Reports of Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities – Jan-Feb 1953

During recent months we have increased the number of our Correspondents in order to keep in touch with work in the widest possible field. We greatly appreciate their help, for without it we should have few reports to publish. We find, however, that they do not always receive the encouragement which is due to them for the interest they take in the work of the Lord. When assembly secretaries and others receive requests for reports, either of special efforts or of the regular witness of their assemblies, we trust they will respond promptly.

Our Correspondents do all they can to ensure that their reports are accurate in every detail. If errors should creep in we trust our readers will let us know, so that corrections may be published if necessary, Reference to a particular work or worker must not be taken as indicating that the Committee of “Precious Seed” necessarily approves of all the methods employed.

The reports we publish are intended not only to promote an intelligent, prayerful interest in what is being done, but to encourage the adoption in a wider sphere of those ways of working which God has been pleased to bless. In this connection we would draw attention to the report from Aberdeen, and suggest that the “Open Air Sunday School” might be tried elsewhere in places where it would be appropriate. (N. M. B.)

SHETLAND

Numerous districts in the Shetlands have again heard the Good News. J. Merson and J. Moar, mentioned in our Sept./Oct. report, joined hands for gospel work in the Island of Yell. In this island of approximately 1,000 inhabitants there is a small but lively assembly of about ten believers who meet in a house to remember the Lord. Visiting speakers are given excellent opportunities and support for gospel work at different places in the island. Our brethren visited many homes and held various meetings. At one place in North Yell, J. Merson had the joy of leading a young woman to the Saviour. He concluded his visit to Shetland by addressing the usual gospel meetings in Lerwick and Scalloway on the Lord’s Day. At Lerwick another young woman professed faith in Christ. Our brother left for the mainland greatly refreshed, and reports concerning those who were saved during his visit show that they are going on well. J. Moar visited the small island of Papa Stour for a fortnight of sustained meetings. He is presently giving help at the various meetings of the assemblies as opportunity presents itself. His days are largely spent in tract distribution. J. Welch (Wolverhampton) has paid his first visit to Shetland. He gave ministry and preached the gospel in Lerwick, Scalloway, Selivoe, Yell, Hoswick, Trondra and Whiteness. The ministry, which was most practical throughout, has been greatly appreciated. The Lord’s people have been blessed and strengthened through it. Much work is also done by spare-time workers in Shetland, which cannot be referred to in detail. The Lord is blessing His servants, and thanksgiving is due to Him for this. (R. S. B.)

ABERDEEN

For the fourth year in succession, open air services for children were held on Lord’s-day afternoons during last summer in the Westburn Park, Aberdeen. These services take the place of the normal indoor Sunday Schools which, in all the assemblies in the city, are closed during the months mentioned. In Sunday Schools where attendances show a marked decrease during the summer months, consideration might profitably be given to this method of retaining the interest of the scholars and, at the same time, of reaching children unaccustomed to attending Sunday School. The park is a popular one in that it offers recreational facilities even on Lord’s Days, and the presence each week of a large number of young folk and older ones is therefore assured. A noticeable and encouraging feature of the meetings has been the considerable proportion of adults who have listened with keen interest to the enthusiastic singing of gospel choruses by youthful voices and the simple unfolding of the Word of Life. The application to have the use of a suitable site in the park has always been favourably considered by the Town Council, and the conveners look forward, in the will of the Lord, to a continuation in future years of the privileges already enjoyed and to the further blessing of God upon the work. (W. T.)

COWDENBEATH

The Fifeshire Gospel Tent was pitched for the whole of the last summer season in the midst of a large housing scheme at Cowdenbeath. A. Philip was the missioner, and the district was well visited with tracts and invitations. Local believers supported the work well and the prayer-meetings and open-air services were well attended, as were the meetings for children. Although it was difficult to get people from the immediate neighbourhood to attend, the adult meetings were on the whole well supported, and some people professed faith in Christ. (W. T.)

ST. COMBS

H. Burness pitched his gospel tent at St. Combs, five miles from Fraserburgh, and continued there for five weeks during the summer. The adults were slow to come at first, but numbers gradually improved and the children’s meetings were encouraging. Our brother spent two weeks in the village of Gardenstown and gave ministry from Exodus and Matthew’s Gospel, especially for the benefit of young believers. (W. T.)

AYRSHIRE TENT

Charles McEwen and Janies G. Hutchinson were in the Ayrshire Tent for the second half of the season. They commenced in Mauchline, where there is no assembly, on 20th July and continued for three weeks. Valued help was given by Christians from neighbouring assemblies and there were some definite cases of conversion.

On August 11th they removed the tent to Auchinleck. There was much interest right from the commencement of the meetings. Large numbers attended, among them many unsaved who had never been in the local Gospel Hall. God was working and in grace gave a good deal of blessing. Some backsliders were restored and a number professed conversion. (A. McN.)

GLASGOW

James G. Hutchinson had five weeks in Plantation Street Gospel Hall, Govan, It was his great joy to see numbers of unsaved people, old and young, in the hall night after night. There was a real exercise on the part of the Christians regarding unsaved relatives and neighbours. This was evidenced by their attendance at the prayer meetings and by their efforts to get their unsaved friends to the meetings. There was a number of interesting cases of conversion, among them a Communist and a man of 82.

A. Naismith, home on furlough from India, conducted a series of special gospel-meetings in October in the new hall which has recently been built for the assembly in Busby. Much careful preparation was made for the meetings, and the invitations sent out beforehand stimulated the interest of the people. At the end of the fortnight’s meetings five souls had professed faith in Christ, three of them at the closing meeting.

