Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Power belongeth unto God", Ps. 62.11.
To read reports of labours in the gospel is a comparatively easy exercise. The news of things that God is doing can be fascinating and also brings out praise to the Lord. Yet which of us really knows the extent of the challenge that is presented to the powers of darkness by every faithful witness to Christ and His power to save ? For Satan is strong, and his forces are continually marshalled to hinder the progress of the work of God. Without doubt, many of God's servants often cry, "Who is sufficient for these things ?". Power, the power that is suitable and sufficient to save and to satisfy men, comes from God alone. He is sufficient. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," says Paul, "for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth", Rom. 1. 16. We continue to pray that this power shall be manifest as the work of God goes forward. The fellowship of so many in sending in regular reports is much appreciated. Many parts of the British Isles are now being covered. You may have noticed that your area is not appearing in the news and wondered why. We depend upon believers to send in collected information of assembly activities and perhaps you could help in this matter. It is our prayer that together we shall stimulate interest in and prayer for the Lord's work in our land.
Ireland. At Grosvenor Hall, BELFAST, the Easter Conference was excellent. Over four days ministry of the Word and reports of the Lord's work at home and abroad were given. Numbers exceeded all expectations, as the troubled conditions in the city have affected conference numbers badly. Encouragement was given to all. In the gospel hall, BALLYKEEL (Clogher), J. Brown and J. Lennox held meetings, and S. Jennings and E. Wishart had gatherings in the gospel hall at BANBRIDGE. Both series of meetings had blessing as people came to Christ. In MONEYREA, Co. Down, J. Thompson and K. Duff had blessing in meetings held there. A man who has been under deep conviction since his brother, a very respected overseer, was tragically called home in a road accident, came to the Saviour and since then his youngest daughter has been saved.
Good numbers are reported in a campaign held by J. Hutchinson at DROMORE Co. Down. Also in a portable hall at DUNADRY, Co. Antrim, two businessmen, J. £t B. Graham, have each night seen good numbers in their meetings. Much encouragement was given to a small assembly at KILLYCURRAGH recently by a well-attended series of gospel meetings. J. Law and M. McKillen motored over 30 miles nightly for six weeks after business to preach the Word in this country district. The neighbourhood was visited, and God gave good interest as folks came in who had never been in before. A number showed concern and some professed faith in Christ. J. Martin had meetings in a portable hall at LISNAHALL, Co. Tyrone. Attendances were good and continued nightly for twelve weeks. Good interest was seen and some professed Christ including one woman who had been the subject of many prayers. In the work of evangelism the vast resources of divine power are tapped.
Isle of Man. News of a movement in this Island. With the approval of the ONCHAN assembly a chapel in the south of the Island has been purchased with a view to evangelizing the area and establishing a local assembly. The chapel is being equipped with various amenities to the furthering of making personal contacts. This is a venture of faith, and the prayers of all are asked that the work may be established. There is also a call for any who could help in personal visitation or general assistance in the work. Further information will be given by F. A. W. Payne, 30 Bally-killowrie, Colby, Isle of Man.
Scotland. Baptism is an open testimony to the inward work of God's salvation. T. Aitken reports that there have been a number recently in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Glasgow who have obeyed the Lord in this way. Here is an interesting incident. A young man, baptized at DUMFRIES, phoned home to enquire about his unsaved parents who were at the baptism. Imagine his joy when he learned that his father had trusted Christ. Pray for the other members of his family. J. Aitken had good meetings in MOTHERWELL both in Ebenezer and Forgewood. The going was especially hard at Forgewood. But our brother's mailing list is growing, and at times one and another are heard to have trusted the Saviour. A pleasing feature of the work carried on at MOTHERWELL by J. Spiers during April was a meeting in the common room of the "high towers". Thirty people from the towers came each week to hear the gospel. In another tower the work was stopped because other folk wanted to use the common room. One of Satan's hindrances I Good meetings were held at FORTH with R. Walker. Many homes were open to visitation. As the result of the invitation of a warden of a little "Sheltered" housing scheme a fortnightly meeting is held in the community centre. A week's meetings helding LANARK'S new hall proved profitable in getting a number of the people around the hall to come and hear the gospel preached.
