Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
Open air meetings are not only profitable for the setting forth of the Gospel but also for making the local company of believers known in the area. The small assembly at Oban, Argyll, was much encouraged by the large number who stood and listened on the esplanade after the normal Gospel meeting. On one occasion over one hundred people were counted standing listening to the simple preaching of the word of the cross.
Guernsey. W. Beale spent five weeks at the end of the summer helping the little assembly at St. Peter Port. The believers appreciated the ministry of the Word and many contacts were made by visitation.
Southern Scotland. A number of assemblies in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire, especially in country districts, have always discontinued the indoor Gospel meeting during the summer months, using this time to cover their localities with open air meetings. In more recent times certain town meetings which had previously held an afternoon ministry meeting on the Lord's Day as well as an evening Gospel meeting, have reversed the order and conducted an open air meeting in a park or street or on the beach. The ministry meeting was then held in the evening and the change has generally proved beneficial to both meetings. The believers at Troon and Prestwick have held the Sunday School or Children's Meeting on the front, using this as a means of interesting adults in the Gospel.
The assembly at Bridge of Weir became so low in numbers that no Gospel meeting was held. Lately three families have moved into the area and joined the little assembly. This has resulted in the recommencement of the Gospel meeting and it is not unusual to find twenty or more strangers present.
Since it began just over a year ago the Woodpark assembly in Ayr has steadily grown in numbers. The believers have seen some interest aroused in the surrounding estate where there is little other Gospel work.
In Lanarkshire blessing was experienced at both the villages where the portable hall was used by J. Aitken. One of those saved was a woman who had formerly lived in another village and had envied the little company of believers who had stood outside her door from time to time testifying to the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. For fifteen years she had listened to their preaching and now the good seed has been fruitful in her salvation and subsequent baptism. This should encourage all open air workers.
The Renfrewshire Gospel Campaign started in May at Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow and continued for four weeks. Some unsaved folk were present each night and whilst there were no outward professions of faith it was felt that some were under conviction of sin. How serious the position of those who, having been brought by the Holy Spirit to realise their need of the Saviour then let the opportunity of accepting Him slip by. Is any reader in this position?
A new feature of these meetings was the one for Senior Citizens which has been continued after the campaign when approximately forty older people have been gathering.
The second phase of the shire campaign took place in Paisley. It consisted of a week of ministry meetings in Bethany Hall and two weeks of Gospel meetings, mainly in Shuttle Street Gospel Hall, the after church rallies on the Lord's Days being held elsewhere. The believers were challenged by the ministry and many invitations were given out personally. The nightly attendance approached four hundred and some one thousand four hundred came to the final rally. The town of Paisley had a real spiritual awakening. Some thirty five persons made confession of faith in the Lord Jesus, their ages ranging from the teens to seventy years of age. A drug addict was among those saved and he has continued to attend the meetings in Shuttle Street. Follow up work has been undertaken and believers in other districts have been informed of any from their area who were saved.
The first part of the summer work was in the care of R. Walker while P. Brandon was responsible for the Paisley work. A young man who attended the meetings in Port Glasgow was subsequently saved, was baptized in August and received into fellowship.
The work carried on by R. McPheat at Pathhead, East Lothian, has been reported in earlier issues. There is now a fine Gospel work among both the adults and the children. A new Gospel Hall was opened in August, believers from Musselburgh and Newtongrange having helped greatly in its erection. Our brother has now branched out into the Ormiston area with personal work and tract distribution.
Mid Scotland. The Fifcshire tent was pitched at Leslie, R. Jordan being responsible. The village had previously been tracted and there had appeared to be a fair measure of interest. However as the meetings continued there was very little response from the adults. Moreover, although a large number of teenagers were present from the first meeting, most were unable to sit through a normal Gospel address. In view of this it was decided to divide the service and have two shorter messages from different speakers. A. Legge and A. Dryburgh gave help to the evangelist in this way. During the whole period of the campaign a constaxit watch had to be kept on the tent as the local teenagers persisted in loosening the guyropes.
J. Campbell erected his portable hall in the Perthshire village of Comrie at the beginning of the summer. There is no assembly of believers within twenty five miles but the interest shown from the start was amazing. The regular attendance of local people was in the twenties during the first week and it steadily grew till in the tenth and last week over seventy attended nightly. Several younger women professed conversion. A. Pollard travelled from Montrose to give help for a day or two each week.
Shetland Isles. J. Moar owns an old 22-seater bus in which he holds meetings on the Shetland mainland. A retired businessman, W. Ritchie, helped during the earlier part of the summer and then J. Burns joined J. Moar, now over eighty years of age, for three months. Two thousand miles were covered in spreading the Gospel and meetings were held in the bus when parked in many remote parts where halls are hard to find.
Republic of Ireland. The Lord wonderfully blessed the special outreach in the Republic made by the North American Team this summer. Over fifty-five thousand houses were visited in the Dublin area and Gospel literature was left in all but a fifth of them. Many good personal contacts were made and over seventy folk are now studying the Word of God with the aid of courses. Several have professed faith in the Lord Jesus.
Camps. The Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow, Youth Camp was held at Pitlochry during August. Eighty young folk from eleven to eighteen years of age enjoyed a time of blessing and six of them trusted the Lord for salvation. One of these, a girl of fifteen, has since asked to be baptized and to be received into fellowship.
The Shuttle Street, Paisley, camp was held at Blairgowrie in July. There were sixty campers and some ten of these put their trust in the Saviour. Flannelgraphs were used to good effect both in setting forth the Gospel and teaching the Scriptures.
Northern Ireland. S. Thompson and R. Jordan held special Gospel meetings in an Orange Hall at Castlerobin, near Lisburn, but an I.R.A. terrorist explosion damaged the hall, killing an army captain. The evengelists continued the meetings in a small hall nearby, but found it hard to get a settled interest. The I.R.A. campaign has created a state of unrest in the country generally, which is a great hindrance to Gospel work.
The assembly in the village of Ardstraw, Co. Tyrone, is almost one hundred years old, yet Gospel work has never been easy as it has been difficult to get folk into the meetings. Recently A. Lyttle and J. Hawthorn held Gospel meetings there and all concerned were encouraged to know of a little blessing.
A. M. S. Gooding had almost two weeks of well-attended ministry meetings in Central Hall, Bangor, Co. Down. His ministry was greatly appreciated, being most helpful and profitable.
During the peak holiday period in Bangor open air meetings were conducted at the sea front in the evening by believers from Central Hall, R. McCluckey taking charge of this work. Late at night believers from Holborn Hall held another such gathering aimed at contacting the young people who roam around at that hour. Good numbers listened at both times.
A. McShane and N. Turkington had meetings at Carryduff, a rapidly growing district on the outskirts of the city of Belfast. A married couple professed faith in the Saviour.
In Londonderry the troubles have had an especial impact on the assembly activities. The open air meetings have had to be discontinued, while the number attending the Gospel meeting on Lord's Day evenings is now very small and only a few unsaved are ever present. The Sunday School, which has been such an encouragement in the past, is reduced to about half of the previous number. The weeknight children's work has not been re-started as parents are understandably reluctant to allow their youngsters out at night.
Bible Readings. There has been a welcome growth in the number of such readings held in the South of England. It is in such gatherings, properly controlled, that a sound basis of scriptural teaching can be best obtained. The Hants and Dorset Readings have continued in the Queen's Hall, Bournemouth, when a goodly number have gathered around the Word and profitable discussions have enlightened many minds concerning the truths of God. During the past year the first Epistle to the Thessalonians has been considered, and the series now starting will deal with Christ as seen in the Offerings.