CO. CORK Sadly, the annual Bandon Conference meetings had to be postponed almost at the last minute, due to the precautions needful on account of the spread of foot and mouth disease. They are now re-scheduled for the last weekend of October, (DV). The assembly at Bandon was again encouraged to see a good number of unsaved people attending gospel meetings conducted by Ian Rees in early February. They also look forward to a visit from David Gilliland for ministry during April.
CO. CAVAN.Cootehill. There has been a season of reaping after much sowing of the gospel in this small town. Last August the Lord saved the postman who delivered the returning Postal Bible School lessons to the McMeekin house. In February of this year his wife also trusted the Saviour and the joy has been unbounded. Their testimony and that of one or two others who have recently trusted Christ is making quite an impact in the area. The work of the Bible School has expanded to such a degree that a ‘Brass Tacks’ team came to extend the office space in the McMeekin home. This took three months to complete but has proved a tremendous help to the work. During December, George Johnson and Noel McMeekin took to the streets of Drum and Cootehill to deliver 3000 calendars and a copy of a booklet entitled Life’s Most Important Questions. They were well received. Also, they visited every home in Cootehill on New Year’s Eve and Day to deliver a specially produced copy of the Gospel of John. Many welcomed the opportunity to speak of eternal things. Sadly, only fifteen of the forty planned ‘Prizegivings’, for the Postal Bible School, took place before the restrictions on public meetings and travel forced a postponement.
DUBLIN. Colin Sheldon has had a similar opening to David and Kay Stevens as reported in the last issue, with regard to using the ‘Bible Explorer’ programmes in schools in the south west of the city. Fifteen schools, all but two being Catholic, have welcomed Colin to use the overview of the Old Testament material, which takes one hour a lesson for five weeks. Over a thousand children and their teachers have been reached and shown evidence of not only enjoying the sessions but also taking in the truth of the gospel. Recommendations, including those from some local priests, have led to further openings. Some teachers have enquired further over a ‘cuppa’ in the staff room and even visiting inspectors have been in on occasions. It has been and continues to be, a useful opportunity to sow the word. Jim and Kathy Moriarty are encouraged in their open-air witness in the city and also Dun Laoghaire and Bray. Despite one of the team being taken away by the Garda for ‘noisy preaching’, thousands of tracts have been given out and many people listened to the gospel. Among the ‘travellers’, the children’s meetings continue to attract good numbers and in Carrickmines a good contingent of teenagers. Recent visits to the Refugee Centre in Dublin to pass on gospel literature and Bibles have resulted in the commencement of an evening Bible study on Mondays. Some of the refugees from Nigeria are coming to the assembly meetings in Bray. Enniscorthy. John and Linda Standfield will be away from the work here for a while on account of them being in Belfast in case of complications with the birth of their second child due in July. The work of distributing videos and the home Bible studies continues with a steady flow of contacts being made and sustained. Some continued bad behaviour by a few youngsters of the forty plus attending the midweek meeting, has endangered the use of the community centre for this outreach. Summer teams are planned for Limmerick, 14th -21st July, and Enniscorthy, 4th -18th August, (DV).
CO ANTRIM Ballymena. I. Campbell earlier in the year had good openings into a number of schools in the area as well as holding meetings for children at Cambridge Avenue. The outreach work at Greenhill, that for many years has used a barn for a venue, was supported in January by meetings in a portable hall. R. Pickering and T. Wallace were encouraged to see many locals coming to hear the gospel preached over a period of six weeks. Duneane was also evangelized, using a portable hall, by T. Topley and C. Brown at the end of last year. Again the whole area was thoroughly visited and there was good interest shown by local people. Several assemblies in the area have enjoyed the help of series of teaching covering such aspects of truth as holy living, lessons from the tabernacle, and devotional and practical applications from the Book of Ruth.
CO. ARMAGH. Drumnacanver. Meetings that were commenced in this border town in a portable hall during January were still seeing good interest and numbers in February as W. Fenton and M. Campbell continued set out the gospel nightly.