At SAN DEN D during March, F. Reid held meetings with the local assembly. The response was good and the saints were encouraged to see a mother and her son trust in Christ. Ian Munro visited the ISLE OF LEWIS for the month of March helping in the assembly at STORNOWAY. Despite the strong religious tradition in the island, believers were cheered with the good response of the locals. Some who had opposed the assembly openly in the past came to the meetings. This is the only assembly in the western isles and prayer is desired as the numbers are small. In MARYBURGH, G. Meikie, joined later by F. Reid, commenced with the portable hall. Support was good from the believers there, but there was little response from the village folk. In the Femielea assembly, ABERDEEN, Jack Hay and John Campbell gave help for four weeks in April. Door-to-door visitation resulted in good general interest. One young couple waited behind on each of the three last evenings but no profession was made. The couple continue to come to weekly gospel meeting and need prayer. The assembly at FOR RES, prior to their annual conference, held four special Sunday meetings with set subjects, in an attempt to rouse an interest in the gospel. Joe Merson preached and there were unsaved people present who had never been in before. It was a worthwhile effort. The five small assemblies in MORAY and NAIRN make use of the summer months to hold open-air meetings on Friday evenings. This gives a united witness and reaches out to towns and villages where is found no assembly witness.
A four weeks' Gospel campaign was held in March at SALTCOATS, Ayrshire, by Stewart McKenzie. The interest was good, and during the campaign a young man of 25 and a ten-year old boy trusted the Lord for salvation. A married woman was restored to the Lord after a long while of backsliding. Since the campaign a special series of simple ministry meetings has been arranged for the benefit of converts and those showing interest. These have dealt with subjects such as baptism, breaking of bread, etc., and interest has been encouraging. This is a reminder of the need, not only to see folks converted, but established in the truth as well.
North-East England. The assembly in MIDDLESBOROUGH moved into a new hall in 1976. This meant moving from an area where they had been for many years. The challenge of the new environment has been faced by the assembly and a bright and vibrant testimony among the locals has been established. Many useful contacts have been made through various forms of outreach, These include door-to-door visitation, tract distribution, and open-air meetings. An "open week" at the hall, when neighbours could come in and have a look round to view a display of gospel literature and missionary work, proved helpful. A three weeks' campaign was held in March with N. Mellish. The children's meetings were well attended and a number of teenagers showed a real concern to understand the gospel.
The assembly at NORTH SHIELDS held a campaign for two weeks in April with J. Flannigan of Belfast. Visitation led to well supported meetings, and strangers were present throughout. A Christian couple, Anglicans for about three years, were brought along by a couple from a local assembly. They were most impressed by what they heard and said that they had never heard the gospel so preached. Discussion on baptism and fundamental truths have followed. Prayer is asked for this couple that full light may be theirs regarding New Testament church principles.
North West England. At BLACKPOOL a short but stirring campaign was held by J. Smyth. Many gathered to hear the Word of God and much interest was shown during door-to-door visitation. On the first night a man and his wife were saved and during the campaign three children of parents in fellowship accepted Christ. Believers were revived and given encouragement. Further signs of blessing have since been seen. A special effort was conducted by J. Baker at Bright Road, ECCLES, during February. One week was spent in house-to-house visitation. The second week, special gospel meetings were held in the hall with unsaved present each night. A good response was seen in the young people's meetings. No visible fruit was seen but prayer continues for the work. Special meeting were conducted by David McMaster at Mauldeth Road, WITHINGTON, Manchester. House-to-house visitation preceded the campaign and strangers responded. Children's meetings could have been better attended, but five children have since joined the Sunday School. During the three week campaign on each Wednesday, Senior Citizens were brought from the old folks Home for a tea and special gospel meeting. In Beulah Hall, OPENSHAW, D. Mcmaster held two weeks' meetings—the area where he laboured in the Tent last year. Good meetings were held with the children and a number of mothers came regularly to the meetings. One lady, brought in from another district, accepted the Saviour. Some of the unsaved who came continue to attend the gospel meeting. We can pray that eventually they will find the Saviour. News comes in of the Liverpool assemblies Winter Rallies held at Bethany, HUYTON. Attendances were good and the ministry was helpful. These ended with a good Merseyside Easter Conference. In March a most encouraging campaign was held at HUYTON with J. Clunas. There were six known to have trusted Christ. Two young ladies have recently been baptized. They are now in fellowship in Bethany Hall. A two weeks' campaign at Crete Hall, LIVERPOOL, was encouraging with Bob Watson. At least one came to Christ.
