Hopehall, The Titanic, and China PDF Print E-mail
Written by Derek Peakman   
Friday, 03 February 2012 17:31

Hopehall,The Titanic,and China!

(the following has been taken from the Hopehall 'Jubilee brochure' with some amendments and additions)Jubilee_Brochure_front_small

The paramount and all-important function of this Church is the proclamation of the Gospel, and its whole organisation has shaped itself to that end. Methods may have changed, but the message never. The Church is truly democratic, and is composed of a Pastor, Managers, and Congregation, with adherents and sympathisers who, although belonging to other congregations, lend a hand in the " Evangel."


The Pastor and Managers are elected by the Congregation direct. The Managers hold office for only three years, but the Pastor holds office so long as he wishes to do so, and is remunerated on a whole-time basis like any other clergyman.

The membership has seldom been less than 200, or more than 250, and in the main very few of these are "sleeping" partners. The Church has a Sabbath School, Church Choir, the_gospel_singing_band2_smallBible Class, Saturday Evening Meeting, Women’s Meeting, Children’s Meeting, Senior Christian Endeavour Society, Junior Christian Endeavour Society, Berean Study Circle and last, but by no means least, a Silver Band.

This does not do justice to the many other meetings that take place, such as Prayer Meetings and Open-Air Meetings, but the former organisations are referred to specially because they are not under the direct and immediate control of the Managers, but are supervised by separate sets of office-bearers. It would be impossible to enumerate all these additional minor but important units.

In this Church the members are generally known as "workers," and compared with most Churches they really, truly and literally “work" from ten o’clock in the Sabbath morning to ten at night is the usual "working " day. The Lord’s Table (Sacrament) is celebrated weekly, and is restricted to believers only. All its organisations, finances and resources aim to concentrate and converge on the Sabbath Evening Gospel Service. When the Band discourses selections, the; Choir sings anthems, or a vocalist sings solos, it is all aimed solely and exclusively at creating a favourable and receptive atmosphere for the Gospel address.
The final test
of the efficiency of its office—bearers, or the excellence of a new method, are judged primarily in relation to the creation of conditions best likely to attain success when " We preach Christ crucified." This policy is further accelerated by the conducting of " Special Missions " twice every year. In the old days when suitable sites were plentiful in the town, one of the Campaigns was conducted in a huge canvas tent, and many have happy memories of the "Tent Missions." For Special Missions experienced Evangelists are engaged for periods of two or three weeks, and they preach every night (with perhaps Friday off)!

rev_john_harperNotable preachers-clergymen and laymen—have taken part in these Missions. One of these preachers was the Rev. John Harper (pictured left) who lost his life on board the Titanic. - 'Rev. John Harper was minister at Paisley Road Baptist Church, in Plantation area of Glasgow, near Govan, (now the Harper Memorial Baptist Church) before moving to London. Titanic12He travelled with his daughter Nina Harper and Miss Jessie Leitch from London enroute to Chicago. Rev Harper was on his way to Chicago to begin a series of revival meetings at the Moody church located on West Chicago and La Salle Avenue. He had been at the church during November, December and January of 1911/12 and his success there resulted in his being recalled to conduct a second series of meetings.On the evening of April 14 the Reverend Harper and Miss Leitch were standing on deck admiring the sunset. "it will be beautiful in the morning," remarked rev Harper before retiring for the night. After the collision, Harper awakened his daughter, picked her up and wrapped her in a blanket before carrying her up to A deck. There he kissed her goodbye and handed her to a crewman, who put her into lifeboat 11 with Miss Leitch. Rev Harper went down with the ship.'

Other notable preachers at Hopehall included  Rev. ]ohn McNeil, William Thomson, W. D. Dunn, Richard Weaver, and J. Hudson Taylor (Pictured below right - founder of the China Inland Mission - CIM now OMF International). hudson_taylor1

Successful as these Missions have been, however, the
main burden of preaching Christ crucified has always devolved finally on the Pastor. Evangelists reaped, but the Pastors sowed! The Church has always been particularly fortunate in its choice of Pastor, an onerous though privileged office.
All of them, without exception, have been men noted for their piety and sincerity who have believed that "He that winneth souls is wise." Converts and former members of the Church are to be found all over the world. As a result of its unique but tolerant attitude to the denominational question its former members are found, too, in every kind of evangelical pulpit, missionary society, or kindred organisations.

Viewing the history of this Church, coolly and calmly, weighing up all the evidence available carefully and dispassionately, and without being influenced by bias or sentiment, it cannot be denied that Hope Hall Mission Church has had a successful existence. It set out to preach Christ crucified; it has kept the faith. Its weight and influence have far exceeded its apparent strength. Were all its former members, converts, and adherents to withdraw from other and distant spheres, like the ancient Roman legionaries who returned to defend their great city when its safety was threatened, their loss would be nearly irreparable in the localities!

Next instalment....... the Pastors of 'The old hall'.........