Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
The believers meeting at Wellington Road, Hounslow, recalled with thanksgiving in October that their Lord had provided for their every need during the century that this assembly has been in existence. It had its roots in pre-1868 cottage meetings held in the home of the postmistress of that day. In 1917 the present site was occupied, and the work continued to flourish so that in 1935 the hall was packed by a Sunday School of some 250. Nowadays it numbers 100, one third being teenagers. Special centenary meetings were held, and this provided the opportunity for bringing the testimony to the notice of the public by means of an article in the local paper.
As we contemplate something of what has been accomplished over the years through a small work begun in faith, may we each be encouraged to persevere in seeking to build up that which is in accordance with the pattern of Scripture.
An open air Sunday School has been held in a bandstand during the past five summers by believers from South Park Chapel, Ilford. The youngsters are taught the Word just as in an indoor school, and some have trusted the Saviour and some joined the normal school. This work also provides openings with parents and other onlookers, and tracts are readily accepted.
During last summer many of the assemblies in the south of this county have been represented in the open air work on Ham Hill. This is a popular beauty spot and many people are to be found there. The Gospel was faithfully sent out over an amplifier and was listened to with respect, and in many cases with interest. Gospel literature was also well received. It is hoped that this work, which reaches folk from a wide area, may be extended next summer to Lord’s Day afternoons.
At the close of last summer’s work T. Blackburn made a pioneering visit to the large but rural village of Ipplepen. The campaign was not without difficulties - heavy rain caused flooding in the field where the tent was pitched, but in spite of this it was filled nightly. One morning the evangelist was confronted at the door of his caravan by a girl who wanted to trust the Saviour; before he left the village he was privileged to lead her mother to the Lord as well, and these were but two of a number who professed conversion. There is no assembly in Ipplepen, but a group of adults now meet for prayer and Bible study, and a weekly children’s meeting has been started. Prayer and practical fellowship is sought that the work that has begun may go on to the glory of God.
Readers may recall the report of the opening of the new hall at Plymstock, mentioned in last September’s issue. Since then the work has flourished, notably among children and teenagers. The assembly comprises but a few families, and there is much to be done, with few to do it. If the work continues to expand, humanly speaking it could be held up for lack of workers. So we are reminded again of the need for workers, not passengers, and that each should be exercised about his or her personal responsibility. The “pull” of large assemblies is often responsible for the unnecessary languishing of the work of God in a spot where pioneering is taking place. Believers too often prefer the cosier fellowship of a larger company nearby.
Penyrheol is the name of an estate of over 2,000 dwellings erected on the borders of Caerphilly after the last war. Gospel work began with tract distribution and open air witness, and a Sunday School was started with some 80 children in a room in the local school. A wooden building was then erected in which a Gospel witness has been maintained since 1960, with a well attended Gospel meeting and a weeknight meeting for young folk as well as the school. A number of young people have accepted the Saviour, and other believers have come to reside in the area. All concerned felt that the time had come for an assembly to be established according to the pattern laid down in the Word of God, and the believers commenced breaking bread together in October last.
Attendances were excellent at a Gospel campaign at Treboeth Hall, Swansea, conducted by R. Saunders, and blessing was seen amongst adults and teenagers.
The Postal S.S. continues to prosper. One young lady, herself saved through the postal lessons, led her young sister to the Saviour. They went to the summer camp, together with some of their friends, and at the end of that time four of the young lady’s friends had made professions of faith in the Saviour.
D. McMaster gave help in the ministry of the Word in some of the smaller assemblies in the Neath and Amman valleys, and this was much appreciated.
On his first visit to Liverpool, R. Walker conducted Gospel meetings in David Street Chapel. House to house visitation resulted in many unsaved ones attending the meetings and two made a profession. Thirty-five parents of the Sunday School scholars were present at a meeting arranged specially for them. Another evening was devoted to young people when the Gospel was presented to a large number.
Despite a decline in the numbers attending Sunday Schools in the area, believers at Wemeth Gospel Hall, Oldham, were encouraged recently when they launched their first ever mid-week children’s work. During the inaugural week almost 300 youngsters came under the sound of the Gospel and the Lord’s hand was clearly seen in blessing. A good number of these have continued to attend the weekly meetings.
There is a great need for making known the principles on which we gather together, for this can bring many more saints into the good of these things. The assembly at Rochdale arranged a meeting for ministry on this subject, and not only invited neighbouring assemblies but also believers who left one of the denominations last year. The good number who came were challenged by the ministry, and further meetings are proposed on the same lines.
