Reports of Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities

C. H. Darch, Taunton, England

Category: Report

We are grateful to all those who write to us – whether they send criticism or encouragement. Some readers ask why our reports do not give a fuller picture of what is being done through­out the British Isles. A letter from one of our Correspondents provides the answer. He tells us that he has written about 80 letters asking for reports of various activities, but received only 4 replies! We hope all our Correspondents do not find their work as difficult as this, but we, know that most of them have somewhat similar experiences.

Our Correspondents are busy men, but they willingly spend time and money in connection with the Magazine. When one of them asks you for a report will you encourage him by a prompt response?

Perhaps you know of something worth reporting which has escaped the notice of our Correspondent, If so please send details to Norman M. Bond, Westcroft, Whitchurch Road, Tavistock.

N. M. B.


Harold Bentall, with John Knight and Phil. Widdison, had special meetings at the well-known holiday resort of St. Ives.


After some months of difficulty and dis­appointment the assembly at Cowes (Isle of Wight) has now been able to transfer, to rebuilt premises at East Cowes. The new work is very encouraging, the Sunday School is quite large already, and at times there have been up to 80 persons present at the gospel meeting. Discussions with the War Damage Committee have been beset with difficulty. Prayer is requested that the remaining obstacles may be overcome.


Believers in the Marine Hail assembly, Eastbourne, first met in the Empire Hall, Bourne Street, In 1893 a hall was built in Seaside and named the Marine Hall. Since those days many have been saved in the Sunday School and gospel meetings, baptized and received into fellowship. In 1912 the assembly moved to a hall in Longstone Road, but since the second world war they have returned to the Marine Hall, which has been renovated and improved.


In connection with the Herefordshire Christian Young People's Movement, Denis G. Barnes of Scotland held a tent mission in the village of Kingsland. Attendance at the meetings for chil­dren readied the maximum of 86, many of them coming by bus Iron the neighbouring village of Shobdon, A travelling Fair, pitched in the same field as the Gospel Tent, stir veil only to increase the attendance by three children belonging to the Fair folk. Adults from Shobdon asked if transport could be provided to bring them to the mission, find it was arranged that the children's bus slum Id be used for the purpose. As a result the adult services were well attended, and one woman came out clearly for the Lord. A young woman said that she and her friend had both accepted the Saviour after the tent hart left Shobdon last year.


After the mission at Kingsland the tent was moved to Bartestree. Attendances here were much smaller but at least six children professed faith in Christ. At Bartestree a Rally for the county children was held and about 300 were present. After this Rally some hooligans released the tent ropes, and the workers had to re-erect the tent hurriedly to have it ready for the Sunday School. A few days later, on the occasion of a dance in the public hall, the missioner took the precaution of waiting in the tent until almost midnight. He surprised four youths in the act of dropping the tent again and they had such a fright at being discovered that they caused no further trouble.


Llangarron was the next site for the Herefordshire Tent and numbers of children attended the opening meeting. Some of them had cycled three miles or so and, as the workers anticipated, numbers fell off as the mission proceeded. The campaign -was closed with reluctance, because it was felt that several children were at the point of decision.


Dan Cameron held a mission at Sandi-way where he renewed contacts made on a previous visit. The meetings were not as well attended as had been hoped, but the members of the local assembly were encouraged and the Sunday School is now well established with 40 children on the roll. The missioner then conducted a tent mission at Westfields in Hereford, where there was a good response from the children. P. Cox is endeavouring to follow up the effort by obtaining the use of a hall on the estate so that a Sunday School can be commenced.


The tent services held at Hanham, Bristol, were conducted by Derek Frost and C. H. Darch.  Numbers were not large, hut the same people came constantly. This was especially the case with fee children, who, except one, were very well behaved and listened to the message intently. Several appeared to be anxious about their sins and to have been blessed. Mr. and Mrs. Bartley are turning an outhouse into a hull at considerable expense so that the meetings may be continued, and it is their hope to start an assembly there in time if the Lord will. They have had a gathering in their home for some time and not a few have been brought to the Lord as a result. Mrs. Bardsley's girls' sewing-meeting seems to have been particularly blessed of God.


