Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
During a tent campaign last summer a young brother brought a bus full of workers from all parts of the factory where he was employed on at least three occasions. Does this challenge us?
Another correspondent wrote that it was noticed with joy that the younger believers in his area were showing an increased interest by their presence at the prayer meeting. Is this also a challenge to us?
Believers from far afield as well as from local assemblies were among the fifty who attended an all-day teach-in held at Singlewell Road Gospel Hall, Gravesend in November. During each of the three sessions addresses were given by G. Harpur and W. Vellacott followed by a period for questions. The fundamentals of preaching were dealt with by subjects - the background of and preparation for preaching; preparing the message, and delivering the message. Many spoke of the benefit that they had derived from this day, but some disappointment was felt by those responsible that young believers had not been represented more strongly.
P. Brandon was responsible for two weeks of meetings at Belmont Hall, Harrow, during October, the first week being for children. For the eighteen months prior to this crusade the believers had been busy visiting over two thousand houses in the vicinity every three or four months with leaflets, inviting questions and enquiries. These were followed in September with a special leaflet advertising the crusade.
Nearly two hundred children were present each evening and listened attentively as the evangelist told of our sinful nature and need of salvation. At a special meeting arranged during the second week for those youngsters who were particularly interested, twenty asked for a Gospel and gave their names and addresses. Some children who had not previously attended are now coming to Sunday School.
Numbers were not very large at the adult meetings but the believers rejoiced to know of five who made a profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Another man, who lives in central London, went out under conviction after a long talk with the speaker.
Five “coffee mornings” were held in the homes of believers when much interest was aroused amongst neighbours.
C. Goldfinch was responsible for two weeks of meetings at Uxbridge during November. Although attendances were disappointing unsaved were present each night. A young married couple came in as a result of the invitations before the campaign commenced; the husband was saved during the meetings and both were baptised and received into fellowship. An impression has been made on the neighbourhood which it is hoped to foster and from which results are still looked for. Informal meetings in schools and offices also left a deep impression.
The assembly at Sutton Coldfield first met thirty-five years ago in a little “tin tabernacle”, which was demolished in 1964 by the local council to make way for shops and flats. For a time the believers met in a sports pavilion and then hired a local hall for their gatherings. In February of last year the construction of their new hall was started on land leased by the corporation, and this building was opened last September. The believers only number just over twenty, but have already been encouraged by the growth in the Sunday School and the number of the residents from around who have come in to the various meetings.
Children gathered nightly at Duncan Road Hall, Swanwick, for two weeks at the beginning of October to listen to A. Blackburn. Over one hundred and fifty attended and in addition he was able to speak at two local schools. On the Lord’s Days parents were invited and the hall was packed, and as a result many unsaved have come to the normal Gospel meeting.
Five professed faith in the Lord Jesus during meetings taken by H. Burness at Hamilton, Lanarkshire. Two of these were women of over seventy years of age. The adult gatherings were well attended and those for children filled to capacity.
The Lord’s hand was also seen in blessing during a visit of three weeks to Stonehouse made by R. Jordan. Although he was far from well he was enabled to preach each evening, and only on one night were there no unsaved present. One man was saved and a backslider received back into fellowship.
Renfrewshire. Special meetings for the ministry of the Word at Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow, taken by A. Leckie, had as their subject the Church. A good measure of interest was maintained throughout.
It is incumbent on those responsible for the welfare of an assembly to ensure that all the believers are taught from the scriptures as to the grounds upon which they gather to the Name of the Lord.
Dunbartonshire. The believers at Helensburgh hired the local cinema last autumn for a special Gospel meeting when nearly four hundred were present, including many strangers.
A fortnightly Gospel rally held at Miller Street, Clydebank, is always preceded by an open air testimony, an example that could profitably be copied in many other places.
The neglected book of Leviticus was taken up by E. Grant during two weeks of ministry at Alexandria, when good numbers were encouraged in the contemplation of “things concerning Himself”.
Wigtownshire. The monthly Gospel service on Saturday evening at Newton Stewart has attracted considerable numbers. Believers from Ayrshire have given much help in these.
Ayrshire. Following a period of interest in their Gospel meetings which was as great as had ever been experienced, the little assembly at Catrine held a Gospel effort in December. Here also a Saturday evening Gospel meeting is now held.
The assembly at Girvan recently had the joy of seeing the conversion of a young married man. Brought up in a Christian home he had left to be married while still unsaved. In Girvan he was befriended by one of the believers who persuaded him to attend the Gospel meeting where he was converted. This should encourage those believers with children away from home still unsaved to continue praying for their salvation.
