Ambassador International 2017, large h/b, 362pp,£25.00. Available from the author by telephoning 0788 428 1235.
Northern Ireland has a rich evangelical heritage and this is reflected in the many interdenominational mission halls which sprang up across the Province, mainly in the early years of the 20th century. These halls were open for the proclamation of the Gospel in days when transport was limited and they became an integral part of the fabric of society. We now live in very different days when people are not inclined to attend meetings of any sort and there are many other attractions on offer, but the mission hall continues to play a role in Ulster evangelical life. Some halls are closed but others continue to function, and they proclaim the same message today as they did a century ago. Those who keep the halls open are to be commended for their commitment to the cause of the Gospel, and we must pray for them and the work in which they are faithfully engaged.
Judith Cole is also to be commended for her beautifully produced book which captures the essence of the mission hall heritage through an excellent collection of fascinating and evocative photographs. For the first time, we have a pictorial record of over 100 halls, those who have been or still are involved with them, and some details of their history. The author was able to interview hall leaders and she had access to previously unpublished artefacts. The book is arranged by county, and as readers are taken on a historical and geographical journey, they may well recognise many of the faces and the halls. This reviewer was drawn to those halls where he is invited on a regular basis to preach in his role as secretary of EPS – Cullyvenny, Derrycrew, Kinallen and Ravernet.
Get hold of this book if you can, and give thanks for our mission hall heritage. Pray, too, that the Lord would strengthen the hand of those still involved in the work. And, as the author herself states, let us look forward to another mighty moving of God’s Spirit, when we will be able to say again ,”The revival has come!”