Charminster

W Heather

Part 2 of 6 of the series How it Started

Just over 20 years ago the Bournemouth Corporation built a large number of Council Houses at the out­skirts of the town, in the district now known as Charminster. People were moving in rapidly and settling down to suburban life, isolated from any place of worship, with no provision, and perhaps little concern, for their spiritual needs.

What was to be done? God moves in mysterious, ways His wonders to perform, and the death of a baby resulted in the birth of an Assembly which was destined to rise from the humblest beginnings into a strong and vigorous community, numbering to-day about 90 members, many of them eager young men and women.

Sorrow came into the home of a sister in fellowship in the Boscombe Assembly, who was living near this Housing Estate. The Lord called her little child to Himself, but instead of this making her heart bitter it led her to enquire whether the Lord had some special purpose in His dealing with her. In this state of mind she became greatly exercised about the need of these people, and having shared her concern with another sister, and after much prayer, they com­menced a Mother’s Meeting in her own home. Now the needs of the numerous children in the area stirred the hearts of others in the Boscombe Assembly and a Sunday School was opened in an empty two-roomed cottage, to which the Mother’s Meeting was also transferred.

Homes were regularly visited during the week and on Sundays splendid Open-air Meetings were held. As the winter came on these Open-air Meetings gave place to Gospel Services in the old cottage. Much blessing followed, particularly in the conversion of several women, which seemed to be a gracious sign of the Lord’s approval of the initial stages of the work.

Interest in the meetings grew to such an extent, that the cottage became overcrowded and it became obvious that a Hall was called for. The friends at Boscombe came forward whole-heartedly with gifts and loans of money which made it possible to pur­chase a plot of ground on which a fine Hall with good classroom accommodation was erected.

This Hall was opened in January, 1927, with a very encouraging fortnight’s mission conducted by Mr. George Titcombe. Several were converted and when they were baptised a Breaking of Bread Meeting was held on Sunday evenings for their benefit. Eventually an Assembly was formed with the co­operation of brethren and sisters from local Assemblies.

The work continued to expand and special mention should be made of work amongst the lads of the neighbourhood carried on by young brethren who organised week-night activities, early morning and afternoon services on Sundays, and camps in the summer. Many of the lads who were won for the Lord in this way are now actively helping in the Assembly. A splendid Sunday School work is going on, the majority of the teachers being themselves converts from the Sunday School and Bible Classes.