Brierfield is an Urban District lying between Burnley and Nelson under the shadow of the 1'ennines. in the north-east of Lancashire. It is a town of weaving where once the Master of the Mill, often of strong (if misguided) religious convictions, exercised a dominating hand over his underpaid employees. Nowadays the mills are still there but the onset of better conditions does not necessarily make men more .amenable to the gospel, which has not fared well among a people more assured of their security and con-scious of what their own efforts have achieved.
The Church’s beginning. Some believers who had been previously in fellowship with the saints at Nelson, having had, over a long period, a God-sent concern for the needs of Brierfield, event-ually decided to meet there as a local church, and first came together in the home of one of their sisters in Christ on Lord’s Day, 27th February, 1949, to remember the Lord. While their aim and prayer was to obtain a larger room to whichthey could invite others to hear the gospel, many oilier meetings were held regularly under this hospitable roof. But, although hampered by a lack of accommodation, they were not to be deterred from commending the Good News to those around, and the Christians visited houses with tracts and made other personal contacts.
God answers their prayers. They were not kepi waiting for an answer to their prayers – and that over and above what they had asked for. Not in a side street but in the centre of the town on the main road, a single room over a shop became available and. after this was made presentable to invite people to, the first meet-ing – fittingly enough, a meeting for prayer – was held, just one month from the commencement of the assembly. The following Sunday, the room was used for the remembrance of the Lord in the morning, for a Sunday School in the afternoon which half-a-dozen attended, and for the proclamation of the gospel at night.
Second prayer for larger room answered. From that time forward, the work of the Lord never stood still. This was especially apparent amongst the younger people, and before two years had passed the Christians were once more on their knees praying for larger premises. The local authorities could not give any help in this direction, and the believers’ funds did not permit of their undertaking the construction of a hall. As they saw themselves responsible for that which they had begun, they did not feel inclined to apply to other believers in their vicinity for assist-ance. But God had His answer. A Christian in Brierfield who had not previously associated with them, made some rooms over a garage solely available to them. They now found themselves in possession of one large room to seat between 70-80, two smaller rooms and a kitchen. What is more, they were still on the main road and only 200 yards from their previous place of meeting. But this was not all : the rent was the identical sum that they had paid for their former room!
The Church’s growth In numbers. What of the numerical progress of this little church in Brierfield ? From the ten believers who first gathered that Sunday morning five 5'ears ago, there has sprung a local church of Christians which, two years later, num-bered 25 and which, in June of last year, had increased to 40. An encouraging sign is the impact: which the gospel has made on the youth of the district, a good number of those hi fellowship being still quite young.
The believers’ activities. There is a gathering every Thurs-day for prayer and Bible-study. During the winter months there is a series of Rallies held on Saturday evenings, when the doors are thrown open to Christians from other assemblies.
The Sunday School, which began with a mere handful of chil-dren, now contains some 60 scholars. This is not the sum total of the believers’ work among the young, however. On Tuesdays a children’s meeting takes place, and on Fridays a branch of the “ Young Sowers’ League “ is held – a scheme devised by the Scrip-ture Gift Mission, first, to present the gospel to boys and girls through a study of specified parts of the Bible and then to encourage them to take a practical interest in the circulation of the printed Word of Clod. The preaching of the gospel each week draws between 35 to 40 people, some of whom are parents of the children who attend the Sunday School.
From all this one derives an impression of a steady growth in grace and in numbers of the believers in this north-country town of only 7,000 inhabitants, and of a determination to prove that the Lord can supply all their needs, if they are content to wait; and in Brierfield they have never lacked for long. J. U.