Reports from By-gone Days
Roy Hill, Bristol, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
The Reports Section has been running from the inauguration of the magazine and here is a selection of interesting Reports from ‘days gone by’.
From the very first edition of yhe magazine - 1945
1945 a brief survey of Cornwall, by Charles McEwan
During the past twenty to twenty-five years, many servants of Christ have visited Cornwall with tents and caravans. But the work on the whole has proved very hard and discouraging. The assemblies are few and small. Some have been closed, but on the other hand, there had been encouraging signs of progress. For some years believers met in the drawing room in the village of Charlestown, near St. Austell, and later in the home of Mr. George Wood at Slades, St. Austell. By 1924 numbers had increased and a Sunday School had been formed. It was decided to build a Hall and the following year Seymour Gospel Hall was opened at Slades. A few years ago a new Hall was opened at Falmouth, and there is also an assembly which meets in a hired Hall at Penzance. In addition, there are a few gatherings in private houses here and there. During quite recent months two new assemblies have been started. Believers at St. Ives obtained a Hall early in the year with accommodation for 100. In addition to the Sunday School about twenty gather to remember the Lord and about sixty attend the gospel service. More recently, friends at Newquay, who had been meeting a private house, secured a splendid Hall in the centre of the town. Twenty-one remembered the Lord. Cornwall is a large county, and much remains to be done. Nevertheless, these signs of progress encourage the hope that with the Lord’s blessing the labours of past years will yet bear abundant fruit.
John Dan Jones held a fortnight’s mission in Brynamon, preaching in Welsh. The Lord gave help and at the concluding meeting several adults confessed Christ. These Welsh meetings are characterized by great fervour and it is no uncommon thing for the services to start with 45 minutes prayer followed by 30 minutes hymnsinging after which the preacher takes over and continues until he has either exhausted his theme or exhausted himself. When the message is finished the congregation gives itself to prayer again for 30 minutes and sometimes a good deal longer. Mr. Jones was was able to enjoy some fellowship with Mr. Stan Ford at Penygros where he was able again to minister in Welsh.
The recent campaign, conducted by Mr. Harold German, in Lapford, Devon, was marked by a very real sense of the presence of the Lord from the very first meeting to the last. The gospel was presented clearly, definitely, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some nights the Hall was packed and on two occasions the side room had to be used. The prayer meetings were better supported than we have ever known. Three professed faith in Christ. Mr. Stan Ford of Bournemouth recently held a six-week campaign in North Devon dividing the time between Barnstaple and the neighbouring villages of Ashford and High Bickington. In Barnstaple the numbers grew in the large Public Hall until the floor and gallery were packed and forms had to be put in the aisles and many people had to stand. The meetings in the villages were naturally smaller yet there were exceptionally good attendances. There were many genuine conversions.
After much prayer and preparation a campaign was launched in Norwich under the leadership of Stan Ford, Bournemouth, and Handel Evans, Swansea. Factories, military and RAF establishments, hospitals, prisons and clubs were visited and some people professed faith in Christ. Attendance at St. Andrew’s Hall during the first week averaged 1000 and at a later meeting 1700 were packed into the Hall and 500 in an overflow meeting. For the last three nights there were long queues each side of the Hall. Over sixty professed faith and several were restored.
At Eastriggs, in Dumfries-shire, where the assembly consists of six sisters and one brother. John McNicholl, Glasgow, commenced with a fortnight’s effort amongst children. Within three nights the Hall was packed to overflowing. On the Saturday evening the local cinema was hired and up to 400 children and young people attended. The visit lasted three weeks and the Lord blessed when over thirty young people professed and also a few adults.
In Perth a fortnight’s special meetings for children were very well attended and there was much blessing. A considerable number of older children professed and our brethren (J. McNichol and J. Birmingham) also did good work at the various schools.
The assembly at Donegall Road Gospel Hall, Belfast, had an encouraging time during a special gospel effort conducted by J. G. Hutchinson. People came well and there was a good interest in the meetings which continued for two months. God gave blessing and fifteen professed faith in Christ. The Glengormley assembly on the outskirts of Belfast had six weeks gospel meetings with Harry Burness. Four young people connected with the Sunday School professed.
