THE EDWARD JEFFREYS' CRUSADES
(A condensed version of The 1934 Revival)
Of all the moves of God that have taken place in Liverpool, the crusades taken by Edward Jeffreys and his team were probably the most spectacular. They impacted Liverpool in a way that had probably not been seen before and has certainly not been seen since then. On one day in June 1934, 3000 people came to know the Lord and I do believe that this one event alone could well be unique in UK history. Multitudes of people were drawn into the kingdom and many outstanding healings took place with the blind, deaf, and crippled experiencing God’s miraculous power. The team comprising Edward Jeffreys and his two helpers Esaiah Davies and Horace Trembath came in faith with virtually no advance publicity, and just a few leaflets and a 3000 seater tent. Their dependence was on God with little or no recourse to material or human resources. God certainly blessed them for within a couple of weeks God’s tremendous power was being manifested in a way, which had rarely been seen before even during the Welsh Revival.
The crusade commenced on 28th May 1934. On the first night people came from other Bethel churches (the movement started by him) in other towns to support the crusade, but after that he was left alone with his team. The campaign opened in a very quiet way and writing about it some time later Edward Jeffreys said that there was nothing to suggest at that time that God was going to open such a flood-gate of blessing on the City of Liverpool. Within a couple of weeks, however, it became clear that God was certainly moving and the cumulative effect of what God was doing was reverberating around Liverpool and that the people attending was growing rapidly every day. By the middle of June the report of what God was doing came to the attention of the local press and the amazing scenes that were being witnessed were reported on an almost daily basis. Here is a report from the Liverpool Echo on 12th June 1934, with the following headline:-
"Amazing scenes at faith healing mission, Bootle; Women in tears; Invalids state they have been cured."
The reporter stated that "a crowd of 4000, singing hymns in a marquee, had seen cripples throw away their crutches and heard them state that they had been cured. The marquee was crowded, with hundreds outside. After the pastor had preached, some of the women were so overcome that they had to be assisted outside with tears streaming down their faces. Cripples on crutches, paralytics in bath chairs and pallid invalids formed a solid rank down the side of the tent." At this meeting a young girl, who had never been able to walk, was healed and walked across the platform to the cries of "hallelujah" from the congregation. Also healed at this meeting, as also reported in the Evening Express, was a Welsh Congregational minister, Rev. Ynys-Thomas. After being blind in his left eye for 24 years his sight was instantaneously restored after prayer. Realising that his right eye was also failing he was contemplating learning Braille, but after prayer he read before the congregation without wearing glasses and could see clearly in both eyes."
Five days later there was a crowd of 8000 people at the evening service with 1000 people receiving Christ as their Saviour. On the 19th June the crowds had swollen to 10,000 people (with many more people outside the tent than inside) with 3000 decisions recorded that day, from the afternoon and evening services.
Here is a report from another local newspaper on Friday 22 June 1934 with the following headline: -
"Amazing Scenes at Faith Healing Tent. Fifty cures a day! Ten thousand people attend services. Waiting all night."
The reporter stated that 10,000 people were present that evening and that people were coming from not only from all parts of Liverpool, but also from North Wales and as far afield as Scarborough. From the early hours of the morning people were waiting to gain admittance to the services, and one person was waiting at 10pm in order to attend the afternoon service the next day. In his report he said that "it is an extremely moving spectacle to see the maimed and blind people, some in great pain, hobble or grope their way up the few steps, and in a few minutes testify to the onlooking thousands that they have been cured."
A week later the same newspaper carried the following headline:
"A SEA OF FACES AT THE FAITH HEALING TENT" with a photograph the full width of the paper of part of the huge crowd in attendance. The sub-heading read "Great crowds continue to attend revival meetings"
The paper reports that the wet weather does not have any effect on the congregation but on the contrary large numbers sometimes greater than 10,000 people are maintained consistently.
In early July a new marquee accommodating 5000 people is erected, but even this is not enough to accommodate the crowds to whom the service is relayed through amplifiers. This tent was described as the biggest evangelical tent in the country. Following on from this another tent was erected in Tuebrook, another part of Liverpool and the same phenomenal successes were seen there, with a multitude of healings taking place.
On 24 September it was reported that some 17 weeks after the first meetings were held a congregation of between 3000 and 6000 people were still gathering every night in Bootle, with people still being converted and healed at every service.
The crusades of 1934 had a profound effect not only on many of God’s people but also very much on the local community as well. This of course is what is expected during times of revival, and parts of Liverpool were certainly no exception.
Here are some of the observations that were made of the crusades by God’s people at that time and then some further comments on how the influence of the crusades affected the life of the town: -
Some impressions of the crusade meetings
There are also some further testimonies from people who have just given their initials:-
The effect on the life of the town
1. The wonderful grip it had on men and women who rarely heard the story of Christ and His redeeming love.
2. The complete and marvellous change in the conversation of men and women and young people everywhere in the trams, buses, offices and workshops. The topic of conversation was not gambling as it used to be, but of the saving power of Christ, not of the fashion of time, but of eternal realities.
A foreman remarked that the men had never worked so well together as now; there was little blaspheming and the general topic of conversation was "the Tent." Men are heard singing at their work, "I fell in love with the Nazarene," and there is concord and a spirit of harmony where once there was cursing and swearing."
At the end of 1934 a permanent purpose built dwelling to accommodate 2000 people was constructed to hold the crowds that were still anxious to attend at Bootle. Here is a photograph of that first service: -
For those converted at the Tuebrook crusade meetings it was a while before they were able to find a suitable meeting place, so they met in a cinema and dance hall, and then in the Casino Skating Rink in Kensington which could accommodate 5000 people. Underneath is a photograph of part of the congregation during a baptismal service held there. Eventually they built their own church building in Green Lane, Tuebrook: -
Both churches are still continuing today some 70 years later.
A full account of these amazing crusades with modern day testimonies of people whose lives were transformed as a result of those meetings when they were youngsters is given in my booklet "Liverpool Gripped by Revival."