Stirlingshire. The first Gospel campaign has been held in the new Hermon Gospel Hall, J. Campbell of Perth being the preacher. There was a good reception as homes in the area were visited with Gospel literature and invitations, and although many were Roman Catholics they were willing to listen and to allow their children to attend the meetings. The hall was nightly filled with youngsters, and as a result there is to be a weekly meeting for them in future.
Amazing scenes were witnessed at a children’s mission taken by R. J. Whittern at Crete Hall, Donaldson Street, during October. On the first night the main hall was filled with some four hundred and fifty youngsters and still a large number remained waiting outside. The adjoining hall was then opened and this too was filled by a further one hundred and fifty. This attendance continued, the young believers being responsible for the overflow meeting. During the two weeks over nine hundred children came at least once, and a goodly number were able to repeat perfectly the words of Scripture that they had been taught.
A weeknight meeting for children has been recommenced after a long lapse by the tiny assembly at Boarshaw, Middleton. Two believers from neighbouring assemblies who have been assisting in the Sunday School gave support to the local believers. Despite torrential rain on the opening night seventy-four children crowded into the hall. This greatly encouraged those who had struggled hard for several years to maintain the testimony.
The faithful witness of believers in some of the small assemblies in Carmarthenshire has been honoured in recent months. Blessing on the meetings at Trimsaran conducted by P. Harding and at Tycroes through a special effort taken by D. Tucker has given encouragement. A young man professed faith in the Saviour through the coffee bar work at Mumbles near Swansea.
Republic of Ireland.
Alarming changes are rapidly passing over the Republic. Once the bastion of Roman Catholicism, it is now being attacked by more than six hundred missionaries of ungodly cults, while Communism and drugs are engulfing thousands of young people. In the midst of these overwhelming forces of evil the Lord has enabled a few of His servants to continue to spread over a considerable area of this land the glorious Gospel of God concerning His Son.
The enemy comes in like a flood, but the Spirit of God raises up a standard against him. By the Lord’s help the Gospel has been proclaimed in the open air in some fifty-two towns in the Province of Leinster, South-East Munster and South Connaught. Over three hundred clear Gospel messages have sounded out, while some sixteen thousand tracts and twenty thousand copies of Gospels were offered and received by the people. Many valuable contacts were made; some professed faith in Christ and follow up work is now in progress.
Prayer would be valued for the establishment of an assembly in the far west. “Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Open air work.
It is not too soon to be concerned about the work that the Lord would have us to do next summer in His will. The two following reports may help some to decide about the sphere in which they should serve.
The Manchester Village Workers have now completed their sixty-seventh season of summer witness and have visited twenty-two small towns and villages in the area around Manchester and Salford. About fifteen brethren travel by van and having tracted during the afternoon hold an open air witness for two hours in the early evening. Genuine interest has been evident in that some have written to the address given on the tracts.
The Tyneside Open Air Workers started in 1945, when several brethren were exercised about the lack of such a work in that area. From that time until the present day the Word has been preached in the open air on Saturday evenings, winter and summer alike. At first the workers used public transport or bicycles, but subsequently motor transport has been acquired which has enabled the Gospel to be carried further afield. As the years have passed and some have passed into the presence of their Lord the number of workers has fallen, due apparently to the lack of interest. How shall they hear without a preacher?
For many years the assembly in the little fishing village of Portavogie Co. Down has maintained an active Gospel testimony and recently God has again been pleased to give blessing during special meetings conducted by A. Lyttle and J. Brown. Good numbers attended nightly and several professed salvation.
J. Martin and D. Goodwin had meetings for nearly three months with the little assembly at Ballyhay. In this part of the countryside it has been difficult to get folk in but on this occasion there was a fair interest and a little fruit was seen.
Some miles across country S. McBride and J. Grattan preached in the small town of Killyleagh. The assembly is small and all concerned were encouraged to know of a little blessing.
The assembly in Antrim town has been small for many years and has found it difficult to reach local folk. However the town is increasing in size and new folk have come into fellowship. Special Gospel meetings were taken by J. Finegan and A. Aitken when numbers were fair and a little blessing was seen.
R. Beattie and J. Hutchinson preached for seven weeks in Wellington St. Hall, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Attendances were the best for years with a good number of young unsaved people nightly, mostly from families connected with the assembly. Quite a number made professions of faith in the Saviour.
The assembly in Bloomfield Hall, Belfast, was encouraged by special Gospel meetings taken by S. Thompson. During the meetings a young brother in the assembly, was fatally shot while on duty with the constabulary. Great crowds gathered for the funeral which made a profound impression on the district. Several of the goodly number that attended spoke of accepting the Saviour.