Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
“The Holy One.”
The prophet Isaiah lived during the reigns of four kings, some of whom were bad and some good. Yet his message was unchanging concerning the Holy One of Israel. All needed to realise their unfitness to enter His holy presence, their inability to attain to His holy standards. In the present day also, how necessary it is for the people of God to make much of His holiness and the sinfulness of man. The standards of men, even good men, may change, but God is the same from eternity to eternity. If the believer does not show forth the holy character of God, who will? Sunday School scholars need to be taught these great truths as much as older ones. Let each one of us seek by His help to discharge our individual responsibility in this matter.
On his first visit to Ireland B. Sutton ministered on church truth at Dundonald, on the outskirts of Belfast. This proved helpful and during the following Gospel effort God blessed His Word and some professed conversion.
In Holywood, just outside Belfast, J. Grant had a good series of Gospel meetings and here again there was blessing both to saved and unsaved. Also in Co. Down is the town of Newtownards which was the scene of a special effort taken by R. Jordan and J. Scott. Despite much visitation it proved difficult to obtain large numbers, yet several spoke of being saved, including some scholars from the school.
Some years ago believers in the assembly at Gransha became exercised about the need of Sheeptown, which although not far away had not been touched with the Gospel for many years. A portable hall was purchased and a work started among the children, and this proved a way of getting in touch with the people. J. Martin recently held special meetings for more than two months with the adults especially in mind; there was quite a good interest and some professed conversion.
In the heart of Co. Down, set on a hill, is the Shanaghan Gospel Hall, where for many years the assembly has prospered. The annual children’s tea is an event looked forward to in the district as some three hundred parents and children gather for the prize distribution. T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson commenced Gospel meetings following the tea, and these were well attended from the start, a number making a profession of salvation.
J. G. Hutchinson was also responsible for a Gospel series in Daventry during September. Interest shown by several unsaved encouraged the company of believers. Informal house meetings were arranged on several afternoons and proved to be a most effective way of reaching friends and neighbours with the Gospel. A final week of ministry dealing with truths concerning the assembly was much appreciated.
At Corby special meetings were taken by A. Jones of Trinidad and good numbers attended. A young Roman Catholic man was saved and the believers were both refreshed and encouraged.
Now is the time to be seeking the Lord’s will concerning activities to be undertaken next summer to spread the news of the Saviour. Notes on a holiday Bible Club held at Allestree, Derby, last summer may show one means that we could use.
The scheme was the outcome of an exercise to provide something for the children during the summer holiday. Owing to the brief time for preparation in this case, it was not possible for any of the brethren to re-arrange their holidays to coincide, so the work was carried out by four sisters, housewives, and four young members of the assembly who were on school holidays. Valuable help was also given by sisters from neighbouring assemblies and one of the brethren took an hour off each afternoon to give a Gospel message. The pupils were divided into two groups, one of which received its lesson while the other played games, and then they all assembled for the message. There was an average attendance of seventy-five, many of them not attending any Sunday School. For one week at least they all received sound Gospel teaching.
Opportunities for Gospel meetings in Bigton and district are largely due to the testimony and efforts of S. Cheyne, recently called to be with the Lord. Are our lives resulting in the furtherance of the Gospel?
On the West Mainland, J. Burns had well attended cottage meetings, and D. Hogg held encouraging gatherings for youngsters in Lerwick.
At Cowdenbeath the believers were exercised about holding special Gospel meetings, but found that none of the evangelists they contacted was available. It was decided therefore that local brethren gifted in this way should be responsible. The interest shown was most encouraging, unsaved being present each night and the series was extended for a further week as a result.
Often we associate fewness of numbers with rural assemblies, yet there are many large towns or populated areas of cities where the gatherings are small. There has been a testimony in Rochdale for a long time, but the burden falls on just two brethren and a number of faithful sisters. They were encouraged some months ago by the baptism of several converts.
