Birmingham New Connexion Methodist Church (1856)

The Rev B Turnock reports. Unusually, there were open-air meetings during Booth's time there.

'Some of our praying men formed themselves into a band and about an hour before the evening service they went through the street singing, giving short addresses at the corners, warning sinners and inviting people to the house of God. This roused the attention of the people and they began to say, “what is the meaning of this? What are these messages about?”

For a period of nearly 6 weeks, the good work has gone on and, oh, what scenes have we beheld! Penitent sinners have come up the aisle so overcome with emotion as to be hardly able to reach the rail. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, have knelt side by side at the communion rail, weeping tears of joy.

The services have exerted a powerful influence upon our members, raising the careless and quickening the cold and formal. There seems to be a new life and energy all around us. The people are anxious for the salvation of souls.

The last Sabbath is one which will never be forgotten. The whole place was packed and yet crowds kept pushing onwards like a stream and we were obliged to lock the chapel gates, leaving hundreds outside. It was truly delightful to see the huge mass of people rise to sing. The preacher was again earnest, terrible, melting, full of pathos. The word was with power. What a glorious night this was, such as I had never seen before! 72 souls professed to find peace with God. I need not say there was deep excitement; but it was holy, pure, such as I hope often to see.'

From, 'Catherine Booth, Mother of the Salvation Army', by Booth-Tucker, Volume I, page 143-4.


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