Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities – September-October, 1952

Disaster at Lynmouth

Everybody in Great Britain has heard of the amazing catastrophe which overwhelmed the beautiful Devon village of Lynmouth on the night of Friday, August 15th, when phenomenal rain on the heights of Exmoor transformed the East and West Lyn rivers into raging torrents. Houses, crumbling under the battering of huge boulders, were swept into the sea carrying some of their hapless occupants with them. The broadcasting of the story makes it unnecessary to dwell on the tragic facts, but we solicit prayer for the stricken area. The loss of life has been considerable but we are able to say that no member of the assembly has come to personal harm, although it seems certain that several have sustained serious loss.

Christians who have spent happy holidays in this delightful spot will recall memories of the fellowship enjoyed in the assembly, which had a character all its own. The Hall, which seemed to be a monument to a past generation’s early struggles and triumphs of faith, has been swept away; yet the Spirit which raised this testimony to Christ lives on to enable the believers to face a heartrending task, in this desolated village. In this they will be encouraged by the steadfast sympathy of a wide circle of friends.

At the time of going to press it is too early to take a balanced view of the situation and to know the exact extent and nature of the need; but already sympathizers in various parts are taking steps to help. Any who want to know what is being proposed in this way may inquire of J. H. Large, 2 Ashleigh Road, Barnstaple, Devon. A fund has been set up in Barnstaple for the benefit of the Lynmouth assembly. Co-Treasurers:- H. K. Shapland, “Bellaire,” Pilton, Barnstaple, and H. Lerwill, 4 Prospect Place, Newport, Barnstaple.


In this small fishing village, about 26 miles south of Aberdeen, Harold German commenced a tent mission in June. A conference was held on the Saturday, when helpful ministry was given by several brethren. Good interest was shown as the mission continued, and on some Sunday evenings as many as 140 people attended. Several have professed conversion and others have been awakened. (C. R. T.)


The village work mentioned in the previous issue has been well supported. The workers often travel by special bus and visit each house with tracts before the open-air meeting; thus the gospel is proclaimed in places where it is seldom heard. At one place nearly 30,000 people were attracted to a Sunday fair held in July, and a band of young men held an open-air gospel meeting in the afternoon, using a loudspeaker so that the message could be heard amid the conflicting noises, and displaying gospel banners. Many listened with interest, and thousands of tracts were given away. (C. R. T.)


The gospel tent was pitched at Kintore, 12 miles from Aberdeen, for the first part of the summer season. The district was visited and many contacts were made with gospel literature. The children’s meetings were encouraging and some fruit was gathered from amongst them, but the adults were slow to come out, although some attended the services. Many heard the gospel at open-air meetings held in the town. Help from Inverurie and Aberdeen was much appreciated. (H. Burness)


Fifeshire Gospel Tent was pitched in the centre of a large housing estate and the opening conference was very well attended. Helpful ministry was given by John Hutcheson (Larkhall), James Cuthbertson (Musselburgh) and A. K. Philip (Aberdeen), the latter being in charge of the tent work. Local believers supported the work well and those from neighbouring districts visited occasionally. Children’s services each night were well attended and various speakers helped. Short seasons of prayer were held each night, followed by open-air meetings, and tent services were very well attended. Eight young people, as far as we know, have decided for Christ. (A. K. Philip)


We have received a report of the first part of the Summer work, and are glad to note that Dan Cameron has had very encouraging meetings at Bothwell, Biggar and Salsburgh. At Biggar the hall proved too small, and the Y. M. C. A. building had to be hired for the second and third weeks of the mission.


The new hall at Maddiston (near Falkirk) was opened on 14th August. Much of the work was done by the local brethren, who put in many hours of devoted labour. In their anxiety to get everything ship-shape they have even worked up to 4 A.M.


