees, who laboured in Central Europe for many years. Lantern slides were also shown both of his early days in the Burnbank district of Lanarkshire, visiting miners’ rows and inviting the people to the meetings, calling them by their Christian names in his homely way; and of his travels by open cart in the snows of Eastern Europe and preaching through an interpreter.
Attendances were most encouraging during a series of Gospel Meetings at Buccleuch Hall, Dalkeith, conducted by J. Grant. On occasions the hall was filled to capacity and there is good reason to believe that some have discovered their need of the Saviour.
A special effort was made in the Gospel Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh, by A. Leckie, the first week being devoted to ministry which proved very stimulating and helpful, and the following two weeks to the preaching of the Gospel. Two women and a girl aged 16 professed faith in the Saviour and backsliders were restored.
during a series of Ministry Meetngs in Gospel Hall, Thornhill, F. Cundick gave appreciated help to large gatherings of believers Falkirk. His theme was ‘Fellowship’ in its various aspects affecting the Christian life. A. T. C.
Since the tent effort in Muirkirk ended, further souls have been saved - three of them in one week - at the regular assembly meetings.
Surprisingly large numbers attended meetings at Dundonald which were conducted by J. Milton and H. Davidson and some professed faith in the Lord Jesus. Our brethren have also held meetings for three weeks in Tarbolton, reputedly a hard place. The local brethren were pleased with the interest shown by the villagers.
Bute Hall assembly, Prestwick, has had a fortnight’s Gospel effort, Dennis Barnes being the evangelist. One teenage lad professed conversion and a middle-aged man, who had been quite bright in his youth but had backshdden deeply for years, was restored.
After meeting in a hired hall for most of last year, the assembly in Glenburn, Prestwick, has been able to occupy a new hall, built on the same site as the old one. A company of nearly 400 gathered for the opening Conference when A. Allan, W. Irwin and W. K. Morrison gave suitable ministry, both to those in the new Gospel Hall and to the overflow meeting in a hired hall. To encourage local people to come into the new building a week’s Gospel Meetings were held, conducted by A. M. S. Gooding and J. Hunter.
At Drummore Gordon Cardwell had services in the Gospel Hall after the tent meetings finished. He is now in the course of special weeknight Gospel Meetings at Newton Stewart and some interest is being shown. J. D.
Attendances were encouraging during a special Gospel effort amongst children and adults conducted by R. R. Walker at Bethany Gospel Hall, Crewe, and blessing was seen at the last meeting. Unconverted adults were present nightly, a number of them showing real
interest. There were two professions of faith in Christ and another testified to having received assurance of salvation A. C. H.
There has been a very small assembly at Stainforth, near Doncaster, for many years. Last summer blessing was seen during a tent campaign and the Lord has been pleased to give a reviving. Five adults made a profession of salvation in the tent. One of these, a young married man, was saved at the closing meeting, when he felt that it was the very last opportunity he would have. He has since brought his parents along to the regular Gospel Meetings. There was also some fruit amongst the children, and of the many who confessed Christ nine have continued at the Young People’s Meeting.
Before the tent effort there were nine in fellowship, now there are fourteen, five having obeyed the Lord in baptism recently. Interest in the meetings for prayer and Bible reading has been growing. Attendances at the Gospel Meetings have also increased from an average of twelve to over thirty, including several unsaved. H. R.
New children were added to the Sunday School at Windsor as the result of a Children’s Mission conducted by Don Meadows.
Following a tent campaign last summer at Abbots Langley, conducted by R. Whittern, when some young people professed faith in Christ, a weeknight meeting for them has been commenced in the home of a believer. It is being well attended.
Our brother was encouraged with the attendances at a Mission for children in Central Hall, Hemel Hempstead. A good number of parents were also present at the final meeting. A. C. H.
INTO THE NEXT TOWNS
Under this designation an effort was made last summer to encourage young men to help in the evangelization of some of the darker parts of South Wales and South-West England. Groups of varying numbers were formed in the counties of Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucester, Monmouth, Glamorgan, Carmarthen and Pembroke, under the leadership of experienced missionaries on furlough. Naturally, the methods adopted varied in the different areas, but bearing in mind the fact that the project was largely experimental the final results were regarded as most gratifying. In some areas there was much sowing and little reaping, but it is surely cause for thanksgiving that there was sowing where, in the past, there had been little, if any. In other areas, notably Monmouthshire, there was much preaching as well as much sowing. Perhaps the most encouraging things were, (a) that in some areas brethren were stirred up to arrange regular open-air meetings and house-to-house visitation in nearby villages and towns, and (6) that nearly one hundred young men from many parts of the United Kingdom were prepared to sacrifice most, and in many cases all, of their annual holiday to help spread the Gospel.
It is hoped that, as the Lord enables, a similar effort will be arranged next year.