CO. DOWN.Kilkeel. During a series of gospel meetings in January, a man from the town coming for the first time to such meetings trusted Christ. This was a great thrill to the assembly and the servants W. J. Nesbitt and R. Shannon. Brother Nesbitt followed the series by ministry on the local assembly. Ballymagarrick. The assembly had the joy of opening their new hall, replacing the one that had served them well from 1926.The new building seats 300 comfortably and has many useful facilities for the Lord’s work. The opening meeting saw 500 respond to the invitation to come and included many of those involved in the erection of it. There was a real sense of power and earnestness as W. Fenton and R. Pickering preached the gospel. The next evening there were 500 present again to hear practical and challenging ministry from J. G. Hutchison and D. Gilliland. On the Lord’s day, A. McShane preached the gospel to a large company. The Lord was good to all that came and His Name honoured in the testimony provided by the occasion. The smaller assemblies in Ballygiggan and Kilmore began gospel meetings in January and continued into March. Both areas are proving hard to work in, with little response despite faithful visitation. They would ask for earnest prayer that they might know the Lord’s blessing on these efforts in adding to the companies.
Co. Fermanagh.Enniskillen. A visit to the area last September by David and Kay Stevens has served to boost the work amongst children, ladies and in schools. The Bible Club was in the Ballinamallard Gospel Hall with thirty to fifty children attending each night. This has been a great encouragement to the small assembly. Open-air work in the centre of Enniskillen attracted a lot of interest and it is hoped to continue this on a regular basis. Eight schools were visited with approximately eleven hundred children being reached with the gospel. In November, Harry Andrews took five Thursday night meetings in a home. This encouraged a good number of neighbours to come and hear the gospel, many for the first time. A young man has now professed faith as a result. There are now about 250 children doing the Postal Bible School lessons in the county. At the November Prize Giving the Hall was packed with parents and children. The potential for blessing is immense.
BELFAST AND DISTRICT. Bloomfield. The assembly rejoiced in the knowledge that after several weeks of clear gospel preaching by W. Fenton and M. McKillen at least two professed to have found the Saviour and many had heard the gospel. Laganvale. The assembly has been encouraged to see the Lord draw in unsaved people to hear the gospel, including some Roman Catholic people, during a short visit by N. Emerson. Ian Jackson also ministered the word dealing with Christian fundamentals to much profit and to good numbers of believers during a visit in January. Newtownbreda. The saints rejoiced in the salvation of some after recent gospel work and for a challenging week’s ministry on prophetic truth set out by J. Allen.
CO. LONDONDERRY. Limavady. Recent gospel meetings taken by D. Gilliland and R. Eadie proved to be hard work in attracting consistent interest by the local people. However, access was gained to local schools and morning assemblies and lessons were taken with many pertinent questions being asked by the pupils.
CO. TYRONE. Several assemblies in the area have enjoyed great help from uplifting ministry and it was a thrill to see so many of the Lord’s people together for the New Year’s meetings in Newtownstewart. During January, H. S. Paisley spent two weeks preaching the gospel in Cookstown. This is a particularly needy town and it was good to see well-attended meetings.
BELFAST. Scripture Texts on the City’s Buses. Ever since the beginning of the troubles in the north of Ireland and the prohibiting of open-air testimony, the assemblies have sought the open-air witness of displaying texts on the city buses. This has been twenty-five years now of unbroken testimony. Over the years many have used the P.O. Box number to write in for literature. Some have been saved as a result and many believers encouraged. As you can see from the picture if you are stuck behind a bus in Belfast you can’t miss the text! At present twenty buses are carrying texts such as Acts 16. 30, 31; Heb. 9. 27; and Eph. 2. 8, 9.
