GENERAL IMPRESSIONS OF THE CRUSADE AND ITS EFFECT ON THE COMMUNITY
The Liverpool Crusades of 1934 most certainly had a profound effect not only
on many of God’s people but also very much on the local community as well. This
surely is the mark of any powerful move of God as in the Welsh Revival when it
not only effects those who attend the meetings but it also has a very marked
effect on the community as well. This we saw in the Welsh Revival in that
people’s talk was different, family life was transformed, the pubs trade was
affected, and prayer meetings were being held in the pits and steelworks. The
effect of the Tent Mission was perhaps almost as dramatic as that in the Welsh
Revival as we will see a little later, the only difference being in the scope of
it. The 1934 missions were very much a localised revival (although it did affect
people from many other areas also) whereas the Welsh Revival of course affected
many parts of Wales and also certain parts of England as well.
What I would like to do is first of all relate 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.
Following on from this I have added in "Modern Day Recollections" some recollections from
people that I have recently contacted who were either converted or healed during
the crusades or who were just present at some of the meetings.
Some impressions of the crusade meetings
- It was noted that the atmosphere was not one of great excitement but on
the contrary it was one of reverence. Frequent comments were made of the
orderliness and impressiveness of the gatherings, despite the fact that so few
were seated comfortably with the greater part standing outside in the open
- Even the hymn singing was anointed with a great favourite being "Nearer my
God to Thee" which was sung with great earnestness and fervour.
- An elderly preacher who had been involved in the great crusades of Moody
and Torrey in Liverpool remarked that whereas Torrey enjoyed the expectant and
united assistance of scores of ministers and clergymen, a huge choir and
hundreds of eager volunteers workers, Edward Jeffreys had only a small company
of helpers, i.e. a soloist and pianist. Yet within a week Bootle was thrilled
by the wonderful conversions, by the marvellous healings which daily followed
the preaching of the gospel. He said that he had never before found such a
readiness to hear about Jesus and His love.
- A Baptist Minister Rev W R Jones said after attending the meetings for a
few weeks that he had seen the most glorious things that he had ever witnessed
which had moved him to the very depth of his personality and gripped his soul.
What moved him was the reverence of the huge crowd, the eagerness to hear the
Word of God, and the wonderful response to the pastor’s appeal.
- Writing about this some time later Edward Jeffreys said that one felt such
a sense of God’s presence and such a manifestation of power that their souls
were filled with awe and amazement, almost to the point of being frightened at
what would happen next. Likening the situation to the earthquake experienced
by Paul and Silas at Philippi, he said that God sent a spiritual wave of power
that shook the whole city. Such was the impact that it made that people came
from various parts of England and Wales and even from Ireland. He went on to
say that as he looked upon those wonderful days in Bootle and in other parts
of Liverpool his heart went out in thankful praise to Him who confirmed His
word with such mighty signs and so graciously blessed their feeble efforts.
- Nell Hawkins from Bethel Church, Tuebrook,
recalled, "We can never forget the mighty "Hallelujahs" which resounded from
all corners of the tent, or fail to remember the tremendous wave of joy and
enthusiasm which swept over the vast crowd as they sang those simple choruses
and witnessed miracles of spiritual and physical healing."
- Mrs Frostick, later from Netherton related, "I can remember the tremendous
communion service on the Sunday morning. Even I took it as a young child. We
went nearly every night. Whole families would walk up Marsh Lane, together."
Her younger sister Mrs T Orchard, later from Litherland added "we followed the
crowds from Bibby’s Lane. Everyone was talking about the healings they had
seen the night before."
- Dr J A Anderson of the China Inland Mission and author of several books
remarked that the meetings he attended at the Casino Skating Rink filled his
heart with joy and his mouth with praise to God. It stirred up memories of the
great crusades held by Moody and Sankey, Torrey and Chapman-Alexander when
witnessing the great crowds gathering day by day, to hear the glorious gospel
proclaimed in its fullness and freeness.
- Rev J L Mair said, "It is a wonderful sight to see the immediate response
all over the huge tent and among those who are standing either inside it or
outside. As many as 6 young men in one group have been seen to stand together
to accept Christ, immediately the appeal was made."
