Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
When J. Hadley visited Truro and St. Austell last year for the Ministry of the Word he took up subjects such as The Local Church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, Government and Elders, Worship and Witness. Time was given at the end for questions in order to clarify or amplify points. This was especially helpful as believers not meeting with the assembly were encouraged to attend the meetings.
Lancashire. A two weeks campaign held during March at Skelmersdale by B. Deen was most encouraging, especially among the children and teenagers. Between 120 and 150 children listened attentively on five nights each week as did some 50 teenagers on the Fridays. The last night saw nine parents present. Some blessing was experienced among the children.
Skelmersdale is a large new township where there is no assembly witness. There are six known believers in the area and ministry meetings held nightly for the two weeks proved encouraging. There is now an exercise to commence an assembly, and meanwhile a regular meeting for children followed by ministry of the Word is being arranged for Friday nights.
Having read the above report our hearts should be exercised concerning our responsibility to other areas where there is as yet no Gospel witness or assembly gathering.
The county Tract Band has been concentrating during the winter on Whitefield, on the outskirts of Manchester. This is a town which has received little evangelisation and has vast new housing areas. Bad weather hampered the distribution during the winter and much hard work lies ahead. Where are the sowers to assist in the sowing?
North Wales. This is another area with a great need for the establishing of assemblies. A. Armstrong who was previously in fellowship at Moreton, Wirral, has started house meetings at his home, 45 Clivedon Road, Connah's Quay, Flint. Situated on an estate of new nouses where there is no witness it is hoped that other believers will come to help so that in due time an assembly may be set up, as die nearest is many miles away.
Open-air Work. The coming of another spring turns thoughts to open air work. The North West London Village Workers have dwindled to just two regular brethren. They were sad to discover last summer that the need in the villages was greater than ever as a number of Gospel services had been discontinued. If you are able to help in this work please contact B. C. Little, 35 St. James Gardens, Alperton, Wembley, Middlesex.
The Tyneside Open Air workers travelled over 1,700 miles in 1970 visiting the villages of Northumberland and Durham, and they found a ready ear for the Gospel as it went forth. In fact it was considered to have been one of the best years for open air witness. This work continues winter and summer alike, but here again there is a shortage of workers.
Nottinghamshire. From time to time we have been able to draw attention to the opening of a new home for the elderly believers in fellowship with assemblies of the Lord's people. The latest is Beauvale House Eventide Home at Moorgreen, Newthorpe, Nottinghamshire, now open after many months of hard work. Applications for residence should be forwarded to the superintendent, and any of the Lord's people would be welcome if they desire to visit the home.
Republic of Ireland. This report is late but repays reading. The south-west corner of Ireland was visited by S. Patterson and G. Stewart last year for five weeks of Gospel meetings in an old disused house near to Goleen, Co. Cork. There was a good interest on the part of the local folk and this encouraged the believers from the assembly at Skibbereen to carry on a regular witness there.
In die autumn the same two brethren pitched their tent some seven miles from Skibbereen. The response to these meetings was beyond all expectation as a large cross-section of the local community came to the tent. The fact that those who came were anxious to come again was most encouraging. God again blessed the preaching of His Word in saving some, showing that the old fashioned Gospel preached in the old fashioned way without frills is still the divine method for drawing men to Christ.
Southern Scotland. Owing to redevelopment the assembly of believers which met at Plantation Street, Glasgow, were forced to move to new premises at Harley Street, Ibrox, built largely by their own efforts during last year. The new building was opened with a conference at the end of December followed by the usual New Year meetings which proved profitable to the many attending. Special Gospel meetings conducted by J. G. Hutchinson started immediately thereafter and continued until early March with great interest in the locality. One outstanding feature was the number of the parents of Sunday School scholars who attended and some of these were numbered among those who professed faith in Christ.
Large numbers of unsaved came in night by night to listen with attention to the Gospel preached in simplicity. Some of those who responded have already been baptised while others have since made known their desire to follow their Lord's command in this way.
In Ayrshire increasing use is being made of Senior Citizens' Meetings. At least six assemblies in this shire have been arranging them with considerable success. So great has been the demand in some villages that several such meetings have been held to ensure that all who wished could attend. The overall impression left on the villagers seems to have enhanced the testimony greatly. F. Whitmore visited Drongan for a week in January and began and ended the meetings with Old Folks' Nights. He remarked that nothing else had created such a good impression among the villagers.