LANARKSHIRE. During the autumn period several gospel campaigns have been conducted. Joe Baxter laboured for four weeks at Forth, seeing around ninety unsaved under the gospel message during that time. The booklet Ultimate Questions was distributed throughout the village. Earlier in the summer the surrounding area had also been visited using this booklet. At Ashgill, for the months of September and October, the Thursdays were given over to special gospel meetings. The Lord graciously touched the heart of one woman who has since made a confession of salvation. At Shields Road, Motherwell, Malcolm Radcliffe took a week of gospel meetings as follow up to the use of the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition. It was well attended and local schoolchildren and adults came in to see it. There was interest in the meetings that followed and good contacts were made. At East Kilbride, the Threshold assembly also used the Bible Exhibition for a week. There was an enthusiastic response from headteachers and some four hundred children from five schools came and were taught the gospel from it. Further invitations to at least one school have followed. Sadly the brethren accompanying the Exhibition were involved in an accident when returning home and though no permanent injury was sustained it does make us aware of the need to pray for their safety in travel.
LOTHIANS. Stephen Grant conducted a four-week gospel effort in Mayfield Gospel Hall as a result of it not being possible to use the portable hall in Gorebridge where it was originally proposed to hold the meetings. It was good to see unsaved adults attend consistently throughout and one man in particular who came to most of the meetings. A local school was visited, though it proved very difficult to attract other youngsters into the children’s meetings. Personal invitations were made through a thorough visitation programme and the assembly is grateful to the Lord for a faithful witness having been made as a result.
BLAIRHALL. In an attempt to take the gospel into the community the believers in Blairhall have established a ‘Religious Education Resources Centre’. This is an outreach to schools, distributing Bible based materials to support the R.E. curriculum and Bibles for use with these. Also, materials for use by teachers for Bible based assemblies. It arranges for visits by Alistair Young and George Forbes to promote the work and the use of ‘Postal Sunday School’ lesson material. Advice is offered on the Christian treatment of world religions and a venture into suitable PC software is being contemplated. At present thirty-one schools in Fife, Kinross-shire and Clackmannanshire use the centre and its services. This is an open door with immense potential to influence many with the gospel.
SHETLAND. The assembly at Sound set up the Bible Exhibition for a week in the Shetland assemblies camp site near to Sumburgh Airport. Over two hundred children and teenagers from the area came to see it. Many were clearly ignorant of the Bible story. The teachers were also very impressed. It was a fitting follow on to the assemblies conference meetings, which had been held the week before. To the joy of the assembly at Scalloway, two young sisters were baptized and since received into fellowship during January.
THE SOUTH WEST.Swansea. The assembly in Treboeth had the pleasure of seeing two young men, saved at the Sunday Schools Camp last summer, confess the Lord in baptism. The elders had invested prior to the event, fourteen weeks of teaching with them going over the fundamentals of the truths relating to baptism and the responsibilities attached to it. Over one hundred came out to see the baptism, nearly half of whom were from outside the assembly.
CARDIFF AND DISTRICT. The assemblies are receiving continued encouragement from the monthly prayer breakfasts and the United Ministry Conference as good numbers and interest are evident. The assembly at Llandaff North report that they are seeing a good response to an amended version of the Alpha course that they are offering in the district. Also they have been thrilled to baptize a young man recently. The on-going work of the Cardiff Christian Rallies, held in various locations in the city, are encouraging many younger people that come weekly to hear challenging ministry. Arrangements have been made for a public display unit to be sited in the city centre over the Easter period declaring the testimony that ‘Jesus is Alive’. The assembly at Caerphilly has just completed two weeks of gospel outreach having pre-visited the area with thousands of leaflets and making the meetings known through adverts in the local press. The meetings were well attended and quite a few unsaved people came to hear the message. As well as preaching our brother John Baker did daily visitation of many in their homes talking to them about the Saviour.
