‘… with God nothing shall be impossible’, Luke 1. 37.
At the beginning of the year it is good to give thanks for the past. It is also good to seek inspiration and hope in prayer for the future. The above scripture is perhaps startling in its claim yet it was spoken to encourage trust and confidence. Would we state this with conviction? As we look at lives that sin has spoiled do we believe in the power of God to save and change them? Let us go into this New Year with a renewed commitment to prayer and fellowship with all those who are constantly engaged in the Lord’s service. We are grateful to all who have supplied reports during the past year. We give in this report addresses of all those who will be glad to receive news of activities in the Lord’s work.
Reports received by Mr. J. Graham, 48 Beechgrove Drive, Belfast. The assembly at Parkgate Avenue, Belfast, has just celebrated 50 years of testimony in their present hall and they held a series of gospel meetings with J. Currie and W. Lavery, and these were a blessing. In Antrim town, Co. Antrim, J. G. Hutchinson and J. Wallace held five weeks of meetings in the new hall. These were well attended and at least one was saved. In the village of Cloughmills, R. Eadie and A. Caulfield had good numbers and saw blessing in meetings in a portable hall. One young man professed conversion at Straid in meetings conducted by J. Martin and W. Jennings. H. S. Paisley held two weeks of meetings for ministry and gospel at Cambridge Avenue Gospel Hall, Ballymena. At Derriaghy, J. Brown and J. Lennox were encouraged to hear of a young man being saved in tent meetings. In Co. Armagh, at Drumnacanver, A. McShane and D. Gilliland had good numbers with the hall filled and strangers being present. The assembly at Ballyshiel had a week of profitable ministry with large numbers present with Robert McPheat. At the Ahorey assembly, one week’s ministry meetings were held with G. Waugh.
The Annual Conference at Lurgan was large, and profitable ministry was shared, with J. Riddle, S. Ferguson, G. Waugh and A. McShane responsible for the Bible readings. The conference at Ardmore was considered good with nine brethren sharing the ministry. In Co. Down at Ballymacreely, E. Wishart and N. Coulter saw blessing after five weeks meetings in the Orange Hall. At Moira, one lady professed salvation in meetings conducted by S. Ferguson and N. Turkington. Also at Banbridge souls were saved in meetings conducted by A. Aiken and T. McNeil. The assembly at Bethesda, Bangor, were encouraged in a two week series with A. Carew. At Waringstown, the assembly had two weeks’ ministry with J. Flanigan, on the tabernacle. The conference at Shanaghan was considered profitable with six brethren taking part in the ministry of the word. There were profitable conferences held at Ballinamallard and Enniskillen. The assembly at Newtownstewart was greatly encouraged by the large numbers that attended with blessing in meetings conducted by J. Smith and D. Oliver, both from the U.S.A. At Lungs, S. Jennings had two weeks’ profitable ministry on 1 Corinthians 1-4, and also one week in Omagh. In Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, A. McShane and D. Gilliland completed seven weeks preaching in a tent with good numbers attending.
The assembly at Frances Street, Newtownards, has a long history going back almost 130 years. It is reputed to be the second oldest established in Co. Down. During this long period the assembly has experienced times of great blessing and, of course, deep spirititual troughs. During the past decade, there has been something of a spiritual upswing, with new married couples moving in and large numbers of children of believers coming to Christ, being baptized and added to the fellowship. The assembly numbers about 120. Three gospel campaigns have taken place since 1985 and on all three occasions, almost 10, 000 leaflets were distributed throughout the rapidly expanding town. Many unsaved have come in and some have been saved. During September a two weeks’ ‘Harvest Mission’ was held with John Spiers. The mission was well advertised and as a new venture, the Civic Hall was hired for the Sunday evening services at 8. 30 p.m. The faith, and hard work, of the Lord’s people was honoured by God and on the first night about 400 were present. Numbers throughout the mission were good, but more importantly, some 7 or 8 folk spoke of coming to Christ, or being restored to Him. Included in those who came to Christ was the speaker’s own son who was over on a week-end visit. So there was much joy and encouragement. Before a very full hall, during the second week, two sisters gave testimony to their faith in baptism.