- Rev D E Jones, when describing the effect that the meetings had on him
said, "I have never witnessed anything like them! The spiritual and natural
power of God is being revealed in an extraordinary degree in the saving of
souls and the healing of bodies. The signs of the wonderful works of our Lord
Jesus Christ are being re-enacted in the present generation – fulfilling the
prophecy about ‘the greater works’ literally and substantially. The fetters
of sin are broken, the chains of evil habits are snapped, mighty barriers are
brushed aside, intense darkness and gloom are chased away by the light of the
Sun of righteousness. Prophecies are being fulfilled, mighty promises are
realised, and the glory of God is being revealed."
- This is how Aerona Williams described the breaking of bread service on
Sunday 17th June, "We felt that we were truly in the tabernacle of
God; a holy awe fell on the tent, and it seemed that we were standing on holy
ground. All we could do was just bow our heads and worship the Lord." Her
impression of the evening service was given as follows, "What an atmosphere!
What a congregation! What singing! What testimonies! A glorious climax to a
glorious weekend. The Gospel tent was again packed, and yet people streamed in
from all directions to hear the story of Redeeming Love. Many, many hundreds
were obliged to stand outside. At the close of Pastor Edward’s address an
invitation was given for people to take Christ into their lives. Unless one
was an eyewitness, it is difficult to visualise the scene. All over the tent
men and women stood to their feet, and hundreds of hands were raised by those
standing around. The number was far, far too many to count. What a glorious
sight – multitudes coming into the Kingdom of God, probably about 1500, but it
is difficult to estimate such a vast number. To God be the glory, great things
He has done."
- Here is an extract from a Nellie Brown who wrote from another part of
Liverpool, "I sincerely hope with God’s grace that you will be able to plant a
Bethel Temple somewhere in the wilderness. Children are talking about you on
their way to school in the mornings. These meetings could go on forever and we
would not get tired. You have set Liverpool and Bootle tingling. You have
completely cleaned the town up.
There are also some further testimonies from people who have just given their
- I am a South Wales man and my wife is from Penarth. I attended Evan
Robert’s meetings when it swept the whole of Wales – also Gypsy Smith’s
meetings, but I have not seen anything to equal these meetings – E.G.
- On entering the tent each evening I was deeply impressed by the pervading
feeling of joyous expectancy and anticipation that seemed to fill and thrill
one’s being – F.M.
- What impressed me most was the effect it had on a type of men who rarely
went into a place of worship – R.P.
- How my soul rejoiced to see the shining faces of joy on these dear people.
I thought of Moses shining face and at those moments it became real to me. I
thought of Jesus healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind - it all
because real to me there in Bootle. I saw as it were, fetters and cords being
loosed, leg and arm joints being unlocked, a shining coming on the faces of
many who were healed - RS
The effect on the life of the town
- Rev W R Jones when writing of the far-reaching influence that the campaign
had had on the social and religious life, referred to:-
- The wonderful grip it had on men and women who rarely heard the story of
Christ and His redeeming love.
- 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.
- Rev W H Maddock made the remark that, "The dire need of those days was a
revival which would change lives and homes and bring a blessed atmosphere of
God into business places, dockside and even in the cemetery among the grave
diggers and that it was such a revival that was witnessed at Bootle and
Tuebrook." (How much greater is that need today!)
- The Bootle Times of 6th July 1934 in its coverage of the
campaign reported that a request had been received from a group of dockworkers
that Edward Jeffreys and his helpers should hold dinner-hour services at the
docks. It appears that they were never held but it does show the impact that
these crusades were making everywhere around. In fact it was reported that
many were rebuked for swearing on the docks, and that the "Annual" for 1935
carried the following report from there -:
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.
- One eyewitness of effects of the crusade on the life of the town made the
remark that "every back yard rang with the Praise of God."
- In one of his replies to the Unitarian Minister and sceptic, Rev H Fisher
Short in the Bootle Times, Pastor Hulbert referred him to something that could
not be disputed. Here is what he said,"First of all men’s lives are being
changed, homes are different, children are better cared for, debts are being
paid, and thousands of dear people have a song in their hearts. Melody is seen
and heard where once discord ruled. This is the greatest miracle and is
brought about by the direct intervention of God through our Lord Jesus Christ
in the affairs of men and women. Where spiritual blindness ruled, the eyes of
the soul have been opened. The chains of sin have been broken and there is
great joy in the city."