Gospel Work and other Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
We would remind readers that the workers whose names are mentioned in the following reports are in no way responsible to the Committee of Precious Seed. These brief items are samples of that which the Lord is enabling His people to carry out, and we trust that as a result of perusing the pages that follow all who read will be more exercised than before concerning the need of this land for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Cornwall. To most folk the county of Cornwall brings thoughts of holidays. It is a county that has known Christian influence from time to time, not least in the days when John Wesley visited it on horseback, knowing sometimes a real response to the Gospel and at others just as real a persecution for Christ's sake. In later years it knew a revival of evangelism, with many dramatic conversions, like that of Billy Bray, a former miner and reckless drunkard.
The twentieth century has seen a decline in most groups of believers in the county; assemblies have never been numerous there in contrast to neighbouring Devon, and are small and far apart. Yet many have served the Lord there in itinerant ministry in the villages, and in tent and sand services.
Last year S. Ford spent a while in the county holding meetings in a tent and on the beaches. Partly as a result of this visit some believers were brought together in Truro and now meet together in New Testament simplicity. The evangelist plans to return this summer; indeed by the time these words are read the nine week effort, including three weeks of daily sand services at St. Ives, will be drawing to a conclusion.
Bristol. A week of meetings taken by R. Whitten at St. Nicholas Road Gospel Hall in May culminated in the 93rd Sunday School Anniversary. Over one hundred youngsters were present each night, including those from India, Pakistan and the West Indies. The evangelist was invited by a local headmistress to speak to the children in their classrooms. Special activities were arranged for the teenagers.
Central Wales. In April the assembly at Aberystwyth was enabled to arrange its first baptismal service since the initial few started breaking bread early in 1964. There were baptised three students, who had learned of these and other associated truths through contact with the assembly which has grown to include a number of local families and many students. W. Trew of Cardiff spent four days with the assembly speaking helpfully and with conviction on the subject of baptism at the baptismal service, at which some 70 folks were present.
The exercise of the assembly is to provide a sphere of true scriptural fellowship for students and visitors not permanently in the town. One result of being so cut off by distance from neighbouring assemblies is that visiting speakers are rare, and local gift is therefore encouraged and developed, with opportunities for service that might be lacking elsewhere.
The Sunday School is small, but one class is taken in Welsh to meet local needs. The midweek meeting lasts for nearly two hours. Prayer is not thereby curtailed, and the Bible Reading that follows is a centre of interest, attracting one or two from outside.
Swindon. After some ten years of witness in various centres on estates, Park Gospel Hall, Park North, was opened on Good Friday. The Lord has been pleased to bless the work in this area, several young folk having sought Him in faith and others have asked for baptism. This is the second new hall to be opened in Swindon in recent years and another at Wroughton is in process of completion. Since the opening, a woman long prayed for sought the Lord on her knees one Lord's Day evening.
Lancashire. Believers met for many years in the Gospel Hall, Park Road, Oldham, which was demolished a couple of years ago. The assembly continued to meet in hired schoolrooms until the opening took place in May of the new Park Gospel Hall, erected on an excellent site, in the midst of a new estate. A goodly company came to the opening and their prayer was that this building might be a means of making known the worth of the Saviour in that area.
The tiny gathering at Boarshaw, Middleton, which has only about eight believers in fellowship, were encouraged recently by the baptism of a young lady.
Southern Scotland. R. McPheat held meetings at Calderbank earlier this year, and as a result a weeknight Gospel meeting was continued. At one of these meetings in April there was a notable conversion.
The same speaker spent the month of March with the Tylefield Assembly, Glasgow. On the last Lord's Day evening five were baptised, including an elderly lady, and over two hundred witnessed this act of obedience.
P. Brandon was at Port Seton for three weeks in March, and during the second and third weeks the hall was well filled each night. A number of house meetings caused many of the neighbours to bring their youngsters so that all heard the Word. Opportunity was also given for bringing the Gospel before the senior pupils of a nearby school. The Lord was pleased to bless in the salvation of some eight souls and the restoration of others. Several of the new converts were present at the baptism of a young man in April, and since the campaign a few more have professed to trust the Saviour.
At Port Glasgow two weeks were devoted to special meetings for the young folk taken by D. Cameron. The High School was hired and attendances were over the hundred, the Sunday School roll increasing as a result. The week following was devoted to ministry from the book of Ezra given by H. Bell.
How little we really know of the Gospels! E. Grant of Glasgow spent two weeks at Alexandria on the subject of "Christ in the Gospels", the meetings being well attended and the saints refreshed.
At Creetown, Wigtownshire, residents were reluctant to attend meetings in the hall, but J. Aitken had freedom in conversation and literature was readily accepted. When the meetings were transferred to the portable hall numbers greatly increased.