Midlands. From Ruth Bourne, BIRMINGHAM, comes further news of work among immigrant population. Each morning during the Easter holidays a morning Bible Club was held in the community centre (which is mainly used to give Koranic teaching to the local children). An eleven year old girl was clearly saved. She was a Muslim and had first been contacted last August in a holiday club. She needs very much our prayers with others, who find hostility from non-Christian religion. There could be violent opposition to this girl's testimony from her family. A visit was made to Gloucester prison by J. Hall. Good attention was given by the men as the Easter message was presented to them. One man wrote a poem expressing their appreciation for bringing Christ to them in prison. There was a hunger to talk over spiritual matters. One man expressed a desire to be a Christian but could not give up his wicked ways. This is a work calling for much prayer, as much wisdom is needed by those who visit the prison regularly. A regular visit is made to the prison by R. Chilvers, the Counties Evangelist.
London Area. Some news is to hand of the work of the South- East London Mobile Unit. There are matters for praise ! Contact was made last October with a mother and her daughter at LEWISHAM. Eventually, after the workers had. prayed much for them, they came to Christ and on the first Sunday in April they were baptized at Brook Lane chapel. They need our prayers. Some four years ago, a lady was given a gospel tract. She has been attending Loughborough Hall and has now accepted the Saviour. It was a joy to witness her baptism. Conversions take time, yet how we can praise the faithfulness of our God ! There has been encouragement in the matter of new workers. A number of young people have joined the teams particularly on the first and second Sundays of the month. Some are quite young in the faith and need prayer for strengthening and teaching. The Annual Report Meetings were well attended. There was a deep sense of God's goodness as the work was reviewed. W. Galyer followed the reports with ministry of the Word. An outreach with P. Lambert at THAMESMEAD was undertaken on Good Friday morning and Easter Saturday afternoon. About eight hundred homes were visited or tracted as seventeen workers laboured together.
South of England. At Florence Street, SWINDON, special children's meetings were held with Philip Lambert. About forty-five children attended nightly. A Senior Citizen's tea was held at which about sixty heard the gospel following a special tea laid on for them. Each went away with some gospel literature. Several children made professions of faith in Christ. A lady who came to the hall as a result of literature distributed in the area accepted the Saviour. We can pray for the work of this assembly which is situated in the older part of the town. News comes from the small village of EAST COKER, Somerset. At the gospel hall there has been encouragement with the women's work. Numbers have doubled in the last twelve months, and many of the women who attend do not go to any other place of worship. Many have given their testimony, having become Christians many years ago. Several have been Sunday School pupils who now, as life's journey nears its end, have time to hear the gospel and enjoy the friendship of other Christians. Coffee Bars have been organized by the young people of the assembly. Help has been given by groups from various towns around, and several unsaved have felt the challenge of the message and accepted Christ. This work has drawn the young people closer together and they have regularly met for prayer and Bible study. Resulting from this a weeknight meeting for village children has begun with a good response. An interesting feature of this is that none of the children attend the Sunday School: A small assembly—an active interest in village needs—a work for God. We can help them with our prayers.