Reports for this Area gladly accepted by R. E. Fry, ‘Kinlough’, 3 Tudor Court, Torquay Road, Foxrock, Dublin, 18. Items are to hand from a newsletter from Sam and Betty Bargewell who labour in Bray, Co. Wicklow. They are now in fellowship in the Florence Road Assembly, Bray, and are looking to labour in harmony with believers there. They speak of the distribution of tracts in the town, and letter-boxing of a ‘super tract’ on a number of housing estates. It is difficult to tell the outcome of this work but people do read these tracts, whether at the time, or later. Some years ago there was encouragement as a young woman trusted Christ as a result of the tract work. It was an added delight earlier this year to witness the baptism of her two teenage daughters. Praise the Lord for His work in the family!
Visitation of a number of Christians in the town takes place, seeking to encourage them in the Lord and also to help some through problems. Sam attends a prayer group that meets in a large house about 15 miles from Bray on the first Friday of each month. His visit is appreciated especially for help from the scriptures. A number of these Christians have been baptized and some meet to break bread on Sunday mornings. They also run a Christian bookshop in that district. One encouraging feature of the year was the number of baptisms in the surrounding area of North Wicklow. About 50 people from three or four evangelical fellowships have obeyed the Lord in baptism. This could be an indication of the number of people who are trusting the Lord in these days.
One or two items come from David and Kay Stevens in Limerick. Three nights of the week they minister to over 50 ‘Rally’ children. This is a vitally important work and there is much prayer that the responsibility shall be more shared. It was heartening to see many of the young people becoming involved in summer evangelism. There is good news also of those who were saved during the summer activities. It is good to hear of two who are attending meetings regularly and witnessing to their friends. They need prayer. David’s back condition was much improved so enabling him to make use of many opportunities in the gospel.
A letter from Bert Gray in Mount-mellick gives news of the Postal Sunday School work in the south. A good camp was held at Avoca, and the work at Courtown and Parklands Caravan Parks saw quite a number of children hearing the message of the gospel. The work there finished with a visit of the zWord Alive’ Bible Exhibition in the area. The local parish priest gave the use of the National School for the Exhibition - this was quite encouraging, seeing that he had at one time publicly condemned them from the pulpit. About 50 visitors a day came in, and interesting conversations ensued. Some young men from the district, who are young believers, came each evening and bible study continued until midnight. They are hungry for teaching. A Bible Exhibition was held in Cork for two weeks and several interesting contacts were made. The final week of the Exhibition was held in Irishtown Gospel Hall, Dublin.
Reports for the South West area will be gladly accepted by James Anderson, Millbank, Privick Mill Road, Ayr, KA6 5 J A. Two weeks of children’s meetings were held with Robert Revie in the Nitshill housing scheme in south west Glasgow as a send-off for the Greenview Hall’s winter work. The meetings were held in two separate schools to reach children and teenagers. George Forbes spent a good part of the autumn doing children’s work in Renfrewshire. He was first in Bridge of Weir in conjunction with the Counties twice-yearly campaign, and then in Elderslie. The latter was particularly outstanding with 136 different children being present at some time during the two weeks. Finally he was in Johnstone where there is no regular children’s work, but numbers were encouraging.
Robert Revie spent three weeks in Mossblown, with the Annbank assembly. Large numbers of boys and girls crowded each evening into the portable hall. Sometimes there were over 90 present, and all told a very large section of Mossblown’s children attending the local school, must have been present at some time. Adult meetings were most encouraging with numbers of strangers exceeding double figures being present on several evenings. New ground was broken. An elderly widow who had been attending the Sunday evening meeting for some time professed salvation. The middle week saw the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition in the Community Centre and while numbers attending were not large most were very interested. They included the children from the local private school which the brethren have never been invited to enter. Following the Exhibition an invitation was promised to address the Scripture Union at the school. The final week saw the record number of children at the annual Holiday Club in the Annbank Gospel Hall. Robert’s presence was made use of for the recommencement of the Youth Clubs in the Village Hall and good attention was given during the epilogue. The junior group is larger this year, but the senior group is smaller.
