The Story of the Mission – Pamphlet – 1902
The Wesleyan Mission Church
Hatfield Road, St Albans
Rev. J ALDRED, Superintendent.
Kingswood, Ridgmont Road, St. Albans.
REV T.S. HERRICK,
Springfield, Stanhope Road, St. Albans.
Mr. H.J. READ, Chalfont, Stanhope Road, St. Albans.
Mr. NARBETH 1 Glenferrie Road, St. Albans.
Mr. CHAMBERAIN, Burnham Road, St. Albans
Mr. OLLORENSHAW, Blandford Road, St. Albans
Financial Secretary to Mission –
Mr. CURNOW, 111 Verulam Road, St. Albans.
Mr. ROSE. The Mount, Grosvenor Road, St. Albans.
Organist and Choirmaster –
Mr A BRUTY, Cavendish Road, St. Albans.
The Mission – Its Growth and Needs
ON April 18th. 1893, a meeting was held in the Dagnall Street Wesleyan Methodist Church to consider the state of the Spiritual life in our Circuit, and whether it would be possible to make some special effort to bring into our partially empty churches more of the outside public. It was in effect a small Home Mission Conference, and the problem before it was “how best to reach the people and bring them to our churches.” Our ministers and lay preachers were working hard, but there was a feeling amongst the rank and file that they were not doing enough to support the preachers’ efforts, and that something might be done to fill the vacant places both in the city and village chapels, and also to deepen their own spiritual life. The Rev. J. Burn presided, and the meeting formed a band of Christian workers, pledged to definite prayer and action for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom in St. AIbans and neighbourhood.
Very early in the history of the Band the need of a Christian Church in the new district situated on the borders of the city, and at that time consisting of three new roads and a few scattered houses in Hatfield Road, attracted their attention. Open-air services were held in the district, and some of the inhabitants urged the o6icers to take a room and hold regular services. Several attempts were made to secure premises with the result that the use of the old Shoe Factory in Cavendish Road, at a rental of £IO per year, was obtained.
The opening services were conducted by the late Rev. W. Talbot on August 1st.1894. They were well attended by the people from the neighbourhood, and from the outset the workers felt God’s presence with them.
At first, Sunday afternoon and evening services only were held, then followed a Wednesday evening devotional meeting, a short Sunday School before the afternoon service, and afterwards a morning school. It then became necessary to start a Band of Hope for the Sunday School children, and one was formed which nearly all our scholars joined.
It very soon became apparent that if we were to win any considerable portion of the neighbourhood for Christ we must get into closer and more than was possible at the ordinary services, and must lead them to see that the religion of Jesus Christ was something that made every part of their daily life brighter and better. With this end in view, the first Christmas after the room was opened the Mission Band sent out invitations to a social gathering (which took place on December 26th) to all those residing in the immediate neighbourhood. These were largely accepted, with the result that the room was packed with men, women and children. most of whom were at that time strangers to us but with whom we readily got into friendly touch. It was found after chatting and playing with one and another, and having a cup of coffee together, that it was quite easy to introduce the subject of the Sunday services. These social gatherings have been held annually and have been very helplul in bringing outsiders into the Hall and enabling the officers and members to make their acquaintance.
A series of Pleasant Saturday Evenings for the residents was also commenced. These were carried on under great difficulties ; the room was depressing in appearance, very cold in winter, very hot in summer, and a bad place to sing in. However, the dificulties were surmounted, very enjoyable and profitable evenings were spent, and many now attending the Hall have happy memories of the Saturday evenings in the old Shoe Factory.
No further developments were now possible, for the owners of the Factory would only let it for two nights a week, and it became necessary to consider the question of building. By this time the workers had somewhat changed; at first the work was nearly all done by the Mission Band, but as time went on one and another came forward from the neighbourhood and together with some of the officers of the Band formed the Mission Church.
Earnest and prayerful thought was given by the new Church as to the best steps to take, and it was decided by the Quarterley Meeting that, as the parent Church was contemplating the erection of the new building in Marlborough Road, it would be inadvisable for the Circuit to have two schemes on hand, and therefore we must for the time be content with borrowing money to erect the present iron structure. The building was erected by a small separate trust, which undertook the responsibility for the money borrowed, the interest of which is paid by the Mission Church. The building was opened by the Rev.J Jackson, in March 1898, and the way was not clear for further developments.
A morning service was started immediately on the entry into the new home, and this helped to build up the Church.
