Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
At the start of another year we would express our thanks to those brethren who shoulder the responsibility of obtaining the reports which appear in this section. We would also remind readers that the brethren whose names appear below are in no way responsible to the Committee of this magazine.
Open Air Work. An open air testimony was being held in a public park. During its progress an aged brother noticed two men who were listening, and he left the group and spoke to them. It transpired that each of them was conscious of a need and was seeking to find the answer. The contact was maintained and both have now accepted the Saviour.
In another town a young brother spoke to an elderly man who was standing some distance away, listening to an open-air speaker. He invited him to the local Gospel meeting, and he has attended every week since, there being evidence of the Holy Spirit working in his heart.
Dare we neglect such a means of reaching the masses? When the liberty to reach out with the Gospel has been maintained to us in this land, how shall we answer to the Lord if we turn our back on it?
Cumbria. The Risedale assembly, Barrow-in-Furness, arranged special Gospel meetings for two weeks in September which B. Deen was responsible for. These were aimed at both young and old. Attendances at the former were most encouraging, never falling much below two hundred. Four young girls made profession of faith in the crucified Saviour on the same evening.
Sadly the adult response was not so good despite the district having been well tracted. Although some interest was shown there were no known cases of conversion.
Somerset. The believers meeting at Bove Town Gospel Hall, Glastonbury, held three weeks of Gospel meetings during September, this being the first adult Gospel effort for many years.
The preacher was J. Smyth, and whilst the number of unsaved folk who attended was not spectacular there were some present practically every evening. A number expressed an interest in spiritual matters and all rejoiced at the conversion of a young lady in her mid-twenties.
As the workers moved from door to door it was evident that there was great indifference on the part of many to the Gospel. Yet this work proved fruitful, as usual, in that many contacts were made.
Leicester. At York Street Gospel Hall the first sustained Gospel campaign for some fifty years was held during September, the evangelist being J. Stubbs.
The believers worked well in the distribution of over six thousand tracts to homes within a one-mile radius. Special attention was given to newly-erected multi-storey flats within walking distance of the Hall. In addition wide publicity was given by means of both press and radio.
The response was most encouraging when one bears in mind the spirit of the age. During the week some ten to sixteen outsiders came in each night whilst on the closing Lord's Day evening nearly thirty were present. Open air meetings were held in the town square on each of the Lord's Days.
Genuine interest was stimulated and a few of those who came have since attended the regular Lord's Day Gospel meeting.
Norfolk. The East Anglian Gospel Tent has been in use since 1895, and for forty-three of these eighty summers G. Fenn of Norwich has used it for Gospel witness in Norfolk and Suffolk. Though still continuing in the Lord's service, our brother feels that the tent work should be handed over to a younger brother, and as a result C. Moore of Ipswich has been exercised to make use of the tent next summer. Our brother Fenn's last season was spent at Felthorpe, eight miles north of Norwich. This village had been visited with the tent fifteen years previously.
Each day a class was held for children where he sought to overcome the children's ignorance of the simplest of Bible stories. Constant visitation ensured the usefulness of holding adult meetings. The owner of the site where the tent was pitched was baptized in Costessey later in the summer. Our brother continues to labour in the village through a fortnightly cottage meeting.
Northern Ireland. The believers comprising the assembly at Shanaghan, Co. Down, were much encouraged by recent Gospel meetings conducted by E. Wishart and S. Thompson. Excellent numbers attended and there were several interesting cases of conversion, some young people and some older in years.
T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson preached for eight weeks at well-attended meetings in the Harryville Hall in Ballymena. There appeared to be a movement of the Spirit and quite a number professed faith in the risen Christ.
Annalong is a little fishing village in Co. Down. J. Flannigan and S. Jennings saw fair numbers during meetings which were rather difficult. While there was little to encourage, the incorruptible seed of the Word, which alone can be used to the salvation of a soul, has been faithfully sown.
D. Kane and W. Nesbitt preached in the village of Dollingstown, just outside Lurgan in Co. Armagh. Meetings were rather small and here also there was little to encourage.
A portable hall was used by R. Jordan and J. Wishart for Gospel meetings in Loughgall, Co. Armagh. Numbers were not really large but all were encouraged when one married woman told of her acceptance of the Saviour.
Yorkshire. Nearly four years ago the opening of a new hall at Skellow was reported in this section. It is good to know that the assembly has been richly blessed during the ensuing period. Believers have been added to the company, numbers in the Sunday School and Gospel meeting have increased, and there is now a need for an extension to the building. Recently a door was opened for a monthly service in a nearby home for elderly folk. The message has been well received and has awakened members of the staff to the things of God.
Cornwall. The small meeting in Bodmin held its first Missionary Conference last November. It was held in a public hall and good numbers attended both sessions. These included believers not in fellowship with the assembly.
At the beginning of November eight young men were baptized at the Gospel Hall, Saltash. Their exercise had been aroused during the visit of the Gospel Tent during last summer. It was an occasion of testimony and rejoicing as the Lord's heart was gladdened by their obedience.
We would pause to ask each reader if they have taken this first step in the Christian experience, of being publicly identified with Him in His death.
Here again there is a monthly outreach to the elderly folk. They are invited to a tea at the Hall which is followed by a Gospel message.
Mid-Scotland. A farewell meeting was held in Hebron Hall, Inverkeithing, in mid-November. A large company gathered to bid Godspeed to Mr. and Mrs. Burnett who have left to serve their Lord in the Argentine. Brethren from Bo'ness and Whitburn passed on words of encouragement and invoked the blessing of the Lord upon their labours.
J. Hay and J. Campbell used the Masonic Hall for special Gospel meetings in Thornhill, a little village some six miles away from Callander. The interest was encouraging; around sixty children attended nightly and the Parents' night, at the end of the five weeks, brought over thirty local folk to hear the Gospel. Up to twenty adults were present at their own meetings.
Believers from the small assembly at Bannockburn were exercised to be present as often as possible. This was a great help, especially on nights when there were only a handful of local folk present.
A few indicated that they had trusted the Saviour, and thus far their interest has been maintained. A weekly Gospel meeting is being maintained.
Southern Scotland. The assembly at Peebles, only recently gathered together, are erecting a new hall by their own labour.
There have been several efforts in the Gospel in Lanarkshire during the latter part of last year. In spite of good attendances there have been very few known conversions.
The believers at Newton Stewart and Stranraer have again seen strangers attending their Saturday night Gospel meetings which are held once a month.
P. Brandon was responsible for the Gospel campaign at Greenock last September. At least eight people realized their need as sinners of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and professed to have accepted Him for themselves. The ministry of the Word was challenging, reminding all that no believer should settle down to a comfortable existence.
As in the days past, godly living and personal contact will probably accomplish more than a great deal of talk.
Southern Ireland. Co. Cavan is very dark spiritually. J. Kells, J. Fulton and J. Hawthorne visited for seven weeks last autumn in the district of Billis. This is some three miles from the little town of Ballyjamesduff.
They were well received in Protestant and Catholic homes alike. Meetings were held in a mobile hall nightly, when up to thirty-five were present. Two special children's meetings were held, and on the closing night forty-five children and half as many adults attended.
It is felt that a foundation has been laid for future work. The nearest assembly is ten miles away at Stonewall, and consists of eight believers.
Wales. Gospel meetings in Cardiff led by R, McLuckie included personal contacts with the folk in the streets. These were invited in for coffee and for a talk on spiritual matters.
Reports of attendances at children's meetings in the area are encouraging. D. Hinchliffe and R. Spillard worked in the Swansea area among young folk and G. Morgan had good meetings in Loughor.