Reginald Radcliffe - Albion St Mission Chapel (1858)




Reginald Radcliffe arrived in Aberdeen at the same time as the Scottish evangelist, Brownlow North. Neither of them was ordained, so they had to tread carefully with the established churches. Radcliffe began by addressing children, and in this way he was accepted in the churches. He made a point of saying he was doing addresses as opposed to preaching, and he would not normally enter the pulpit. He began speaking to the children at the Albion Street Mission. He was quite happy addressing children only; as he believed that the parents would go into the gallery and therefore hear the word. Radcliffe, ‘set forth the perfect fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ as a Saviour.’ He preached the doctrine of instant salvation for the trusting soul. To begin with he had to keep to the children, and to private meetings. An example of the latter was late meetings for outcast women and meetings for Sunday School teachers. As far as the teachers were concerned, Radcliffe was again acting strategically; understanding what a powerful influence converted teachers would be on their pupils. Finishing his talk to one group of teachers he asked those who were not born again, if they would like to adjourn to the vestry if they wanted to hear words by which they could be saved. There were so many who responded, over 120, that they had to come back into the church. After two weeks it became clear from the response to his ministry that he would have to extend his time in Aberdeen. Brownlow North had to leave, but having become friends with Radcliffe, he recommended the people to support him. Support was crucial to the work of the evangelist. Helpers were needed to hand out tracts, encourage people to come to the meetings, organise the meetings, pray, and help converse with the inquirers in the after meetings. Like with the teachers above, there were 120 people to be spoken to about how to receive there salvation; this needed a lot of helpers. The meetings grew, there being three or four each weekday and five or more on Sundays. He wrote, I tremble here on the verge of a great work. Souls are coming to me. How much wisdom I need….But I want to lie in the dust and be guided from on high.’ He would speak several times a day and sometimes several times in a meeting as people were loath to leave. Even though the meetings were short, the strain of speaking three or four times on average, every day, must have been great. The Holy Spirit did sustain his health for a period, but one cannot push the body beyond its limits forever.

Additional Information

This is taken from an 1865 map which can be found online at the National Library of Scotland website.mIt is marked as a Congregational Chapel.