John MacCalman, of Bellshill, at the request of the brethren of Springburn assembly undertook to conduct, in his spare time in the evenings, a fortnight’s special gospel-meetings. So great was the interest that the meetings were continued for several weeks beyond their expected duration. The Lord’s servant was wonderfully helped of God, and the assembly was greatly encouraged by the blessing which resulted.

A most remarkable meeting of those interested in gospel work in Glasgow’s hospitals was held in Elim Hall, Glasgow, on Nov. 17th. More than 500 gathered and reports were given from about ten different hospitals. Some of these spoke of regular services held in the wards; others, where services were not allowed, of regular visitation with suitable tracts and personal messages for the patients individually. Many touching incidents were reported. In some of the hospitals God’s hand had been in evidence in a most remarkable way. All the reports were most encouraging and the general conclusion from them was that God is wonderfully blessing this work to the salvation of souls. (A. McN.)

SUNDERLAND

The open-air work at Sunderland is conducted as a combined effort of the assemblies at Gill Bridge Avenue and Hendon, and it is carried on (by Street Hall, Limerick, and good attendances have been reported. Continued prayer is requested for those engaged in colportage work in the south and west of Eire. Their task is more difficult during the winter months and they have much to discourage them. (T. E. J. A.)

WALES

The summer of 1952 was one of special cheer in the open-air work conducted by Llanelly Christians in West Wales. Thousands heard the gospel message, and large numbers of gospel tracts and booklets were distributed from house to house. There were evidences that the Holy Spirit was working. Some people were broken down and in tears, and others were eager to hear the Word. The workers varied in age from young people in their teens to some between seventy and eighty, finding very real joy together in this service. Places visited included Milford, Haverfordwest, Fishguard. Cardigan, Llanbyddar, Lampeter, Carmarthen, Boncath, Kidwelly, Burry Port, etc. The Christians at Mountjoy Street, Newport, have been cheered by some expressing a desire for baptism. Five believers took this step at Port Talbot in October. Series of nightly meetings have been held in some of the South Wales assemblies, including Adamstown Hall, Cardiff, and Fforestfach, Swansea (by Jas. G. Hutchinson), Welcome Gospel Hall, Tavistock Street, Cardiff (by Aneurin Ward) and Aberdare (by W. A. Norris). (W. H. T.)

The Llanharan assembly was greatly cheered by a visit from Handel Evans. An unusual interest was shown by the numbers who attended the meetings, and it was felt that much prejudice (so common in the Welsh valleys) was removed. Many fellow-Christians spoke of blessing received, and one Sunday-school scholar professed faith in Christ. The old-age pensioners were remembered; a “spread” was provided for them, followed by a service. Our Pencoed brethren and sisters supported us well. (D. G. J.)

MAIDSTONE, KENT

In 1936, after a lapse of some 40 years, a small assembly, some 15 to 20 strong, was formed in Maidstone, the County Town of Kent, with a population of over 55,000. By God’s goodness the number in fellowship was doubled in the following three years, but then, owing to removals and the fact that the town was in the Defence Area for the anticipated German invasion, the number dwindled to about 20. Since the war there has been a gradual advance and there are now 35 in fellowship. A suitable corner site has been purchased in a rapidly-developing suburb, and it is proposed to erect a building comprising main hall, schoolroom, kitchen and offices. There is urgent need of the building, for the assembly has received notice to quit the premises which have been rented since 1939, and, whilst there is little evangelical witness in the town, there is none at all in many of the neighbouring villages. (L. B.)

KENT

Fred Howard (Bexleyheath) writes: “John Burns (Ayrshire) who has spent the summer season in North Kent with the Counties Evangelistic Work, came to Bexleyheath and gave valuable help to the assemblies at Welling, Lee, Richmond Hall, Plumstead, Sidcup, Belvedere, Barnehurst and Dartford, speaking at about 17 meetings. He also addressed a meeting of over 40 boys at the Erith Grammar School.”

PORTSMOUTH and SOUTHSEA

The four assemblies in Portsmouth combined in the autumn for a month’s gospel effort. The mission was preceded by combined prayer-meetings, and although the meetings were held for successive weeks in four different halls, yet the mission was essentially a joint one. Numbers attending were good from the start, and results were seen in souls turning to the Saviour. Several confessed the Lord in baptism at the end of the mission. The speaker throughout the campaign was John Norris (Belfast). A children’s mission, conducted at Southsea early in September by Phil. Widdison, was very well attended.

Early in November, G. K. Lowther (Grimsby) gave four addresses in the Gospel Hall, Drayton, especially with a view to helping converts. Time was allocated each evening to questions and answers and, although the meetings lasted for an hour and a half, the interest shown was so great that the time seemed all too short. (A. C. P.)

SEATON, DEVON

A series of evangelistic meetings covering nearly three weeks was held recently at Seaton, when Harold German was the evangelist. Numbers were good and the presence of unconverted people on every night was an encouragement. A very gracious work was apparent with the children, several making a profession, in addition to some adults. The Christians in the town and district were stirred and helped. (G. H. M.)

KINGSBRIDGE

Those who know this Devonshire town will be glad to hear that the war-damaged Gospel Hall has been repaired and reopened. In 1948, five years after the destructive bombing raid, a prayer-meeting was held in the basement of the ruined building. It was considered that repairs would cost at least £3,000, and local friends were joined by others from Lapford, Exeter, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Harbertonford to seek the mind of the Lord in the matter. After nearly four years of rebuffs and discouragements, the work of restoration was completed and the building reopened. Through the efforts of Arthur Pearce (the senior trustee) and Peter Grose (the architect), the War Damage Commission accepted in full the claim for nearly £3,000, leaving the assembly to bear the cost of replacing the seating and furnishings.

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