Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
Instead of the usual problems arising from a special effort, believers from Bath needed a field, tent and refreshment van in order to witness at the "Blues" Festival at Shepton Mallet in June. A team of workers, willing to show from the Bible and prove from their own experience the relevance of the Gospel in 1970, sought to reach the 150,000 fans visiting the two-day festival. Many of these young folk had just completed their examinations, and were described by one worker as "a multitude of disillusioned young people . . . willing to talk and listen". Some of the team had very little sleep as they were dealing with enquirers right through the night. The witness was essentially personal in character, but there was an opportunity for an open-air testimony. When heavy rain drove a goodly number into the tent for shelter they listened attentively for an hour and a half to testimonies and direct talks, and after this a young man trusted the Lord and has since been put in touch with the assembly in his home town. Altogether over two hundred and sixty people had the way of salvation put to them personally, generally in long conversations. Some half a dozen of them expressed a desire to trust in the Saviour.
Devon. Believers at Torquay purchased a large number of giant size coloured view cards printed on the back with a message concerning die need for a Guide. These were distributed on the Downs where an open air testimony is held during the summer, and being very attractive it is hoped that they will be kept and read.
Cornwall. Unlike its neighbouring county there are few assemblies in Cornwall, and the outreach with the Gospel has been mainly during the summer months at various resorts. This year S. Ford and H. Williamson held tent meetings at various sites, with some encouragement and evidence of blessing especially among teenagers. When J. Hadley was in Bodmin he had the joy of leading a young woman to Christ—one whose marriage was in ruins. Subsequently her two eldest children were saved. She then brought her mother, visiting from Surrey, to the tent in St. Austell and she too found the Saviour. The power of God has changed these lives and in the home of this young woman there now meet a little group to read and study the Bible. Asked to visit another home the evangelist found a man preparing to commit suicide. He has since attended the meetings but has not yet trusted the Saviour.
Here and there in Cornwall there are little groups of believers without the advantages of fellowship that many of us have, and they are genuinely seeking further light.
Northern Ireland. The assembly in the lovely little fishing village of Annalong, Co. Down, has been in existence for many years and from time to time has been encouraged by seeing conversions as a result of the Sunday School and open-air and indoor meetings. During meetings taken by J. Martin few local folk came in but one girl made profession of her faith.
An assembly was formed a few years ago in the rural area of Moneyrea largely as a result of the Sunday School work. This summer S. Thompson and R. Jordan had tent meetings when some local people came in and two spoke of accepting the Saviour.
E. Wishart and M. Wishart held well attended meetings in Newtonbreda, the location of one of the first assemblies in Co. Down. One elderly gentleman professed conversion who had been awakened to his need during meetings at the Ulster Hall, Belfast.
The Ulster Hall, seating 1,600, was booked for the month of May for a special Gospel effort as it was felt that a neutral building might attract more strangers. To the joy of all concerned this proved to be the case and very many unsaved, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, listened to the preaching of J. Hutchinson. Quite a number professed conversion and the hall was filled for the closing meeting. Since the effort finished, reports of several others having accepted the Saviour have been received.
All felt thankful to God both for the blessing and for the fact that during this period the city was very largely free from riot and trouble. God is still the Author of peace.
Despite a fair amount of restriction due to the troubles believers were able to conduct their annual conferences during the holiday season in July. Very large companies gathered and fed upon the Word.
Lancashire. Some 150 children came each night for four weeks to a tent erected by B. Deen at New Bury, and 45 teenagers on Fridays. While some thirty parents attended the final Prize Night only some fifteen came in to the adult meetings during the campaign. One boy of fourteen professed faith in Christ and some teenagers were interested and stayed for talks. The work among the young is to be continued in a local school but there is a need for helpers. Our correspondent writes with sadness concerning the lack of interest in the spread of the Gospel reflected in the poor support received from the saints.