Dawlish Warren was the site of the Exeter Sunday Schools Boys' Camp and about 40 officers and boys assembled for a week's splendid camping. Despite unsettled weather they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A fair proportion of Christian boys attended the midday Padre's Hour, and at each evening epilogue the gospel was very faithfully presented to all. About 50 girls camped at Seaton, where they had a very happy time. Mrs. F, James (China) look charge of the spiritual side of the camp mid a testimony meeting concluded the routine. At both camps a number professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Although we usually print up-to-date news we feel that the following report from Guernsey is too interesting to be omitted. "When half the Island's population was evacuated in June, 1940, the assembly was reduced to 16 in fellowship. Meetings were permitted provided they were strictly religions and non-political, although open-air testimony was forbidden. In early 1941 twenty-thousand slave labourers (French and French Colonials) were imported to build fortifications. Of these half-starved and ill clad men, four thousand were housed in requisitioned property in town, whilst the remainder were accommodated in Camps outside. Despite an order forbidding contact with these men (under severe penalty) a weekly Sunday service in French was arranged for their benefit. Invitation was by personal contact and although many hundreds were thus contacted and brought under the sound of the gospel, not once did the Germans interfere. This special effort went on for eighteen months, during which time there were several known cases of conversion."


Harold Bentall spent two months with car and caravan in Cambridgeshire, visiting the villages of Cottinham, Rampton. Willingham, Swavesey, Long Stanton and Elsworth. Sometimes 70 to 80 children gathered, and later in the evenings the adults brought out their chairs and listened to the glorious message. One man in particular came to each meeting and expressed concern. Late one evening he was led to the Lord.


A good company enjoyed profitable ministry from Ernest Barker and J. H. Large at the Felixstowe Annual Conference in September. R. G.

Lord (Guildford) gave five days' ministry an September on prophetic subjects at the Kemball Street Hall, Ipswich. G. C. D. Howley (Purley) ministered for a week at Earl Stonham on Paul and the Corinthians.


A work that has given cheer and shown promise is that which has recently been undertaken, in connection with a new housing estate on the out­skirts of Gateshead. For about three years that district has caused an exercise in the hearts of some of the Lord's people, and this year it was decided "to do something about it." Whilst there had been spasmodic attempts to reach the people by way of open-air meetings and tract distribution, it was decided in February last to tackle the job with greater earnestness and more thoroughness. One local brother gave up part of his annual holiday and joined forces with D. Mackenzie Miller. Children's open-air meetings formerly held once weekly gave place to daily open-air meetings over a period of a week, with nightly attendances of 100 to 150 children at each service. As a result, 6 in the 13-14 age group professed conversion. Since then, evidences of reality have been noticed. Evening services for adults were held in the Methodist Church Hall, which was loaned without any charge; an average of 60 to 80 adults attended nightly. A daughter of a believer in the Gateshead assembly professed to be saved, her interest having been aroused by the meetings held.


After the encouraging three weeks at Shiney Row, the tent was moved to Forest Hall, where it remained for three weeks. Here it proved to he hard going. A move, was made, to Newsham near Blyth, and four weeks were spent there. Very large children's meetings were a. special feature, 80 to 100 being present each night, whilst at adult meetings the average was about 35. Local believers gave valiant support, and in turn were themselves greatly blessed.


A Christian Convention was held for a week at Hazlehead, Aberdeen, when the special topic of discussion was "Discipleship," The speakers were R. D. Johnstone (Glasgow), J. Rollo (Kirkcaldy), A. Fallaize and D. Walker (Aberdeen). The attend­ances were good, and times of refreshing were experienced from the presence of the Lord. The Convention was followed by a fort­night's gospel campaign in the Northern area of the city. Con­siderable, interest was aroused, and several professed faith in Christ. The preachers were A. Fallaize and D. Walker. Sam Cupples (missionary from Palestine and Egypt) visited Aberdeen and gave soul-stirring accounts, illustrated by lantern slides, of faithful work done among the soldiers of the Mediterranean Garrisons. He sought prayer for the continuance of rich blessing, which the Lord had been pleased to vouchsafe upon the work


During the summer season, gospel tent campaigns were conducted in Holytown and Viewpark. The preacher was again Sam Thompson (Newtownards). In both places he was well supported by believers from neighbouring assemblies, and the large attendances main­tained throughout the whole course of the meetings were most encouraging. In Holytown a few were saved and a notable feature was the large number of backsliders (as many as twelve on some occasions) who attended the meetings. Some of these were restored and added to the small local assembly. In Viewpark there were some fine cases of conversion; these numbered about six. Also same backsliders were restored. For the closing nights the meet­ings were transferred to Union Hall, Uddingston, where the nearest assembly meets. This helped to introduce; those attending the meetings in the tent to the regular assembly meetings.