Three campaigns were going on in the district at the same time. Stuart McKenzie was having his second one in Woodpark assembly, Ayr. While numbers of strangers were never large, the final meetings saw the baptism of a girl from a Christian home. The third effort was conducted in the Prestwick Road district of the town to which James Street assembly have moved. This was conducted by Roy Marshall and George Meikle, Numbers were never large, but unsaved were present each evening.
Reports for Fife area to Philip Prior, 135 Chalmers Street, Dumfermline, Fife.
Reports for Aberdeen area to Kenneth Dickson, 1 Woodlands Place, Inverbervie, Montrose.
Reports for North East etc. to William Mowatt, 97 Sea Town, Cullen, Buckie AB5 2SN.
Reports will be gladly accepted by Gerald Bourne, 6 North Drive, Audenshaw, Manchester M34 5BU. Our brother reports that the excellent summer weather favoured the work of the Manchester Village Workers who distributed approximately 29, 000 gospel tracts during visits to 20 places. Each tract contained an invitation to all interested to apply for a free copy of What the Bible Teaches published by Emmaus Bible School. Since the last report in Precious Seed over 30 applications have been received. It is hoped that those who take up the bible to complete the questions will find that the ‘entrance of thy word giveth light’, and will bring salvation. Winter Saturday night ministry meetings have commenced in the Manchester area. Similar meetings in a wider area have also commenced in Blackpool, Brierfield, Burnley and Farnworth. There is no reason for Christians, young or old to be lacking in bible teaching!
Reports for Tyneside area will be welcomed by Derek Taylor, 15 Holm Avenue, Walkerville, Newcastle-on-Tyne, NE6 4PS. Reports for Yorkshire will be accepted by Peter Smith, ‘Rosedale’, 40 Pannal Ash Drive, Harrogate, N[. Yorkshire HG2 0HU. He reports that at Woodfield Gospel Hall, Harrogate the believers were encouraged by the baptism of a young lady who has since been received into fellowship. The town of Harrogate is now the new base for the Words of Life Postal Bible School. Peter and Elaine Smith, who have recently moved north, have already been encouraged by 3 children and 1 adult applying for bible courses. It is their vision and prayer that many more will be reached in Yorkshire and across northern England.
Please send any items of news regarding the Lord’s work in this county to Stephen Pugh, ‘Bethany’, 40 Alfred Street, Cherry Orchard, Shrewsbury SE2 5EY.
Reports for this area will be welcomed by Arthur Shearman, 161 Bilford Road, Worcester WR3 8PL. From Ivor Powell comes news of work in Northamptonshire. Three holiday bible clubs were held during summer months in Silverstone, Gawcott and Daventry respectively. The children’s enthusiasm was tremendous and their keenness especially was seen in learning the memory text for each day. Another gratifying feature was the heartfelt appreciation shown by the parents, especially in Gawstone and Silverstone. It was good to hear comments such as ‘Thank you for what you have done for my children’; ‘For what you have taught them’, and ‘For spending time with them’. There were some who said that they had trusted the Saviour. Many parents also attended the prize-giving meetings, and several asked for booklets to help them understand the gospel better. Prayer is needed for these folk.
Our brother linked up with Peter Brandon for a mission in the small village of Nash, Bucks. This was planned for 5 days but extended to 10 because of the good interest. One lady was saved and another sought help as she was a backslider. The believers were much encouraged to see God at work in their midst. At a meeting in Daventry Grange, a family service, the speaker was to have been Police Inspector Ian Hutchins, but he died suddenly while on holiday. He was a good gospel preacher and much loved in Daventry. This gave opportunity to stress the serious issues between what happens when a Christian and then a non-Christian dies, explaining the meaning of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It was a solemn meeting and 8 people asked for the booklet Journey into Life as they left.