Clubs for the social and spiritual welfare of the youths and girls were also formed. These proved successful, but after a time had to be given up, and it will not be possible to do anything of the kind in the present structure for the youths. The Girl’s Club has been reformed under the name of the Girl’s Friendly Meeting, but a more helpful work could be accomplished in a better room. The need for this kind of work cannot be exaggerated, many of the young people in the district have indoor employment, and if we are to win and keep them we must provide bright and cheerful rooms in which they can spend some of their evenings in recreation and social intercourse. Whilst still in old Shoe Factory our later brother, Mr Bruty, interested himself in the musical portion of the services, and though labouring under many disadvantages, organized a string band and a choir. The latter now numbers thirty-two members and is rendering useful service to the church.
All through these years we have had manifestations of God’s presence and converting power. From time to time we have rejoiced in the salvation of some attending our ordinary services, and our Spacial Gospel Missions have had the dual result of deepening our own spiritual life and bringing both young and old into the Church of Christ.
Many of our members are total abstainers, and, in addition to our Band of Hope, we frequently arrange ternperance Meetings and Gospel Temperance Missions at most of which we take some pledges.There is also a Good Templar Lodge Meeting every week in our Hall.
Much of the work which is being carried on in connection with our Church is difficult to to tabulate. We have not a Brotherhood or Sisterhood in connection with us, but we strive to carry out the idea ‘of being brothers and sisters to any in the district whom it is possible to serve.
Once again we are brought face to face with the fact that further development in our present building is impossible, whilst the work is seriously handicapped. The Sunday School Secretary’s Report will show how that branch suffers, and almost every department is more or less crippled. The Pleasant Saturday Evenings are frequently overcrowded, and at the Sunday evening services we are occasionally unableto find room for all who come. This is due to the rapid growth of the neighboorhood. which still continues, and we believe it is God’s call to us to erect larger premises.
In response to this call we propose to build a Church and School, with suitabte Vestries, at an approximate cost of £3,500. This will mean a heavy financial responsibility for our small Church, composed for the most part of working people, who out of their comparative poverty give liberally and gladly, but who cannot possibly amongst themselves, raise the amount needed. Therefore, we are compelled to appeal to the Christian and philanthropic public, believing that many whom God has blessed in worldly circumstances will gladly help us in our endeavour to make adequate provision for the spiritual and social needs of the district.
” He gives twice who gives quickly.” Whilst we are prevented from going forward, many, who might be won for Christ, are coming under other and antagonistic influences. We therefore ask our friends, if they can help us, to fill up the accompanying promise form and return it to either of the gentlemen named on the appeal enclosed herewith. Any donation, however small, will be gladly received and acknowledged.
We also earnestly ask the prayers of all who are interested, that God, who has hitherto directed and blessed our efforts, will continue with us in this new enterprise, and that it may speedily result in bringing many out of spiritual darkness into the Light of God.
H.J. READ, Mission Leader.
Sunday School . .
IT is with great pleasure and thankfulness to Almighty God that I have been allowed to take part in a school that has grown so rapid!y. Our School was first started in the spring of 1895, with Miss Read as its first superintendent, about thirty scholars, and one teacher (Mrs. Walker). It was the nucleus of things to come, the work was difficult, but grew rapidly. and when, in 1898 the School was transferred to the new building, things became easier. One great difficulty was due to the shifting character of the population. children were entered and attended for a few weeks, and then left the neighbourhood. This also affected our teaching staff. Several times we have secured the services of really valuable teachers who have worked splendidly for a time and have then found employment in another district. In 1900 our School had so far advanced that we were able to bring it under Conference rules. In the following year (1901) we had to mourn the loss of Mt Bruty, who first as instrumentalist and teacher, and afterwards (from September, 1900) as superlntendent, had served the School faithfully and earned the love of teachers and children. His place was taken by our present superintendent, Mr Read, under whose guidance the School continues to prosper.
We have at present 189 scholors on our books. This number is very encouraging, but it raises, in view of its growth, and that is practically certain, two serious points. In the first place it presents to the officers the need of workers. The situation is this, we have fourteen classes and twelve teachers (some of whom cannot attend twice a day). These classes are made up, as before stated, of 189 children,which means about 14 children to a class, with two classes at the least without a teacher, or twenty eight children to be provided for, notwithstanding the already over-crowded state of the other classes. This work is important, and the success of the School depends very largely on the supply of teachers. Can I appeal on behalf of the children and the School for helpers? We cannot carry it on without the necessary staff. The other very grave and important fact for us to face, and it grows in importance weekly, is the uncomfortable and seriously over-crowded condition of the building, on a Sunday afternoon especially. It must be obvious to all that this state of things affects scholar and teacher alike, and interferes with the efficiency and order of the School. This point, though last in my statement, must absolutely be faced at once.We have now to put our classes in all corners of the Hall, and a visit to the school on any Sunday afternoon would convince the reader of our urgnt and pressing need. We have to consider it from the standpoint of that the work all round is growing, and we must certainly grow with it. Now I must bring this statement to a close in a few words. From these facts, which are in no wise overstated, there seems to us no doubt whatever that we require enlarged premises. Let me ask all those who read this to be very practical and ask themselves – What can I do to best help this work? One thing all can do,and that not the least important,pray daily for guidance to be given to those who have to direct and carry on this work.