During the summer months the week night meetings are poorly attended in Shetland as the local people are busy with outdoor work such as cutting and curing peats for the next winter’s fuel supply, As a result of this, hardly any special meetings are arranged, particularly in the country districts. Many places are visited with the gospel at week-ends, however, and at Cloddyknowe, Hoswick, Bigton and Ireland, gospel meetings are held once a month, for which the brethren from Lerwick are mainly responsible. The places mentioned are all in the South Mainland of Shetland and are within a radius of about ten miles. The interest in the gospel in this area is very good and the meetings are well attended. The population of Lerwick is always greatly increased during the summer by the influx of fish-workers for the herring season, and these workers are accommodated in huts near the fishing stations. J. Moar and others have distributed tracts in all these huts, and have had opportunities for discussions with numerous individuals. There were several huts where two or three listened carefully to the message of the gospel. Residential parts of the town were also visited with tracts, and the open-air meetings on Sunday nights have been well supported. J. Moar has been working in the Skerries, two small islands on the east side of Shetland which, as far as we know, have not previously been visited by an evangelist from the assemblies, and G. Bond has been working in Trondra. (R. S. B.)


David Hyslop has continued with his tent work in several parts of Northumberland. At Newsham, his starting point, there was some interest shown and one soul professed faith in Christ, maintaining interest by attending the nearest assembly at Blyth. Two weeks were spent at Bedlington, a large mining centre, where good interest was seen, especially amongst young folk. A number professed salvation. Morpeth was then visited and, although reputed to be a “hard” place, interest was not lacking. Much prayer is required for these “unoccupied” and unreached parts of needy Northumberland. (J. H. H.)


Fred Whitmore writes-“I am glad to say that blessing is attending the effort in the needy town of Chorley. Week-night attendances average about 50, and quite large companies gather at week-ends. The response from the local people is most encouraging and there have been signs following, both with children and adults. At present we are endeavouring to secure a place for work of a more permanent character, but it is not easy to obtain. We have had two visits from our friends Arthur Greenwood and one from Harold German. J. G. Welch, late of the Matlock Bible College, took a meeting later, and other visitors have helped us considerably.


We hear from H. Wickham that at Frecheville, a suburb of Sheffield, a new hall has been built. The assembly here has been without a building of its own since 1939. Our friends are encouraged by the fact that through the goodness of God and the generous gifts of His people, their need has been met, and they hope to welcome those from other assemblies who visit their district or go to reside there.


One Saturday in June the police gave permission for an open-air meeting in Trafalgar Square. The brethren who operate the South West London Evangelistic Mobile Unit conducted the meeting and were supported by a very large number of believers from many assemblies. The witness continued for two and a half hours and there was a large audience throughout. The attention was very good and the hymns were heartily sung by all. Many interesting personal contacts resulted. If it proves possible to hold such a meeting next year, it is hoped that all five Mobile Units will be able to take part. (S. H. S.)


Albert Burnham writes-” After a week of gospel testimony on Epsom Race Course during Derby Week I started an open-air campaign on Tower Hill at midday and in Hyde Park during the evenings. On Tower Hill the City workers come out for a breath of fresh air at lunch time and will stop to listen to any interesting speaker, especially if the message is being contested. Often an opponent brings up a large crowd and we are able to establish the truth of God’s Word in their minds and to impress them with their need of Christ as Saviour. Every religion and heresy seems to come to oppose the gospel, but how adequate the Word of God is to refute every lie! At first I much missed my fellow-workers of last year, but the Lord sent brethren along to help and I have been much encouraged by the able testimony of those in business in the City of London and others who have helped in Hyde Park. Many times when I was completely exhausted, the Lord has sent these brethren to testify to the crowds still standing and interested.”


It is expected that the Leigh Park Housing Estate, Nr. Havant, will ultimately accommodate 30,000 people. Nearly 7,000 are living there already, and most of them have never heard the gospel. J. E. Mist tells us that work on this estate had been commenced by J. A. Thompson, who was recently commended to full-time service by the assemblies at Wembley and Watford. Living in a caravan provided by the Counties .Evangelization Trust, our brother visits homes with tracts during the day, and holds open-air meetings for the children, with good response.