News of the Annual Show at Moreton-in-Marsh. This is reckoned to be the largest one-day show in the country and many thousands of people passed through the open tent where the Christian stand was. The Christian Book Stall saw very good sales of literature and Ken Brighton and others from the assembly had good opportunities for personal work and witness. There was quite a good interest shown and some serious contacts were made.
Two items of news from the assembly at Cranham Drive, Worcester. For the first time a Half-term Youth Focus was held, conducted by Gordon Curley. This was designed to reach young people between the ages of 11 and 16. The effort proved to be well worth while, with the numbers being about a consistent 35. The afternoons were given to activities such as swimming, orienteering, etc., and then in the evenings there was a meeting in the hall ending with a message from John’s gospel. The interest was good and one girl definitely said that she trusted the Saviour. It was also encouraging to baptize two older people who had been attending the evening services almost since the hall opened. Much prayer and concern had been shown for them over the years and it was a great joy when they simply and sincerely came to trust the Saviour. The evening of their baptism was a tremendous witness to the power of the Lord to save.
Reports for this area to John H. James, 10 Wynter Road, Bitterne, Southampton SOI 2 5NY. News form the assembly at Pamber Heath. In March the Cardiff Bible Exhibition was used for one week and during this time 380 people visited the Gospel Hall. Many unsaved came in together with believers from other churches in the town. One couple came in, they were in their late 60’s, and they said that they had come to buy a bible. The wife had made a profession some 40 years ago, but had not progressed in the Lord’s things. Her husband was not saved. In July, after the preaching of J. Hunter, the wife was restored to the Lord and during gospel meetings with Norman Mellish, her husband who is very deaf was saved after reading God’s Way of Salvation, There was great encouragement when both of them obeyed the Lord in baptism.
During the year children’s meetings were held with S. Mountstevens and a systematic tracting of the area has been intensified, reaching out on a regular basis to some 2000-3000 homes. The assembly has been greatly encouraged by the interest shown and the contacts made, with unsaved present every night except one, in the Gospel campaign. It is believed an impact was made on some present. A 13-year-old boy, the son of believers in the assembly, has since asked to be baptized.
Reports for this area will be welcomed by J. A. Harman, 9 Orion Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8LG. From Stephen Gillham we have a report on the schools’ work in Dorset. More and more schools are asking for assemblies. During the autumn term there has been an invitation to take school assemblies on about 120 occasions. The spiritual climate has changed so much in many schools. Besides visiting Dorset schools it has been possible to visit some in East Devon, and during a mission period in Horwich, Lancs. There is always rapt attention and much appreciation by the headteachers and staff, and in schools that are visited fairly regularly, the encouragement of knowing that children remember the talks given in considerable detail, some time after hearing the message. The schools work is very much a sowing ministry, and as the bible is taught, it is believed that the Lord will give the increase.
We are able to include a few of Stephen Gillham’s reflections on the contemporary character of work inschools etc. He tells us that in Dorset there are first, middle and upper school systems and it is in the first and middle schools, children up to 13, that there are most opportunities. The senior schools are not so open, and time does not really permit to try to get into these schools on a regular basis. However there are opportunities with Christian Unions, groups of Christians who meet for bible study and prayer. Often these small groups need encouragement and help, and it is sought to do this.
Children’s missions have become generally harder during the past few years. Parents know the problems of their children being out at night alone, and there is a lack of interest amongst parents in many families. Holiday Bible Clubs are successful, but the opportunites in schools to bring the word of God to the children are without comparison. So prayer is needed continually that the doors may be kept open and that health and strength may be given to avail use of these while they are there.
Reports for the Cardiff area will be welcome by, Don Roberts, 98 Marlborough Road, Penylan, Cardiff CF2 5BY. The Cardiff Christian Rallies have made a good start, with numbers in the 80’s and mostly young people. The Conference at Treforest heard ministry by Arthur Shearman and Ivor Strode. Numbers were lower in the afternoon session. Addresses on the 7 Churches in Revelation were given at Heath Gospel Hall, Cardiff by Jim Allen and he conducted bible readings on John at Nantgarw. At the Gospel Hall, Ely, Frank Lonney gave stimulating ministry on the book of Jeremiah. At the Annual Missionary Conference in Cardiff some interesting and challenging reports were given. Taking part were Martin Baker of Eastern Europe, R. Haberkamp of Belgium, C. Judkin of France and K. Barker of Africa. Peter Andrews of Cardiff, who will shortly be going out with his wife to serve the Lord in Ruanda, also spoke. James Naismith of Kilmarnock gave ministry.