In September last, believers commenced to gather together in assembly fellowship at Canning Road Chapel, Southport, the second assembly to be formed from the parent gathering in six months. The old Congregational building was purchased two years ago, and since then Gospel activities have been held for old and young, together with a weekly prayer meeting. Souls have been saved and several have been baptized, and this evidence of the blessing of the Lord has encouraged the believers to take this step of establishing a local testimony.
Central Lancashire is sparsely catered for as regards evangelical work of any kind, but the Lord has laid on the hearts of some the need for spreading the written Word, and during last summer over 150,000 pieces of literature were distributed. The work is continuing throughout the winter.
Last summer was the 69th season for the Manchester Village Workers, and further evidence of God’s blessing was seen as outlying areas and villages were visited with the Gospel. Some twenty-two areas were reached, and over 1,ooo tracts were personally distributed in each and open-air witness held, many contacts being established.
Some twenty-four assemblies were represented at a meeting in November held to commend J. Thomson to full time service. During the autumn our brother has held meetings in Fifeshire for both ministry and the Gospel and the small assemblies have been greatly benefited as a result.
R. Walker held a Gospel campaign in Cowdenbeath during the last two weeks in October. Invitations were given to each home in the town and unsaved folk were present each evening.
J. Campbell has been labouring in Cupar, the county town, where there is no assembly testimony. Meetings have been held in a portable hall and the sustained interest of the goodly numbers of unsaved who attended regularly encouraged the evangelist to continue his link with the town. The children’s work was also encouraging.
J. Aitken had a further month in Penicuik, East Lothian, where interest was evident. A feature has been the conversion of three generations in one home - grandmother, mother and daughter - the first being the last to accept the Saviour.
A brother and his wife in fellowship at Newton Stewart, but who live in Wigtown, arranged a month’s meetings for adults and children during October in their home town. The number who attended has encouraged them to apply for the use of a hall where Gospel services can be held.
A meeting to mark the opening of a renovated hall in Stranraer was well attended both by believers from other assemblies and townsfolk.
Inclement weather caused disappointing attendances at the campaign held in Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow, during October. A school hall was hired for some of the after-church rallies, but it was not until towards the end of the four weeks that J. Grant saw better numbers. One young girl made a profession of faith.
At Olivet Gospel Hall, Falkirk, all the meetings during the month of October were taken by believers in that assembly, and it was called an “At Home Mission”. Over 3,000 homes were visited beforehand with invitations to special evenings for young folk, older ones and women. The result was almost two hundred attending the Gospel Meeting. While there was only one definite profession of faith, the interest shown has been maintained with many coming to the meetings.
Several professed conversion during a special effort at Banbridge, Co. Down, which was taken by S. Thompson.
The assembly in Antrim town which for years has been small and found it difficult to bring people under the sound of the Gospel, hired a public hall where J. Hutchinson preached the Gospel for one week. Numbers grew to around 200 nightly, and although there were no known cases of conversion all concerned were encouraged.
J. Brown and A. Caulfield erected a portable hall at Omerbane, Co. Antrim, and preached nightly for nine weeks. Believers from around gave good support and numbers of the local folk came as well.
J. Martin had a portable hall built at the Grange and with E. Wishart held eleven weeks of meetings just where it was constructed. The hall was filled nightly and a good number professed conversion.
Finding it difficult to get many into the hall for the Gospel meeting the Glenburn assembly, Belfast, arranged for special meetings in the community centre hall. Fair numbers attended and the effort was encouraging.
R. McLuckie from Dublin had quite large and fruitful gatherings in the Ormeau Gospel Hall in Belfast, and all concerned were encouraged by a number of interesting cases of conversion. One was that of a young man who lived almost beside the hall and yet had but rarely been inside. He came, became interested and in the course of a few nights was saved. He then brought some of his friends and his mother also professed.
A. McShane had a week of well attended ministry meetings dealing with prophetic subjects at Annabann, Co. Down. The believers found the ministry both informative and practical.
Republic of Ireland.
Following the Bible exhibitions of last summer which proved so profitable, a stand was obtained at the International Education Exhibition in Dublin during November. Bearing the title “The Bible Teaching Centre”, this was visited by hundreds of priests and nuns during the five day period. Many new contacts were made and a number of old ones revived. Thousands of booklets and many Bible teaching aids were sold or given away.