THE VALLEYS.Treherbert. The assembly was greatly encouraged to see an excellent response to the two gospel meetings held over the Christmas season. A number of parents and grandparents filled the hall to see and hear the children take part. Also, the joy of being able to receive a sister into fellowship and to have a young man showing interest in the gospel has helped greatly to lift their hearts. Pencoed. Despite a sad decrease in the number in fellowship, the assembly has been encouraged in the Lord to continue their activities in the gospel. They are kept busy consistently visiting the homes in the town with the Now magazine and maintaining the weekly children’s Club which has an average attendance of fifteen. At a recent prize giving for the Club there were over fifty present. A young woman, who is a believer, has recently shown interest in all the meetings and is currently observing the Breaking of Bread. She has also brought along her self-confessed atheist husband to hear the gospel. The assembly anticipates a visit from Joe Baxter for gospel work in May, (DV). Maesteg. In January a teenage girl who was saved three years ago at a camp, was baptized. She had been coming faithfully to all the meetings and has demonstrated strong signs of genuine faith. The hall was full for the occasion, with a good number of family members present. Her father also came along but in the past he has been disinterested and at times antagonistic to Christian things. Tredegar. Paul Young conducted a week of children’s work with the assembly at the end of last year. This he has done for many years now. Good numbers of children came and there was sustained interest in the messages presented to them. The visitation of local schools to take morning assemblies is now a feature of the assembly’s outreach. Recent encouragement has been the baptism of several young people.
CUMBRIAGospel Outreach. The brethren involved in this open-air witness throughout the market towns and villages of Cumbria are well advanced in their preparation for another busy summer of work in the gospel. We are all deeply aware that the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease may well have immense implications for the work this year. It may be that a ministry to the farming community is a top priority for the Lord’s people at this time. As at February the plans were being set up for new markets to witness in an applications for eleven shows in August were in the pipeline. There must be a very large question mark over all of this just now. There is a requirement for a new vehicle with four wheel drive capability to tow the mobile exhibition unit over the show ground fields. Wisdom is sought to find the right vehicle.
SHROPSHIRE. Our brother John Skingley was able to visit a number of the villages in the area with tracts before the closure of the countryside took place and was pleased to find believers who encouraged him in the work. He also visits on a monthly basis the Newsham Park area of Liverpool with literature. Two schools that have really opened up to him in Southport and Warrington are presently full of opportunities to preach the gospel with freedom. Together with Frank Lonney, our brother seeks to support the assembly work in Ludlow and a recent growth in the work amongst the children has been a real boost to them both.
NORTHAMPTON. Spencer Bridge Road. The assembly used the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition for two weeks in March. There was a great response from nine local schools that drew five hundred children through the displays, plus their teachers and ancillary staff. Ninety others visited the exhibition from the general public and it was good to find amongst these some that were newly saved. The schools had in them children with Muslim and Catholic backgrounds. Both of these groups had a much better knowledge of the Scriptures than any of the others that came to the exhibition. A great deal was accomplished in the way of contacts made and further opportunities to approach other schools to gain access for morning assemblies.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE.Milton Keynes. The assembly was thrilled by the response of the local children to their half term ‘Holiday Bible Week’. Although aware of their small resources by way of helpers, the week went without problems and the two-hourly sessions seemed to go quickly. Starting with an hour in the ‘Book’, then a quiz and finishing up with craft activities, the thirty-one children that came seemed to love every moment. Satisfyingly, there were parents and grandparents that expressed their appreciation and the children learnt many texts from the word of God.
MIDLANDS.Birmingham. Charlton Road. The assembly continues with its exercise to reach the locality with the gospel and was encouraged by an excellent response to a weekend of activities for the neighbours in March. The great joy was to know that a lady, who was already attending the monthly ‘Focus’ outreach for women, made a confession of salvation. This is the first conversion the assembly has experienced for a long time. Stephen and Jean Gillham held a very successful Children’s Club for a few days, taking the chance to enter two local schools to take assemblies, at the same time. It was good to see new children at the meetings and a full hall on the Sunday to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. Other events are now planned and a holiday for children in May is fully booked up.