There are even fewer saints in fellowship in the Middleton assembly at Boarshaw which was commenced in 1953. Earlier last year the believers had fixed a date for discontinuing the testimony, but have felt the Lord guiding them to continue.
Within the bounds of Manchester itself there are at least two very small gatherings, at West Park Street, Salford and at Eccles. The former is situated in a strong Roman Catholic area where work among adults has been very hard, but many thousands of children have passed through its doors. The whole area is soon to be demolished and the future of this assembly is doubtful.
Crete Hall, Anfield, Liverpool, was the venue for meetings taken by D. Iliffe which proved profitable. On the final evening over two hundred youngsters were present with nearly half that number of adults. Teenage meetings were also held when many made enquiry concerning salvation.
Unsaved from the area heard the Gospel preached by S. Ford in a special campaign which followed the opening of a new hall at Treboeth, Swansea. Attendances were good when the same evangelist was at Mackintosh Hall, Cardiff, and several professed faith in the Saviour.
Since last May a band of workers from Edinburgh and district assemblies have visited Penicuik twice monthly on Saturdays with the Gospel. Literature was left in a thousand homes each month and many contacts were made. Afterchurch services were held each Lord’s Day during October in a hired hall, when J. Aitken had the joy of preaching to an audience of one hundred and thirty including many unsaved from the town. One young woman was saved and another restored. Monthly meetings are planned for the winter and then during the spring a special effort will be made.
S. Thompson of Belfast visited Roman Road Hall, Motherwell, for an effort in the Gospel for fourteen days in September. Two weeks of special prayer meetings and house to house visitation resulted in unsaved souls being present every evening and two of these made a profession of salvation.
At Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, the believers are holding special Saturday evening Gospel services during which tea is served. This has resulted in some of the townspeople attending.
In Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, the saints hold a monthly Gospel rally during the winter months in an endeavour to reach out with the Word of Life. The first of these was most encouraging as a number of unsaved and some from local Churches attended.
Republic of Ireland.
S. Patterson has been holding Gospel meetings at Stonehall, Co. Sligo, where a local brother held occasional meetings for a number of years. Recently interest has been shown in the study of the Word of God by some who believe in the Saviour. To help them, the evangelist and his wife hope to remain in the district for some time in the will of the Lord.
J. Tait and D. Stevens hope to continue working in Galway during the winter months. They are visiting contacts made during the summer, holding open-air meetings and visiting fairs with a literature trailer. The counties in the west, which to a large extent have been neglected in the past, are now having an opportunity to hear the Word of God.
Mobile Unit Work.
Workers with the North-West London unit held an “At Home” in October when, together with interested friends, they gathered at Belmont Hall, Harrow. Slides of workers in action were shown after tea, and all were encouraged to hear of some souls that had been saved as a result of unit work. Five young brethren told of how they had been aroused from spiritual lethargy into activity for Christ, and how work with the unit had taught them much in the ways of presenting the Gospel to young and old. Finally as the Word was ministered all were brought face to face with the individual believer’s responsibility to evangelise, and at the same time reminded of the ample resources that dwell in our Risen Lord.
East Anglian Gospel Tent.
Mr. George Fenn of Norwich pitched this tent on the outskirts of Thetford, Norfolk, during the last summer, and local believers helped in the distribution of 2,000 invitations. Uninvited, a newspaper reporter obtained an interior photo of the tent and information about the work, and this was published in the local paper. The interest in the children’s meetings was such that the work continued during the summer holidays, and a Sunday School was commenced and handed over to the local believers. At the invitation of the headmaster, the evangelist was able to address 450 children and staff at the secondary modern school. He visited nearly all the 4,000 houses in Thetford, and believes that opportunities for conversation on the subject of salvation were greater than during previous summers. He also gained access to the club room for elderly people, where the message was listened to. Our brother maintains regular cottage meetings in Banham where the tent was pitched during the previous summer.