HENRY CURNOW, Junr.
Last Annual Report
THE Record of the year’s work affords much cause for much thankfulness to God and hopefulness for the coming of His Kingdom in the neighbourhood. We have had our difficulties and discouragements, but the net result of the year is one of Progress and Development. We have had the manifestation of God’s Presence and Converting Power; and there are indications of a growth in Grace in the hearts and lives of many.
It has been a year of preparation and re-organization; and we believe we are finding out the best lines upon which the work should proceed.
Thereis a large population rapidly growing up around this Hall, without, at present, adequate provision for its Spiritual need. We feel that we can best serve its individual and collective interests by spreading the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ as widely as possible; and for this reason it is ne cessary to seize the present opportunity to advance, remembering that God has placed upon us the responsibility and the privilege of the work.
Since our last Annual Meeting the Mission has lost many valued workers. Bros. Thompson and Barfoot. who were always to be relied upon for willing and efficient service, have left the district, and the help so generously given by them both is thankfully acknowledged.
We gladly welcome others whom God has sent to our help, and take this opportunity of appealing for more workers, both for the School and the Church.
At the commencement of our Church Year, an Eight Days’ Mission was held, conducted by our own workers assisted by the Misses Clough ; the Spiritual life of the Church was quickened, and several who gave themselves to God have continued in His service and are still working with us.
A Temperance Mission, held in December, was well attended. Mr. Whitehead, in his own cheery and humorous manner, convincing many of the duty and benefit of Total Abstinence. Sixteen Temperance Pledges were taken, and at the close we had a visit from Mr. W. C. Harbud, whose deep, earnest Gospel Temperance addresses did much good.
In the first week of January a memorable meeting was held to celebrate the completion of the Organ Fund. This fund was initiated and diligently carried on by our beloved Brother Bruty. who was called from our midst just before the completion of this task. He raised nearly the whole of the amount in small sums collected weekly from his fellow-workmen and other sympathisers with our cause – a large number of whom were preseat at that meeting. Councillor Lee occupied the chair, and during the evening a tablet unveiled in memory of our Brother whose devoted, and earnest life had helped us so much.
Our choir on Sunday evenings has rendered much useful service; and our cause is greatly indebted to our Organist and Choir Master, to the Choir Secretary, as well as to the members.
The Saturday evening Concerts and entertainments, the Band of Hope, and the Girls’ Friendly Meeting, have done real service amongst the young people, spreading the principles of Total Abstinence and advancing that social part of our work which, in its place, is as necessary and as important as the more directly spiritual work.
In May, further Special Services were held. when our veteran friend, Mr. James Hawkins, visited us and his earnest spiritual preaching was followed by blessed results, many hearts gaining fresh views of God and renewing their sources of strength.At the same time a bright service of Thanksgiving was held, when the offerings out of the Collecting Boxes were recieved – with substantial financial results.
A system of Visiting has been established with good effect, a leaflet periodical issued by the Book Room being utilised. The development of this work is an urgent necessity, and is looked forward to with great hopefulness.
The weather has interfered with our Open-air Work this season, but some of the members have faced the elements, and a number of meetings have been held with good results.
The Prayer Meetings on Sunday morning and on Tuesday evening, and the Class Meetings for Christian Fellowship, have helped the Church, which is steadily growing.
For months past the increase in our School and congregation has directed our attention to the indequate accommodation, and has forced upon us the conclusion that, if the work is to continue. a new and larger Church and School are an absolute necessity. We require for this purpose a sum of £3.500, and earnestly appeal for helpers to raise this amount.
We look forward with confidence to the rapid advancement of the work. Our trust is in God, and our guarantee of success the assurance of His presence and blessing.
E. G. NARBETH, Mission Hon. Sec.
HELPING THE MISSION
DAILY PRAYER FOR THE BLESSING OF GOD ON THE WORK AND WORKERS.
DONATIONS TOWARDS THE NEW CHURCH FUND TO BE SENT TO ANY OF THE OFFICERS.
TAKING A CARD TO COLLECT MONEY FOR THE FUND.
PREPARING FOR SALE OF WORK TO BE HELD IN APRIL.
(Ladies’ Working Meeting 3 to 5 on Tuesday.)
BY SENDING GIFTS OF CLOTHING, ETC. FOR THE POOR
OF THE CURCH AND DISTRICT TO MISS READ.
VOLUNTEER FOR WORK IN SCHOOL OR CHURCH.
GIFTS OF BOOKS FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL LIBRARY.