WORCESTERSHIRE.Redditch. The work that the assembly is doing amongst its local schools seems to expand as more get included. On average there are three or four visited per week. Shortly after Easter John Baker conducted visitation and evening meetings for adults, while at the same time John Skingley visited ten schools for morning assemblies. The local school will be used each evening for a Good News Club, the headteacher deliberately not commencing other after school activities for the week so that this work will be unchallenged by alternatives. A new home for the elderly has also opened its doors to the assembly for regular visits. The last time there were over thirty in to hear the gospel.
GLOS/WILTSHIRE. The assembly at Manvers Hall, Bath, has been further encouraged in their work among the young by the response of a member of the Bible Class being baptized. The hall was full for the occasion and several unsaved heard the gospel preached. Their regular children’s work continues to grow but control problems increase as it does. The annual Easter Holiday Bible Club is over for this year and attracted about a hundred children. Each home from which children come is visited and parents invited to attend further activities as well as given literature. Three thousand homes are reached in Bath every two to three months, with the Proverbs magazine. This seeks to present biblical truth in a relevant context for unbelievers. Many have spoken of their appreciation of the magazine. A great deal of visitation has taken place in the area of Corsham, offering informal home Bible study courses. As a result two have professed salvation and are currently showing interest in baptism. It is hoped to continue this approach through a wider area seeking to support smaller assemblies in their gospel work. Swindon. The assembly at Park Gospel Hall was thrilled to witness the baptism of a young man recently and to see his family present to see his confession of the Lord. There is an on going work in the area of tracting and open-air preaching. Florence Street. The parent and toddlers group now has up to fifty parents attending some weeks. It was started two years ago and slowly a number of the group are asking questions and responding to invitations. A ladies’ missionary evening recently attracted eighty ladies, some of whom were unsaved.
SOMERSET. Minehead. A small recorder class taken in the home has been the first contact that led to the salvation of both parents. They did the ‘Christianity Explained’ home study introduction to Christianity and are now attending the assembly meetings. They are now being led on in the things of God, together with one or two others, using the Precious Seed ‘Footprints’ nurture course. Coleford. The assembly ran a successful half term Bible Club in February and saw fifty youngsters daily under the sound of the gospel. Parents came early to pick up children and heard the message too. One thirteen-year-old lad professed to be saved as a result. In order to sustain the interest the Sunday school work has been changed to the morning and this has increased the numbers coming.
DORSET. Bethany Hall, Weymouth. Taking advantage of the town’s increasingly popular ‘Victorian Night’ leading up to the Christmas celebrations, the assembly decided to open the Hall doors to welcome any who might come in for free refreshments and a chat. Armed with plenty of literature and faith that the lord would give them some meaningful contacts, the witness proceeded throughout the evening. Over seven hundred Via magazines were distributed and thirty people came in for refreshments. Good conversations ensued and the saints stayed on to pray that the Lord would honour the testimony to His Name. Lyme Regis. The small assembly here has been out on the doors with a ‘Church-going’ survey. The results so far indicate that many have been in contact with the assembly’s testimony over the years. Also, that they are willing in some cases to consider further contact. The work goes on.
CORNWALL. Carbis Bay. After over a hundred years of testimony it is sad to have to report the closure of the little assembly in Carbis Bay. The work commenced in the larger town of Penzance and for many years used the old Jewish synagogue as their meeting place. Latterly it was hoped to build a hall in Carbis Bay but this plan fell through and the testimony has continued in the Memorial Hall for some years. There remained just two brethren and they were increasingly frail, so it was felt that having waited on the Lord for His mind in the matter it was more honourable to him to close than to see it just fade away. Many holiday visitors will miss the fellowship this assembly has afforded to them over the years, and many will give God thanks for the faithfulness of the saints.
DEVON. Westhill Gospel Hall, Plymouth. The assembly has been greatly encouraged by the recent approval of the City Council to allow them to purchase the land to build a hall on the estate in Efford. This means that they can now look to the Lord to move the whole project forward. Their present funds allow them to purchase the land but further help will be needed as they get the building plans approved and then commence building. The work in the school continues to prosper.