A conference was convened recently under the chairmanship of Dr Paisley in the Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church. This was a follow up on the “Our Samaria” programme launched last Easter to try and co-ordinate an evangelistic thrust into the Irish Republic.
After a pre-meeting time of coffee and buns, we got down to business. Dr Paisley, seated comfortably at a table at the front, spoke with good liberty from Acts 1:8. He pointed out that this text does not teach us that it is first Jerusalem and then Samaria, but that the work was to be simultaneous. He then took an acrostic on the word SAMARIA which covered every angle of the needed evangelistic endeavour.
We then got down to prayer for around 30 minutes. We were encouraged to keep our prayers short. “Finish them at home” was the sage advice. This was a good time of intercession, fuelled by the word which we had just shared.
After the time of prayer, we then heard reports of what work was being done in the Irish Republic. Although our missionaries in the Republic and border church ministers from N. Ireland have been busy, yet there was a feeling of “What are these among so many?” (John 6:9) We are hardly scratching the surface. We explored many different ways of getting the gospel across. Mention was made of T.C. Hammond who was an evangelical Anglican from a past generation. What a great contender for the Protestant faith he was. We got a few anecdotal references which encouraged us. Hammond once heard a RC priest wax very eloquent against Protestantism on the Liverpool – Dublin boat. Gaining the promised support of some Scotsmen on board, Hammond challenged the said orator to a debate there and then. This shortened the journey somewhat as Hammond skilfully demolished the Romish arguments and propagated the gospel of grace.
Another meeting has been planned. It was good to renew fellowship afterwards before heading back to the train. This was the Saturday when Ireland clinched the triple crown. Without denigrating sport in any way, it seemed that the country was more interested in the crown that fades away than that which is incorruptible.