John James (Dudley) conducted a tent campaign for four weeks in the village of Stoke-under-Ham. Children’s services were well attended, and keen interest was maintained throughout. At the adults’ meetings the attendances were not too good at first, but interest increased and at the end of the campaign the tent was well filled. Friends from Martock, Chisleboro, Preston and Crewkerne gave real help, and local Christians supported the meetings well. Tracts were widely distributed and open-air meetings were held. Several souls were saved as a result of the campaign. (C. W. Schooling)


Pontardulais, near Swansea, is a populated area without any local assembly testimony. An excellent site was obtained for a tent mission conducted by by A. J. Chilcott, A. E. Ward and Handel Evans, and the Lord’s Hand was seen in salvation. W. A. Norris and W. Trew had a tent campaign in the Sandfields district of Abera von, not “far from a large post-war housing estate. Many appreciated the Word and some were exercised as to salvation. The children’s work was very encouraging, especially the fact that a group of older girls showed a keen interest. The co-operation of the Port Talbot assembly was whole-hearted, and with the help of other believers it was possible to visit the homes repeatedly with good gospel literature and invitations. News from Llanelly tells of splendid interest during Saturday afternoon visits to West Wales, where hundreds listened in the open air. T. W. Hickley has been working for the Lord on the new housing estate at Gabalfa, Cardiff. Good numbers of children attended nightly, but the response from the adults was very poor. Tracts were widely distributed and some personal contacts made. (H. T.)


Although recent reports have underlined the extensive evangelical activity that is so characteristic of the six counties which comprise Northern Ireland, a few brethren are engaged in full-time Service in the ministry of the Word to the Lord’s people, particularly among small country assemblies. During recent months John Barker conducted ministry meetings in Lurgan, Waringstown, Bleary, Enniskillen and Ballyhay. The following were some of the subjects dealt with - New Testament Principles regarding the Local Church, the Life of the Christian as given in Peter’s First Epistle, and Foundation Truths from the Epistle to the Romans. The interest which these topics aroused was shown by the large attendances at all the meetings, and the Lord’s presence and blessing were felt in a very marked way. (J.F.)


In Cork and the district around, Fred L. Pontin continues colportage work from house to house. Although he meets with some encouragement, there is much disappointment and difficulty. Occasionally he is able to have really helpful conversations with those he visits in their homes. It is sometimes difficult to realize that gospel work in this part of Eire is carried on in an atmosphere of suspicion, and to some extent of strain, owing to the fierce opposition. For long periods there may be no visible results and the Seed can be sown only in faith. To a large extent the same applies to other workers, including G. Henderson (Co. Kerry), George Latimer and his wife (Co. Leix),G. Thomas and his wife (Co. Leitrim) and S. Lewis (Co. Donegal). Some of these brethren (and others) are conducting open-air meetings in various parts of the country and they are having quite a good hearing, although it is exceedingly difficult to carry on any sustained effort. (T. E. J. A.)


We often receive copies of the Prayer Letters sent out by some evangelists, but we cannot always extract suitable details to include under the headings of place-names. Donald R. Meadows writes of work at Liphook,. Portsmouth, Fegan’s Homes, Bognor, Winchester, and various places in Devon, Somerset and North Wales. Some of the arrangements he made had to be cancelled because of the state of his health. Derek W. Frost, records visits to Kingston, near Taunton, and to Sandhill Park. He also refers to work in connection with the Herefordshire Christian Young People’s Movement, details of which appear in the Report published by the Movement. As in so many places, work amongst the adults was as disappointing as that among the children was encouraging. Four people professed to believe the message of the gospel. Our brother, who resides in Callington (Cornwall) is remaining at home as much as possible for the time being, in order to give sorely-needed help to the small assembly at Hampt, near Callington.


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