A regular work continues at TRICKETTS CROSS in the hired Community Hall on the estate. Numbers of children attending the meetings increase each time. The first monthly family service saw the hall nicely filled, with some twenty people off the estate there. Much prayer is needed that the Lord will raise up some who will take care of this work. A two-week mission was held at Drummond Hall, BOSCOMBE, with Stephen Gillham. Few children live in the area but a good time was had with about thirty-five who came to special meetings. Some adults were present at the adult services and family service. The fellowship with the believers was fine. Much prayer is needed for follow up.
South Wales. The first Missionary Conference for many years was held at Mountjoy Street, NEWPORT. This was arranged by the Newport Missionary Trust with its object of stirring up interest in the field, Speakers were J. Baker, South Wales; Martin Baker, Eastern Europe; A. Gray, Ireland. Interest was good although numbers could have been better. At ABERGAVENNY the evangelist booked for the campaign could not be there. Frank Lonney stepped in at short notice to take the two weeks' meetings. The campaign began with a visit by the Swansea Mobile Unit and open-air meetings were held in various parts of the town. Several who had never been to the hall before came in. Arrangements sometimes fail but often God's providence is seen in these things.
News from F. Lonney tells of an open door for evangelism in BRECON. During the winter months in a hired room, children's meetings were held for two weeks in fellowship with a couple who live in the town. Visitation work continues and a weekly children's meeting is held with numbers and interest being maintained. With no assembly in the town there is a great need. We can pray that further outreach will bring blessing. During return visits to Mid-Wales during winter months it has been possible to give encouragement to the girl and young lady who came to know the Lord last year. Their homes are open to Christians who visit, and prayer is being earnestly made that they will continue with the Lord in spite of difficult circumstances and no assembly fellowship.
West Wales. In fellowship with assemblies in Corby (Northants), Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, Mr. C. Ruddick is moving to NEWQUAY, Dyfed, thereby enabling an assembly to be established in that town with a few resident believers previously meeting with the assembly in Aberystwyth. Meetings from July 2nd in the Memorial Hall will be: The Lord's Supper, 10.30 a.m., Gospel Meeting, 6.30 p.m. Visitors to the area will be welcome. Correspondence to Mr. C. Ruddick, c/o Pantycoliman, Maen-y-Groes, Newquay, Dyfed.
Cornwall. At FOWEY a Mini Bible Study week-end was held in May. About thirty young people attended. Studies were led by P. Hocking, Cardiff. Studies in the book of Jonah proved helpful and profitable as a basis of method in study.
A baptism in a river Una river on Bodmin moor an eighteen-year old young lady was baptized having been saved at Cullompton last year. The work at BODMIN continues to grow and plans for the building are now being drawn up. The young people continue to be active in the local comprehensive school, being responsible for a midweek gospel meeting. A week-end "Teach-in" was held at CARBIS BAY by J. Hadley and proved to be a happy and profitable time. Encouraging news from ST. AUST-ELL. A young woman has recently been saved after been introduced to the meeting by one of the young people. She sought for some time to "rationalize" the gospel, but eventually received Christ. Seeking ended in surrender! A young lad of twelve years came in off the streets and heard the gospel. He came to mid-week meetings and eventually found the Saviour. Problems could arise as his mother has to do with Jehovah's Witnesses. He needs our prayers. A woman, well over 70, who was saved some six years ago, has asked for baptism. She felt that she was not right for a long time but now has decided she must obey the Lord. When her daughter visits from Australia she will be baptized. Here are three instances of the power of the Holy Spirit at work and make a fitting end to our report. God is at work—people are finding Christ—scriptural patterns are being followed to the glory of His Name.
The Church Age: An Outline of Church History, by A. E. Horton. $1 -25 or 60p plus 10% postage. 48 pages. From Everyday Publications, Toronto, Canada, or Roy Wood, 94 Alma Rd., Plymouth, U.K.
Writing in simple style, the author states clearly that faithful believers as well as Christendom are under discussion. Those who have never read anything about Church History will profit from this book, showing how truth stands out in a sea of error. Seven chapters deal with the apostolic age, the age of the martyrs, the state church, the papal church, the reformation, the missionary movement, and the close of the church age. Interesting and informative.