Gospel meetings held by P. Brandon at Haslingden were well attended and well supported by believers. Many of the folk who received invitations or were spoken to by the evangelist attended. During the first weeks two adults professed faith in Christ and a number of teenagers showed deep interest.
Fifeshire. The area of Windygates has a population of less than two thousand and the assembly numbers about twenty. On the first Lord's Day evening of five weeks of Gospel meetings there were ninety present, and on the last nearly one hundred and fifty, the weeknight average being around fifty-five. Children's meetings proved a great attraction, creating an interest throughout the village. Some of the older children made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. The parents of a child who accepted the Saviour early in the campaign later made a profession of their own faith as did her elder brother. Several adults who attended regularly are known to have a deep concern about eternal matters.
Southern Scotland. J. Clunas held special meetings for old and young in a school in Aithenbar district of Dumbarton early in the summer. Attendances were good and all were encouraged by seeing conversions.
During July the believers at Dumfries rejoiced as three of the Lord's people brought pleasure to the heart of their Saviour as they obeyed Him in the ordinance of baptism. We do well to remind ourselves that baptism by immersion is incumbent upon all believers, in 1970 as in apostolic days.
Following the baptism of seven young people the Glenburn, Prestwick, assembly invited two brethren from their neighbouring assembly, G. Waugh and J. Hay, to conduct a Gospel effort which lasted three weeks. Spurred on by a group of godly young sisters who set aside a night for tract distribution and prayer many folk attended. At least four spoke of accepting the Saviour while others waited for conversations. One lady, saved thirty years ago, asked to be accepted into the assembly.
The Ayrshire tent has been at Catrine with J. Aitken responsible. An older woman decided for Christ while several members of her family, both married and unmarried, have shown interest. A young fellow on probation accepted the Saviour; he was put out from his lodgings for attending the tent and reading his Bible, but has continued happy in the Lord. Several of the young folk have trusted Christ, including the daughter of a Roman Catholic doctor. Four of these were baptized during July. Further results are being seen from last year's tent at Beith. One youth, taken by a workmate, is now in fellowship at Troon. He took a friend to the Gospel meeting who professed conversion. A woman from Beith, concerned last year, was taken to Catrine and trusted the Saviour there.
The Glasgow Tent was pitched in the Sandyhills area of the city for the summer, the Shiloh and Tabernacle assemblies being responsible, A. Noble undertaking the preaching. Encouraging interest was shown by both saved and unsaved, and there were a considerable number of believers present regularly who were not in assembly fellowship.
H. German was responsible for special meetings at Botliwell, Lanarkshire. One woman accepted the Saviour and evidence of the Spirit's work was seen among the young folk. Attendances were good and were well supported by believers from assemblies in the area.
In this shire a readiness to hear the Gospel was observed by D. Cameron while touring the villages with the Gospel van. Special open air rallies have been held on Saturday afternoons and these have proved a blessing to the smaller assemblies.
The Renfrewshire Gospel work was centred on three weeks of Gospel testimony in the hands of A. Swift and R. Hinchcliffe at Cruden Hall, Greenock, early in the summer. Attendances were very encouraging at the various meetings arranged for the different age groups. A number made professions of salvation. A monthly tract distribution band has been commenced with some forty young believers responding to the challenge of serving their Lord in this way.
Wales. The believers at Treorchy, Rhondda, were encouraged last April during meetings taken by R. Walker. Many of the local people who previously had never entered the hall not only came several times but also expressed their appreciation for the simplicity of the message. Good support was received from neighbouring assemblies which enabled several open air gatherings to be held.
Sussex. For the past few years the believers at Edgmond Hall, Eastbourne, have arranged after-church meetings for Senior Citizens during the months of May and September when large numbers of these older folk visit the town on holiday. This year each Lord's Day saw about three hundred visiting the hall, transport being arranged by the believers. Light refreshments are distributed and gospel literature is made available, over thirteen hundred being taken voluntarily this May. To make the meetings known leaflets are distributed to boarding houses and the smaller hotels.