At the Annual Bethesda Conference the ministry was shared by David Clarkson, Dumfries, and John Lennox, Cardiff, and this was well attended. Amidst all the talk on the future of broadcasting in this country, it is good to report on two broadcasts transmitted from Leckwith Gospel Hall on Radio Wales. The speakers were Walter Nilsen and Keith Matheson respectively. We pray that the Lord will bless His word to the listeners. The Cardiff Assemblies Tract Band held a gospel campaign at Graig-y-Racca, a very needy estate not far from Caerphilly, and several young people were saved. The Cardiff based Bible Exhibition was at Canton Gospel Hall, and about 200 people visited. There were many interesting conversations. There was encouragement at Adamsdown Gospel Hall where a young lady was baptized, and another asked for baptism after interest roused by the Bible Exhibition. Treorchy Gospel Hall held a gospel campaign with Joe Baxter, and there was much blessing with interest shown by surrounding churches.
Reports for South West Wales will be welcomed by W. Beale, ‘Avalon’, 3 Railway Terrace, Fforestfach, Swansea SA5 5BJ. Robert McLuckie conducted 2 weeks’ meetings at Blue Street Gospel Hall, Carmarthen. Quite a few showed interest. At Trimsaran Gospel Hall, John Gillespie held ministry meetings. At the Evangelistic Hall, Llanelli, Paul Young conducted a series of children’s meetings and he was also allowed to hold school assemblies. He was invited back again by one headmaster, if in the area again. These meetings were followed by a special Gospel Campaign at Llanelli conducted by James Allen. In Pantyffynon, David McMaster conducted children’s and adult meeting.
Reports for this area will be welcomed by John Powell, 27 St. Gabriels Avenue, Peverell, Plymouth. At Underwood Chapel, Plympton, a half-term Holiday Club was held, conducted by John Wilkes, Nottingham. Children from 3-11 years gathered each day for various activities. The slogan for the club, zon fire’, was taken from the first 12 chapters of Acts. Eight of the youngsters came for simple counselling and, it was believed, trusted the Saviour. The parents’ evening was packed out on the Friday, and there is much praise to the Lord that as a result the Sunday school numbers here doubled.
At Highfield School, Plymouth, West Hill Gospel Hall held their Holiday Bible School. Counties evangelist David Iliffe shared the word with an average of 50-60 children each day, his theme being the change in different bible characters who came to Christ. Various activities made up the day. Three or four expressed the fact that they had trusted the Saviour. Sad to say only a few parents came to the Sunday afternoon family service but there was much to priase God for.
Reports for the Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset areas will be welcomed by Robert Greenman, Marlborough House, Rockhampton, Berkeley, Glos. GL13 9DT and by Andrew Mortimore, 11 Priston Close, Worle, Weston-super-Mare BS22 OFC.
Neston is a small village with the gospel hall on the outskirts, and the saints living over a wide area. The Memorial Hall in the village centre was hired for most meetings. The population is now mostly affluent commuters, and apathy was very evident during doorstep invitations. A number of adults attended these October/November meetings, and while no conversions were seen, some follow up work will be done.
Bethany Hall, Cheltenham, is in a large housing estate, and a good relationship has been kept with many locals through children’s work and chats during informal coffee mornings. At the time of writing, two days before the end of this November gospel effort, unsaved adults were present every night but one. Not as many came as anticipated, and though power was felt in the meetings, and some seemed burdened, there were no professions so far. A Saturday open air witness in the local shopping precinct was planned before the last two meetings.
The Pensford assembly, near Bristol, held their annual conference this year in the Community Hall in the village. Over 100 attended each session and the ministry was shared by W. E. Craig, D. E. West and Roy Hill.
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