Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
From time to time the Lord takes to be with Himself a believer who has been a regular attender at all the assembly gatherings and has been engaged in the Lord's work to his or her utmost ability. The passing of such a child of God leaves a gap. We would do well to examine our own position, as to whether our departure would leave a gap or not. Would we be missed at the prayer meeting, or the ministry meeting? Would we leave a gap in the work of spreading the Gospel? If not we should endeavour to mend our ways while there is yet time, and let our Lord and Saviour have His rightful place in our lives.
Bristol. As many of our large cities continue to expand the residential areas move outwards. Frequently old established assemblies, which half a century or more ago were in populated neighbourhoods, now find themselves in entirely opposite circumstances with new communities growing rapidly a few miles away but with no evangelical witness there.
Downend, on the outskirts of Bristol, is one such district which has grown considerably in recent years. Several believers moved into the area to live and were exercised as to the establishing of a witness in the Gospel. As is often die case the first outreach, after the believers had been meeting weekly for fellowship, was aimed at reaching the children and this commenced in 1963. The work thrived, being held in hired school premises. Four years later services for the adults were started on Lord's Day evenings and at the opening of 1968 the believers decided the time had come to meet together in full assembly capacity. Since then there have been "coffee mornings" in the homes of sisters which have been well attended by those not connected with the assembly. On these occasions a brief Bible talk is given and discussion takes place.
As the work progresses, steadily and surely, the believers are exercised as to the time and place to have their own premises. While new ventures such as this inevitably take a few believers from larger, old established assemblies, there can be no doubt that such action, when subject to the guidance of the Lord, is in the line of His purpose for the spread of the Gospel.
Lancashire. N. Mellish was responsible for a series of Gospel rallies at Ashton-under-Lyne. Just a handful of believers maintain the testimony in this town and it is hoped that results will be seen from both the preaching and the distribution of the Word of God from door to door.
Three teenage girls from the Sunday School at Boarshaw Gospel Hall, Middleton, entered a Bible competition at a local rally. Winning at their first attempt they received a silver cup which was to be held for one month. This caused great interest in the neighbourhood and also at day school both among teachers and pupils. Others were encouraged as a result to study the Scriptures for themselves and to attend the meetings at the Gospel Hall.
We have previously reported on the start of the work at Maghull. The number in fellowship has now reached 36. Souls have been saved - the Sunday School camp last summer was a time of reaping -and some have been baptised. The school continues to thrive and the goodwill among the parents has led the believers to start a Gospel meeting on Lord's Days in the same school in which the Sunday School is held. The growth in the number in fellowship has meant that the believers have had to meet in the school to break bread instead of in a home as formerly. The problem of obtaining a site on which they can erect a hall is still unsolved.
Most of the inhabitants of Great Harwood have now received a Gospel leaflet through the county tract band, and a number of people have asked for correspondence courses as a result. Much help was given by the believers at the Gospel Hall, Rishton. Literature distribution has continued steadily in the Rossendale Valley with the help of believers from Bury and Burnley. Almost all of the Ramsbottom area lias now been reached and also parts of Haslingden.
Eastern Scotland. During the eight weeks of this year, J. Campbell held Gospel meetings in Newburgh, on the Perth-Fife border. The children's work was, as usual, most prosperous with the consequent result that many homes were visited with the Gospel. During the course of the campaign the adult response grew from nothing until during the last week the hall was almost full. At the closing meeting there were 70 local folk present including more than 50 unsaved adults. Three women waited behind and showed real concern.
The evangelist is able to return at weekends for conversations, and it is felt that the Spirit is working in the area. Recently a woman was saved in the district who had regularly attended the meetings and had been convicted through reading a tract.
W. Thomson held a series of meetings at Dundonald Fifeshire, and a young married couple attended who had become dissatisfied with their previous denominational gathering. They now attend the very small assembly in Bowhill where all have been encouraged to see their interest in all the assembly activities.
A good interest was evident when this evangelist was at Leslie, and three souls professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Southern Scotland. The believers at Newton Stewart have been encouraged by three teenage girls recently making a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. They attend both Sunday School and a week-night class and appear eager to learn more.
The Gospel rallies in Helensburgh are attracting the unsaved in, the meetings being well attended. The assembly at Miller Street Clydebank, are also having good times at their Gospel rallies.
The work at Penicuik, East Lothian, continues with a kitchen meeting on Tuesday evenings and a meeting on the Lord's Day in a rented hall.
The assembly at Gorgie, Edinburgh, has commended B. Smith to full-time service for the Lord. He has held a series of Gospel meetings in Mid Calder, a village where there is no testimony.
Special meetings for children were held in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, by D. McMaster, and good numbers of youngsters attended.
The assembly at Linwood, Renfrewshire, arranged a fortnight of Gospel meetings with R. Walker as the preacher. There were good attendances and one person made a profession of faith. Some of this interest has been maintained and a few townsfolk continue to come to the regular Gospel meetings.
During the winter six months four assemblies in this shire hold regular Saturday evening meetings. One of the three hold a Gospel meeting, the others ministry meetings. The location of the Gospel effort changes for the second half of the winter.
Northern Ireland. R. Beattie and S. McBride held nine weeks of Gospel meetings in a portable hall erected at Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone. There is no assembly in this little town but those from several miles around gave good support. Numbers of local folk attended and all were encouraged to know that a number professed salvation as a result.
R. McCluckie preached for several weeks in Central Hall, Bangor, in Co. Down. Sickness and bad weather hindered many who wished to attend, but even so several spoke of being saved. Some of these came from the families of believers, others were complete outsiders.
The need to instruct new converts in the things that are pleasing to their Lord is often overlooked. Following the long and fruitful effort of T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson in Ballymagarrick which was reported in a previous issue, J. K. Duff led two weeks of Bible Readings dealing with 1st Corinthians. These were well attended and proved helpful to all, especially to those who had recently been saved.
The village of Broughshane, a few miles from Ballymena, Co. Antrim, was the scene of a special series of Gospel meetings taken by A. Lyttle and J. Brown. It proved difficult to get many of the local folk to attend, but believers from the surrounding countryside supported the effort well, bringing their families as well. Several young people were blessed with salvation as a result.
H. German preached for four weeks in Ballyhackamore Hall, Belfast, and here again the weather affected numbers. Nevertheless one lad who had been concerned for several years found salvation and peace of heart.
W. Peterson from Australia recently visited several assemblies in the north of Ireland. He had interesting ministry meetings in Bethany Hall, Finaghy, Belfast, where he dealt with prophetic subjects and with many modern trends such as the ecumenical movement.
London Village Work. Until 1939 there were eight strong bands of brethren who went out from London assemblies on summer Saturday afternoons to take the Gospel to outlying villages and estates. Since the war there has been a great decline in numbers and the result is that many places now receive no visit with the Gospel. The north-west section has been reduced to three regular workers, all from one assembly, and it will be evident to all that the amount of work that can be done by so few is very limited. Will you pray that the hearts of young brethren may be moved to go out during the coming summer months to take the Gospel of the grace of God to perishing sinners? Any assembly or workers who wish to learn more of this work and to see colour slides of the villages, are invited to telephone 01-903-0993.
Northampton. Our final report is of another new assembly. After labouring for eleven years in Sunday School and Gospel meetings, some twelve believers remembered their Lord in the way He desired at Bective Road Gospel Hall, Northampton, last December. Situated on a large municipal estate in an area which is due for great expansion, the task and the opportunity confronting die assembly are great, but our God is able.