Growing Quickly! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Derek Peakman   
Saturday, 07 January 2012 19:47

railway hall at old booking officeGrowing Quickly!

Around Mr. Kerr the new Church sprang up spontaneously, yet almost imperceptibly, there being no violent upheaval. Its members came from many congregations, and their numbers were supplemented by numerous young converts. The first meeting-place in New Street soon became too small: so did the Railway Hall (on the site of the existing L.M.S. Booking Office at Gilmour Street Station picture on left). A new place was found in High Street, but, pending its adaptation to requirements, the congregation worshipped in the Good Templar Hall (pictured below)

templar_halls_1890

On Saturday, 15th January, 1887, the new place was opened with a characteristic Bible Conference the subjects of which dealt with the fundamentals of the faith. The new building was on Weighhouse Close. Access off the High Street was through the gap at the umbrella and bag shop (pictured below).

HopeHall_pend

The building was originally a joiners workshop (see map below) and consisted of a large hall, accommodating about 600, small hall about 150, and the usual ante-rooms. As became a Church which had come into effective being without fuss or excitement, it was quietly named "Hope" Hall. Undoubtedly, due regard was had to the three Graces in giving it this name, but the primary and more obvious reason was that one of the founder’s daughters was named "Hope."

1864_weighhouse_close_marked_small

(below picture Paisley High Street late 1800's)

Paisley High street late 1800'sWhy did these folks detach themselves from existing congregations and found a new Church? The critic is entitled to a reply to this very reasonable question. There were two outstanding reasons. This new Church held the view that insufficient emphasis was being given then to the preaching of the Gospel in the pulpits, and that persons who made no profession of conversion were being too readily admitted to membership of the Churches.

They held that sermons which were no more than literary essays on moral and ethical considerations, however excellent and commendable, would sooner or later weaken the faith of believers without awakening conviction of any kind among unbelievers. They also held that the admission to the full communion of these Churches of persons who afforded no evidence in their private lives and conduct of having accepted Christ as their Saviour automatically and inevitably weakened the whole fabric of the Church militant. Finally, they held that these unbiblical practices were destined to lead to “empty" churches.

Looking around to-day, who could seriously challenge the accuracy of their prognostications? .............. to be continued