After having visited hundreds of Conferences in various parts of Great Britain during the past 20 years, the writer imagined that he had seen all types. That was, until he had visited the 63rd Annual Convention at Lurgan (Northern Ireland).
It is difficult to say which of the many interesting features impressed him most. Was it the fact that, during the three days, over 24 hours were devoted to gatherings – nearly a third of that time being given to six prayer-meetings, at which over 100 brethren were often present? Or was it the eight hours spent in four Bible readings, during each of which nearly 300 men gave close attention to the Colossian Epistle, evincing keen interest, spiritual discernment and grace to consider the view-points of others?
Then there were the heart-searching ministry-meetings – those on Monday and Tuesday drawing about 500 men and women. When the writer learned that the third (on Wednesday) was to last from 1.30 to 4.30 p.m., he was curious to see what sort of response there would be after a full two days. What did he see? The body of the Town Hall filled, the large platform crammed, loudspeakers relayed to a hall below, and people standing – a total of perhaps 800. The meeting was of the ‘open’ kind, and the company listened with undivided attention for three hours to five speakers.
Was the day over? Not a bit! After a hurried tea, the folk gathered again for a two-hour Missionary Meeting, where four missionaries were given nearly 30 minutes each. A short interval, and then the final meeting – a gospel message for the townsfolk.
Were the proceedings well organized? The words hardly seem appropriate. In a pervading atmosphere of prayer the programme flowed on, presumably following a pattern which had emerged from 63 years of experience. And some would dismiss this as “mere tradition.”
Behind the scenes a willing band of capable sisters provided about 200 cooked meals each day, and hundreds of teas.
What was the overall impression? Long after the details are forgotten, the writer will remember the hundreds of men and women who, at some real sacrifice and inconvenience, came together to cram into three days every available hour for spiritual profit.
After numerous and long meetings, and despite the shortness of intervals, people were early in their seats ready for the next meeting, which in consequence often started before time.
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