Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
The blitz of 1942 completely destroyed the hall at Heavitree, Exeter, where for nearly 50 years a testimony had been maintained. After a period spent in part of a nearby house, the assembly moved into a new building on the original site in June, 1950. It was felt by many that a special gospel campaign should be held. Much prayer was made, and in November, 1951, Harold German (Aberdeen) faithfully preached the gospel for three weeks to large companies of young and old. The assembly continued instant in prayer throughout the campaign, with the result that souls were saved, backsliders restored, and believers blessed. Since moving into the new hall, the Sunday School has increased considerably and blessing has been experienced. A recent testimonymeeting conducted by the Sunday-school teachers was so well attended by parents and scholars that extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate everybody.
A mission was held at Chapelfield Hall, Whipton (Exeter), in November and December, Arthur Wallis being the preacher. Much prayer was made for God’s blessing in the salvation of souls, but the answer was withheld, though on some evenings the hall was filled to capacity. “God is faithful,” however, and we feel that the fulfilment of His promises is but delayed.
Following a tent campaign conducted at Weybourne, 1 1/2 miles from Aldershot, by J. H. Bathgate of the Counties Evangelistic Work, a Sunday School was started in the Village Hall. This school of about 50 children is the joint responsibility of the Farnham and Aldershot assemblies. (J. Dean)
George Harpur (Bristol) paid a four-day visit to the Garfield Hall, Portsmouth. Meetings were well attended, those present including unsaved parents of the Sunday School scholars. (F. Simmonds.)
BOVINGTON CAMP, DORSET
No doubt some of our readers receive News Letters from Ted Hague. His witness for the Lord in the large military establishment at Bovington is not without its difficulties and discouragements, but it is certainly a light in a dark place and our brother’s care for the bodily and spiritual welfare of Christian soldiers passing through the camp has been greatly appreciated.
The work referred to in a previous issue as commencing at the Lobley Hill Estate, Gateshead, has been continued, permission having been given to use the local Council School. The first meetings here were held in January as a Sunday School proper, when the attendance was 143; on the following Sunday, 174 were present. A pleasing feature of the work has been that those who have professed conversion came along, these averaging 13 years of age. There are seven workers who undertake responsibility for these labours, one having a class of 44! A very definite answer to prayer has been seen in the provision of seating accommodation in a quite remarkable way, and this has been a great encouragement.
James Paul conducted a 16 days’ mission in Maxwell Hall, South Shields. A feature of this effort was the persistent visiting of homes, and in this our brother has shown himself to be most efficient; it is calculated that. 1,500 homes were touched in this way. A number of souls professed salvation, both adults and young people, the latter ranging from 12 to 14 years of age. Special rallies were well supported by believers from local assemblies. Open-air workers co-operated with the evangelist in the home visitation.
The late W. H. Hunter, of Manchester, was instrumental in forming the assembly at Bright Hall, Eccles, Manchester, which celebrated its jubilee last year. Over 250 believers attended meetings addressed by Harold St. John, and in the evening opportunity was provided for reports and testimonies. Two of the original members, now 84 years of age, attended the meetings, as did six of the seven people who were baptized in the hall 46 years ago. (W. D. Hunter)
At Laurencekirk, a village 30 miles south of Aberdeen, with a population of 1,400, G. H. German held gospel meetings in his tent last year. Great interest was shown, about 45 to 50 attending during the week evenings and about 70 on Sundays. The message was told out clearly and with power, and 12 professed faith in the Lord Jesus. A gospel meeting has since been held every Sunday evening in the public hall and, although numbers have not been so large, a good interest is maintained. A Bible reading is conducted each week with a view to establishing the believers. One sister has recently been baptized and received into assembly fellowship at Montrose (seven miles away). The annual conference at Peterhead was the largest on record. Several visiting-brethren gave appreciated help. At the close of the Sundayevening gospel service a young man in his twenties received the Saviour. Joe Merson visited Ullapool in the north-west of Scotland. There is no assembly, but he was able to rent a hall and conduct gospel meetings. A fair interest was shown, especially on the Sunday evenings. A young man from Gardenstown, saved while at the Yarmouth fishing, has been baptized and received into assembly fellowship. (C. R. Taylor)
The assemblies at Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Llanfairfechan and Rhyl have united for Saturday-evening ministry meetings once a fortnight during the winter months, renting for the purpose the Co-operative Hall, Colwyn. These gatherings, along with the Annual Meetings at Llandudno, have been seasons of spiritual help, encouragement and profit. After exercise and prayer, an effort was made to take the gospel into the town of Conway. A public hall was rented and our brother John Dan Jones invited to conduct the services. The Lord granted help to His servant and quite a number came under the sound of the Word, subsequent contacts revealing a desire for help on the part of some.