In East Lothian R. McPheat has seen interest in the Gospel at Pathhead. As far back as last summer he pitched his tent in this community, and after the tent season he continued to hold meetings in a public hall. Subsequently he acquired an old hall in the village and renovated it. Recently on a Lord's Day there were twenty unsaved folk present, five being men who had never been under the sound of the Gospel before.
D. McMaster and D. Cameron held meetings for both children and adults in Motherwell when a good interest was shown.
The Lanarkshire assemblies have purchased a new minibus for Gospel work in the rural areas of the shire.
In Dunbartonshire the regular round of winter gatherings including Gospel rallies and after church meetings have resulted in good attendances and some results.
Postal Sunday Schools. For some years believers have been praying for the expansion of the postal school in Wales. Their prayers have been aswered in the establishment of a separate postal school for North Wales. This will cater for the area north of a line from Dolgellau on the west to Bala, Corwen, Llangollen and Chirk on the east. In this area at the moment there are only four adult and six child scholars. The island of Anglesey has been the main area of distribution but the whole of the island has not been visited as yet.
This spring one of the young ladies saved through the postal school was baptised - this was the first baptism. Many others have been thinking about this ordinance but have to remain obedient to their parents.
Although much has been accomplished there is still much to be done. For example in one county only one town has so far been visited. Workers are needed for the proposed distribution of leaflets in Mid-Wales during July.
Staffordshire. N. Mellish was responsible for a two weeks campaign among girls and boys at Clevedon Hall, Penn, Wolver-hamptoa, where there are sixteen believers in fellowship. Previously the Sunday School had declined to about ten pupils, but during the campaign scores of youngsters from the locality came under the sound of the Gospel. As a result the attendance at the Sunday School has increased considerably and meetings for teenagers after the Gospel meeting and on a weeknight for all children have been continued.
Northern Ireland. Ten weeks of well attended Gospel meetings were conducted by G. Stewart and S. Dawson in a portable hall in the village of Poyntzpass, in the south of Co. Down. From the start there was a good interest and a number of folk with no assembly connections were present. The preachers were encouraged to hear from a number that they had trusted Christ at the meetings.
J. Brown and J. Finnegan had a very encouraging spell of meetings lasting about two months in Ebenezer Hall, Bangor. Attendances were good and God gave help to preach the Gospel. A goodly number professed to have received salvation^ and there was special joy in one family circle when three young men trusted the Lord one by one as well as two of their wives.
A. Aiken, R. Watterson and J. Finnegan shared in Gospel meetings at Ballykeel, near Kilkeel, Co. Down. The attendances were the best for years and here as well a number told of accepting the Saviour.
In the Donegall Road Hall in Belfast, T. Bentley was responsible for the preaching during an effort that lasted approximately two months. A good interest was evidenced and some professed faith in the Lord Jesus, including a married couple on the last night of the meetings.
S. Jennings was the preacher at special meetings in Oldpark Hall. Belfast. Fair numbers attended considering that the hall is not far from some of the troubled areas of the city. All concerned were most encouraged when two elderly men confessed to accepting salvation. They had been the subject of much prayer due to family connections with the believers.
R. Beattie had special meetings at Dunmullan, Co. Tyrone, where he was brought up. For these meetings in the new hall erected recently he was joined by J. Hawthorne. The hall was packed to capacity nightly as the Gospel was preached faithfully and a few professed salvation. The sad part was that quite a number of young people with assembly associations who attended the meetings seemingly missed the opportunity.
In the Gospel Hall at Buckna, in the Braid Valley of Co. Antrim, a special effort was conducted by T. McKelvey and R. Neill. The believers from the area supported the meetings well and a few made professions of faith in the Lord Jesus, including one man who had been the subject of prayer for many years. Here again, however, young folk in whom both the preachers and other believers were especially interested failed to accept the Saviour as far as is known.
S. Thompson and R. Jordan preached to excellent numbers during special meetings in the Gospel Hall in Lisburn, Co. Antrim. The meetings were good and a few spoke of trusting in the Saviour.