The church was also keenly involved in missionary work overseas. There were two annual missionary conferences in the church, the second being for the ladies of the church. My father and mother both had years when they organised these conferences as missionary secretaries, drawing on people from all around the world when they were on home leave. Often my parents would provide hospitality for them. There was one couple, Ian and Brenda McCulloch who were serving in Argentina and a single lady called Irene Wade who was in Brazil. These were sent out from Edgmond Hall.
My mother kept an autograph style book in which she asked every missionary who came to our home to write in it. John 3:16 in the language of the people group where they worked.
There was a rich supply of ministering brothers in the meeting. Much ministry was open and spontaneous, especially on the Sunday morning meetings. Teaching meetings shared with prayer times were arranged for midweek. Annual conferences were arranged for study of key subjects by itinerate speakers, especially on the second coming, the tabernacle including a scale model, and other such themes. I was “encouraged” to attend the midweek meeting regularly from about the age of thirteen or so. Prior to that there had been a children’s meeting during the week that drew large numbers.
Dad was the “starter” for the Sunday morning meetings. The old organ that had to be pumped up by foot pedals to produce sounds was not used on a Sunday morning for the breaking of bread service as it was considered to be too worldly. Instead when a hymn was requested my dad would start the singing by humming out the start! An organ was however allowed in the rear hall for other meetings which I always struggled to understand as there seemed to be two rules applying! After a few years an electronic organ was purchased and used for all the main meetings.
Games evenings and walks for the youth fellowship on the beach, the Downs etc, were all great fun, especially for one like me who was so sporty and energetic.
I also took part in the Young Sowers League. This was a study of books in the New Testament involving reading and writing out answers to questions and quoting the Bible reference. There were different levels of reward, leading up to a New Testament, then a Bible and lastly a Topical Bible Concordance. This took me years to complete but I managed to in 1965, aged fourteen.