The assembly at Deri, near Bargoed, was grateful to the Lord for granting times of revival and blessing during the visit of Handel Evans. Strangers gathered from night to night, and former prejudices were brushed aside. The meetings were continued for three weeks, and three adults spoke of being saved and are continuing regularly at the meetings. One of these has confessed the Lord in baptism and has been received into fellowship in the local assembly. He had been attending the weekly gospel-meetings for some months but became deeply concerned one night while Handel Evans gave a message from Rev. 3. 20. It is felt that others were also aroused. The Lord granted seasonable and helpful ministry at the Annual Meetings at the Heath Gospel Hall, Cardiff, and at Bridgend, also at the New Year Meetings at Adamsdown Hall, Cardiff. Four believers were baptized in the Adamsdown Hall and have since been received into the assembly. Others are exercised about this step. G. G. Hanlon (China) had a week's well-attended meetings at Ynysybwl preceding their Conference. D. G. Hunt and R. Bryant were also speakers at the Conference, the latter remaining for a week’s further meetings. The ministry of the Word throughout was appreciated.
BELFAST, N. IRELAND
A four weeks’ gospel campaign was recently held in King’s Bridge Gospel Hall, Belfast, the speaker being Fred Whitmore. Special prayer-meetings were held on the ten evenings preceding the commencement of the campaign, and 5,000 invitation cards were distributed in the district. The sweet story of the gospel was preached night after night with great power, and an occasional open-air “march” was held. Not until the last night of the meetings was any fruit forthcoming, and then a young woman and a man were saved. A boy was saved the following night at a ministry-meeting. After the conclusion of the campaign in Belfast, our brother conducted a series of gospel meetings in Ballyclare, and while he was there a man who had attended the Belfast meetings regularly was blessed with God’s salvation. All these converts are now attending the meetings in King’s Bridge Hall. (J. Ferguson)
F. L. Pontin, who, with his wife and their two children, has come from London to live in Cork, intends to do colportage work in the south of Ireland, particularly in the Cork district, and also to help in the local assembly. G. Thomas and his wife are now residing in Mohill, Co. Leitrim, with Mrs. Dobson; they have been working in the counties of Leitrim and Longford. At Athlone (Westmeath) they suffered some persecution but they hope to return to the area this year. Meetings have been held in Mohill, Drumshambo, Longford, Sligo, Clones, Carrick-on-Shannon and Athlone. A car has been provided to help them in covering the area, and they are hoping to get a caravan so that they can stay in or near the towns where they are working.
LANCASHIRE GOSPEL TENT
In our September/October number we referred to the destruction by fire of the Lancashire Gospel Tent. We now reprint the following from the report issued by the evangelist, Fred Whitmore. “Looking back we acknowledge the wisdom of our God in withholding the knowledge of future difficulties, encouraging us the rather with the promise of His continued presence and grace. These we proved to be unfailing throughout the numerous trials we afterwards were called upon to face. Words that proved to be a preparation of heart for the testings immediately ahead, were impressed upon us in the text of Proverbs 24. 10. ‘If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small.’ The knowledge of the future is oftimes wisely withheld, but preparation to meet it is always given. Tonge Moor, a thickly-populated estate on the outskirts of Bolton and dominated by an aggressive type of Anglo-Catholicism, presents a tremendous challenge to evangelical testimony. In accepting such a challenge, opposition is to be expected and certainly has been experienced. Much-appreciated help was given by the assemblies throughout the Bolton area. The generous use of the van and the loudspeaker proved a great asset, especially in gathering together large companies of children. The adult meetings were small, the local response especially so, but it was a pleasing sight to look upon 150 children regularly drinking in the gospel message, some of whom professed to personally accept the Lord Jesus. The children appeared to be as genuinely grieved as we ourselves when it became known that the tent was completely destroyed by fire. Upon whom the responsibility for such an act rests we know not, neither the motive that prompted it; sufficient for us that all is known to the Lord. May He of His great mercy bring such to true repentance. Following the burning of the tent, well-attended meetings were held upon the site and in the estate, aided by the use of loudspeakers. The sympathetic support of those who hastened to help us in our difficulty was a source of real comfort and a proof of the bond that unites in the Lord and in the work of the gospel. A dance-hall became available for continuation meetings, brethren from the Bolton assemblies accepting the responsibility and faithfully giving themselves to the work. Through the kindness of A. Boulton a tent was made available for work at Leigh and the campaign opened in this needy town. With a population of 50,000 it was appalling to note the lack of vital evangelical testimony. Again the children were the more responsive, although as the campaign continued the adult congregations were encouraging. Local Christians, enjoying the ministry, became very regular in their attendance and many expressed gratitude for spiritual help received.”