Another special effort was made at Penicuik, near Edinburgh, in March. Good numbers listened to J. Aitken; several were saved and others restored. A cottage meeting is now held each Tuesday for the benefit of the converts and others who are interested.
For some three years the Challenge magazine has been distributed in Peebles. Formerly these were placed in some 2,000 homes, but this spring the number was reduced to those genuinely interested, enabling the workers to concentrate on about 800 houses. Meetings for young people have proved very" profitable. The few believers have recently approached the Council for a plot of ground on which to erect a hall.
The assembly at Glenburn, Prestwick, arranged a fortnight's effort in May with B. Sutton as the preacher. In spite of publicity local folk were slow to respond but numbers were good in the end. A youth from Irvine, brought by a recently converted nurse, professed conversion. W. McNeill spoke on the last Lord's Day and another nurse was saved.
Coventry. Church St. Gospel Hall was opened in a working class district in a back street in the year 1928. In spite of open air work, campaigns of up to three weeks duration and tract distribution the believers never experienced the joy of seeing die people in the area coming to the meetings.
In 1964 the distribution of Challenge was started, simply dropping the magazines through the letter boxes of 1,000 houses. After five months the workers knocked to ask who wished to continue to receive it, and 500 intimated to this effect. In May a week was devoted to special meetings for those receiving Challenge each meeting being three-quarters of an hour in duration and followed by refreshments. During this week there were one hundred and twenty-nine visits from "strangers", a number of whom are now showing a real interest. One middle aged man stated that he had wanted to attend the hall since receiving the magazine but had never been able to pluck up the courage. The special meetings gave him his opportunity.
The whole assembly has been helped and encouraged as a result, and the young believers especially have been caused to mature spiritually.
Unless there is some outreach of this sort an assembly is not fulfilling its function of taking the Word of God to those who will not or cannot come to the regular meetings.
Devon. In 1962 we reported the opening of the new hall at Cullompton where there has been an assembly since 1932. The work has since gone from strength to strength -and it was necessary to build an annexe, primarily to house the expanding Sunday School and youth activities.
A large company met in May to give thanks for the opening of this annexe, among them being two members of the original small group who some thirty-six years before had felt the Lord's call to meet in the way set out in the New Testament. P. Mendham, who had taken part in the original opening meetings, ministered from Genesis 26, reminding his audience that with the joys of enlargement there was a need to guard against other things seen in that chapter - the destructive influences of strife and hatred.
Mobile Units. At 7.30 a.m. on Good Friday some 35 believers met at Waltham Abbey, Essex, for a prayer meeting before going out with the N.W. London Unit bearing the message that the Saviour lives. It was very encouraging to find that 31 of these were young folk, and as the unit with the accompanying cars stopped at various villages it was the young brethren that gave the message. Tracts were given out from door to door and many contacts were made. At one spot four followers of Rome were very attentive, promising to think on eternal things. Arriving home at 8 p.m., tired but happy, the workers were much encouraged as they reflected on the response to their message. Not the least of their blessings had been the practical fellowship shown by the believers at Hatfield and Ongar in providing for their bodily needs.
Cambridgeshire. After ten years of Gospel meetings and Sunday School work fourteen believers met together to remember the Lord at the beginning of April in the Tent Hall, Market St., Ely. During a week of ministry meetings that month the help of B. Sutton of Cardiff was much appreciated.
Northern Ireland. Newtownbreda Gospel Hall is in a fast growing district on the outskirts of Belfast. The hall was erected some years ago and the assembly is growing. J. G. Hutchinson had a spell of well attended Gospel meetings and a number professed conversion. In the Cregagh St. Hall several spoke of accepting the Saviour during ten weeks in which J. Martin told forth the Word of Life. Some distance across the city another effort in the Gospel was made by our brethren McBride and Ferguson. Attendances were fair, and a married couple brought by one of the believers believed in the Saviour. There was disappointment however, that there were no known cases of conversion among the families of the believers, quite a number being still unsaved. Is one of our readers in this category? If so do not delay but have the greatest of your problems dealt with, even your sin, by accepting the Saviour whom God offers you.
At the Gospel meeting at the close of the Belfast Easter Conference about 2,500 were present to listen to J. G. Hutchinson. It is known that two professed faith and well over 300 asked for booklets.
H. German held four weeks of Gospel meetings at Wellington St. Hall, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. A number professed conversion including some young folk from the Sunday School.
Our brethren McShane and Turkington had good numbers during meetings at Drumreagh, Co. Tyrone. All concerned were encouraged to know of a number stating that they had been saved as a result of the meetings.
A week of ministry meetings at Parkgate Hall, Belfast, taken by J. Allen dealt with the character of the apostle Peter. Many practical lessons were drawn from the incidents recorded in the Gospels concerning this great man.