The Teignmouth Gospel Hall
Teignmouth – popularly known as the Gem of South Devon, is in quite close proximity to the cities of Exeter and Plymouth. The chapel building that eventually became the Gospel Hall was built in 1790. George Müller in his autobiography writes, ‘1832. A few days after my arrival in Teignmouth, the chapel called Ebenezer was reopened and I attended the opening. With the help of my great friend Mr Henry Craik, I gained a much greater understanding of the scriptures and the will of God’.
During this period of learning in Teignmouth, George Müller realised that many preachers failed communicate the truths of the Gospel message and tended to read printed sermons which were often apologetic but lacking conviction and inspiration. Müller began to preach God’s word in a straight, dynamic and forthright manner and he was continually encouraged by the response of many listeners as well as an increasing number of conversions. Although George Müller became a pastor of Ebenezer he gave up having a regular salary and began looking wholly to the Lord for his needs and that of his family. His friend Mr Henry Craik moved to Bristol. A nearby assembly at Shaldon invited Müller to make the same move. Mr Müller felt this was a call was from God.
George and Mary Müller left Teignmouth for Bristol where God had an amazing plan prepared for his servant. (see article on George Müller in this issue of Precious Seed.) George Müller opened three large orphanages on Ashley Down, Bristol and received during his lifetime over £1,000,000, in answer to prayer without ever asking for funds which at today’s prices would be in excess of £75,000,000.
Eventually the building that would be a home to the assembly and known as Teignmouth Gospel Hall, was purchased from the Baptists. From such beginnings there was established a well-founded and soundly based assembly. A large Sunday School of seventy plus pupils was central to its testimony. When, during the second world war, the roofof the Hall was taken off they met in other places including for the Sunday School the kitchen of the local hospital.
After the war, the Sunday School recommenced at the Hall in Bitton Street but the one at the hospital still continued meeting. At one time there were seventy children at each venue. Eventually the council offered a plot of land in the new estate near the hospital for the rejection of a building for the work. This was at Coleman Avenue and remained unaltered for many years. Both halls thrived at firs but after the pattern of things since the war years attendances fell away. Eventually Coleman Avenue closed and then the Sunday School at Bitton Street closed also. The present assembly is a happy fellowship of likeminded believers working in the gospel with a strong women’s work. A weekly missionary workshop feeds a strong missionary interest and a coffee morning opens up worthwhile contacts in the community.
The Gospel Hall in Teignmouth still stands as a monument to the same faithful God that George Müller proved, and the believers who meet in it continue to work out the principles laid down in the New Testament. Two conferences are convened during the year, Missionary Conference and a Ministry Conference, with fifty to sixty attending. Regular gospel and ministry meetings continue, with quite a few ladies from the ladies hour attending the gospel meeting. Although there are not so many active saints, now, as in the past and some are in retirement homes, the Lord has been pleased to bless the work at Teignmouth for many years. Several brethren and sisters have been commended to God’s work, taking the gospel to far away lands such as Australia to work among the aboriginal people, South Africa, Nigeria, (translation work) and Canada (Postal Bible School). The assembly has been blessed with such godly couples as Mr and Mrs J H Large, and also Mr and Mrs Tom Allen, working full time in evangelism.
So we continue to go on, and take encouragement from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian believers as in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 verses 9-10, ‘For we are labourers together with God; ye are God’s cultivated field, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth on it. But let every man take heed how he buildeth upon it’.