The meetings held by Bert Gray and others near Mizen Head, Co. Cork, continued for twelve weeks. Two professed to be saved and it is felt that much more has been accomplished than is known. A series of gospel meetings have been held in Dublin by Mitchell Kilpatrick. He was encouraged by the numbers. Frank Knox assisted for one week in faithful preaching and house-to-house visitation.
The gospel effort conducted by Robert Walker in Scalloway, Shetland Islands, continued for three weeks. The village was cut off from surrounding districts by heavy snow and the Hall was without normal lighting and heating on some nights when the electricity supply failed. Four professed conversion.
The largest meetings in the history of the assembly occurred during a visit by Peter Brandon to Prestwick, Ayrshire. While Bute Hall was large enough at the beginning the Town Hall was hardly large enough at the end. There were thirty professions of conversion. Four special addresses have been given in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, by F. A. Tatford. The first three were in Ebenezer Hall and the last was in the Town Hall and was attended by over 500 people. A new Hall has been opened by the assembly at Kippen Street, Coatdyke, Lanarkshire. About 500 were present for the opening conference and Dan Cameron conducted special meetings for children.
In Belfast a tent campaign by H. S. Paisley attracted large numbers, so that half way through the effort the tent had to be taken down and enlarged. A number professed to have found salvation including three who were on holiday from America and also a monk.
The Lanarkshire Tent was in Stonehouse. Four young people all found the Saviour while a young man from Glassford trusted the Lord in his home after being at the tent. His reaction to salvation was to turn out all his ‘pop’ records and burn them in the garden. He obviously realized that ‘old things were passed away’!
In June a Hall was opened on the large housing estate at Penyrheol in Caerphilly. This work was the outcome of tent meetings held by D. Hyslop in 1959 and the witness was continued by a few local believers first in a field and then in a room in a local school. Subsequently a portable bungalow was obtained and opened this summer. The school has increased so rapidly, up to eighty are now attending, that the hall has already had to be enlarged.
Most of us are familiar with parts of the Gospels, yet how often we lack a grasp of the overall pattern. With this in mind the assemblies at Hope Chapel and Helier Hall, Birmingham held a series of twenty-four meetings which were addressed by Dr. D. Gooding, his subject being the Gospel of Luke. The ministry proved not only expository but also devotional and challenging and resulted in a greater degree of fellowship among the city’s assemblies as over 100 gathered nightly.
Owing to redevelopment the assembly which met at Plantation Street, Glasgow, were forced to move to new premises in Harley Street built largely by their own efforts. The new building was opened with a conference at the end of December followed by the usual New Year meetings. J. G. Hutchinson started gospel meetings immediately thereafter and continued to early March. There was great interest in the locality and large numbers came nightly. Some of those who were saved have already expressed interest in baptism.
In N. Ireland S. Jennings was the preacher at special meetings in Oldpark Hall, Belfast. Fair numbers attended considering the Hall is not far from some of the trouble spots in the city. R. Beattie and J. Hawthorne had meetings at Dunmullan, Co. Tyrone, and the new Hall was packed to capacity nightly. A few professed salvation.
A two-week campaign was held in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, by B. Deen during March and was most encouraging. Up to 150 children listened intently for five nights each week and some fifty teenagers on the Fridays. The last night saw nine parents present and there was some blessing among the children.
John Baker had an encouraging tent crusade in Liverpool. At times 500 gathered in the 400-seater tent! The challenge of the gospel was faithfully given and at least two responded.
In Swansea, Wales, a regular witness is being maintained in the city shopping centre by young people from local assemblies. Many passersby stop to listen. The weekly witness of the Mobile Unit has recently encountered opposition but has also brought encouragement. The monthly Senior Citizens Meeting held at Fforestfach is creating a real interest. An average of 80 - 90 attend and listen to the message. The winter programme of services held in Eventide Homes is in full swing.