R. K. Bashford records two incidentswhich give an insight into the Mobile Unit work. Incident 1. -The scene is set in the heart of London's West End crowds. It is Sunday evening, and the Evangelistic Mobile Unit stands opposite Oxford Circus Station. Many people are passing to and fro, but as one powerful message after another is given there seems to be little response. The time comes for the meeting to close, and the team lender offers Gospels to any who may be interested. At first there is no movement in the crowd, but as the appeal is repeated, suddenly a man pushes his way from the back and takes one. Then a woman holds out her hand for a copy. Team workers are soon talking to both these people. It is not long before the man enters the Unit for prayer and a quiet talk, in which the way of salvation is clearly explained to him. Then he cries to the Lord asking Him to save him, and quickly joy chases away the former misery from his tear-stained face. But what of the woman? As she talks with the worker she confesses that she could spend all night telling him of her life of sin: she fears she has gone too far to be saved. However, she is assured by the worker that the Saviour receives the repentant sinner, irrespective of how deep in sin hi; or she may have sunk. Upon this, the lonely woman, bereft of husband and five children, burst into tears and asked the Lord Jesus to pardon her. Incident 2.—The Unit was parked on one (if South-West London's commons. About 100 people listened to three powerful gospel messages. All seemed to be going well when a young man interrupted, challenging the authenticity of the Scriptures. The crowd was amused. However, as the questions, accusations and doubts expressed were an­swered one by one, the crowd became quiet. A further opportunity was thus afforded to preach to the crowd, which was by then packed tightly around the vehicle. Opposition was thereby turned into opportunity by the overruling hand of God.


The Lord gave interest and tokens of His hand during tent work at Llanelly conducted by T. W. Hickley and A. E. Ward. In Swansea, at Brynhyfryd, J. Dan Jones was encouraged by attendance at tent meetings, especially of children. R. S. Jones found tent work at Clydach difficult, hut the Lord granted help in reaching the young with the gospel. Open-air work at Fforestfach this summer has been particularly encouraging, In the Park on Sunday evenings, numbers have sat on the grassy hank to hear the Word. In the Steel Housing estate on Sunday afternoons, interest increased and each week people seem to be waiting with open windows to hear God's good news of salvation. The Word was ministered at Fforestfach by H. P. Barker for four evenings and the Lord's people were helped. The Lord also granted a season of special help at the Swansea United Conference when the speakers were A. Fallaize and D. Gooding. The tent work at Hawthorn-Rhydyfelin continued until early September and the interest shown by the children throughout gave cause for thanksgiving Lo God. When the United Weekly Open-Air Meetings were held in Cathays Park, Cardiff, numbers of people waiting for their buses for the Valleys heard the Word and received tracts.


A few months after a gospel campaign at Cullion, Co. Londonderry, Charles McEwen and James G. Hutchinson, pitched a tent and commenced meetings. After some house-to-house visitation many people of the district attended the meetings and, although the tent was pitched a few miles from the nearest town, as many as 150 gathered together on Lord's Days. During the meetings a number professed salvation, including some who had often been prayed for. A young lady from the district had at ten tied the earlier meetings and had then gone to England as a nurse. During the tent meetings her companion was saved and sent a letter to her conveying the joyful news. The result was that, two days later, the nurse too accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour in her own bedroom at the hospital.


A profitable series of tent meetings was held at Ballygowan, a small village a few miles from Belfast. A new tent was pur­chased and three business men, Samuel Morrow of Belfast, Eric Glasgow of Newtownards and James Brown of Bangor, with the assistance of others, conducted a six weeks' gospel campaign. Many souls were blessed with God's salvation, among them a man of 72 years of age who had been prayed for very often. He has since been called Home to be with the Lord. The tent was then pitched at Raffrey, Crossgar, where again the Lord manifested His presence and power in the salvation of souls.


A tent mission was conducted by Victor Cirel in a large housing estate at Mount Merrion on the outskirts of Dublin. Attendance was good each night, and oil some occasions then were quite a. number standing both inside and outside the tent. Several made a profession during the effort and it is felt that the work was well worth while. It is a very long time since, a tent mission was conducted in or abound Dublin, and the results haw been watched with keen interest. The assembly in Sydney Hall, BJ tick rock, Co. Dublin, was primarily responsible, and help was given by young people from Merrion Hall assembly.

A NEW ASSEMBLY. As a result of a gospel effort by George Pirie, who was working in the area of Gamlingay for ten weeks, there has been much blessing, many having been saved, especially among young people; also some Christians were restored to the Lord. An assembly has been formed and meetings are held in the Conservative Hall. Correspondence should be addressed to H. Davies, 57 Biggleswade Road, Potton, Sandy, Beds.

GOSPEL BROADCASTS. We are glad to note that opportunity continues to be given by the B. B. C. for the broadcasting of gospel messages. Several of our brethren have been able to make use of this method of evangelism, and for this a great deal of credit is due to W. H. Clare for his patient work in paving the way. As we go to press we look forward with prayerful interest to a broadcast on Oct. 28th by George Harpur.