The Rev. E. Nicholls has accepted a call to the Hastings Church, left vacant by the resignation of the Rev. Keith Ewen. Mr Nicholls has done much appreciated service in Auckland.
HASTINGS (Vacant).—This month's report is shadowed by the sadness of farewells. At a special banquet in connection with the institute a farewell presentation was made to the Rev. T. Keith Ewen on the eve of his departure from our midst. Our leader, in a suitable speech, touched on the happy relationships which had existed between the pastor and young people. Mr Ewen was presented with a small memento, which will serve as a memory link as the years pass by. At a social following the banquet, Mr Ewen presented Mrs H. Ricketts our Senior Bible Class leader, with a jewel case on her removal to Nelson. Presentations from the Bible Classes were also given to Misses Celia and Freda Burn and Master William Ricketts on their removal. They have all been active workers with us in choir and school and institute, and we shall miss them. We have had two baptismal services during the month, and 13 of our young people passed through the waters as a seal to the faithful ministry of our devoted pastor.—F. E. Barley.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—It was with intense gratitude we received the good news of the acceptance by the Rev. E. Nicholls, of Ponsonby, of the call to succeed the Rev. T. Keith Ewen. Naturally, we rejoice in so speedy a settlement, and we look forward to a happy and helpful ministry. February 24 will mark the commencement of his new pastorate, so by the time these hues are in print we trust that he and Mrs Nicholls and family will be feeling quite at home amongst us. During our pastor-less period the pulpit has been creditably occupied by Messrs H. Farmilo, A. Sims, R. Sowersby, and F. E. Barley, all associated with the church, and Mr Doug. Neilson, of the Bible Training Institute, Auckland, also conducted a number of services, which were highly appreciated. The congregations through the holiday season have been very satisfactory. The Sunday School annual picnic, held at Farndon Park under ideal weather conditions, passed off most successfully. Our church year has closed with the financial position being such that calls for gratitude and thanksgiving. The various departments of work are all in a healthy condition, and we enter on a new year with a feeling of optimism. To fill three vacancies on the diaconate, Messrs P. Lascelles, R. Naysmith, and R. E. Barley, the last-named re-elected to a further period of service, have been entrusted to the high office.—F. E. Barley.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—Our new pastor and his wife and family are settling down happily in our midst. The congregations on his first Sunday were distinctly encouraging. His messages morning and evening were inspiring in character, and gave evidence of a helpful ministry ahead. About 100 gathered around the Lord's table at the close of the morning service, and the sweet time of fellowship and Communion proved a blessing to all. Our week-night prayer meeting has been largely augmented in numbers by the institution of a Bible study class, and our pastor's illuminating studies on "Prayer" have been a source of great stimulus. We were sorry to say farewell to our young brother Mr Wilfred Fitzgerald, who has entered the Bible Training Institute, Auckland. He rendered valued and appreciated service as leader of the Junior Christian Endeavour, Sunday School teacher, and choir member. We follow him with our prayer interest. Much enjoyment has been afforded members of the Young People's Institute by social gatherings held at the homes of Mrs Sisson and Messrs A. Sims, M. W. P. Lascelles, and R. E. Barley. At the annual meeting of the B.W.M.U. Mrs Nicholls was elected president. Mrs Baker, secretary, and Mrs McCann, treasurer. A revival of missionary interest is their watchword for the coming year. It gave us great pleasure to entertain the Central Auxiliary at their annual meetings, which were a source of spiritual uplift to all.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—Harvest services held on March 24 were of a bright and inspiring nature. Large congregations, appropriate messages by our pastor, special anthems by the choir, and a glorious array of harvest gifts contributed to a joyful celebration. The Bible Study Class, combined with our weekly prayer meeting, is growing in interest and blessing. Our pastor and his wife have set out on a systematic visitation, and their good work is reflected in the growing congregations; the evening service especially showing a big increase. A Senior Christian Endeavour has been organised for the young people, and Mrs Nicholls has kindly undertaken the oversight of the Sunday morning Junior Christian Endeavour, so Endeavour work is destined to become a big feature in our church activities. A Boys' Club has also been formed, which is calculated to be a great blessing to the youths in our midst. The club is under the control of Mr Eric Price, late of Auckland, who is joining up with us. On Sunday, April 7, a combined Bible Class rally was held, when glowing reports were given by those privileged to attend the Easter camps. A tea followed, which proved a time of happy fellowship. An effort is being made to revive interest in the monthly afternoon service held at Pukahu. A. number of friends, including many young people, journeyed out with Mr Nicholls on the occasion of his first visit, and a large attendance conduced to a very inspiring service. We learned with much regret of the passing of Mr William Collins, Leicester, England. For many years he was an esteemed officer of our church, and much sympathy will be felt for the bereaved widow. The Sunday School prizes were distributed by our pastor on Sunday, April 14, and it was most encouraging to see so many of our scholars reaping the reward of good attendance and conduct.—F. E. B.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—We enjoyed a visit from the Rev. A. L. Leeder, of Australia, and his illustrated lecture on "Missionary Work in Russia" gave us a great conception of what is being wrought for God in that difficult sphere of service. Miss Jennie Street received a hearty welcome amongst us. She addressed our Junior C.E., took a Sunday morning service, spoke to a combined Bible Class Rally, and concluded with her lecture on "A Visit to the Holy Land." Our Junior and Senior C.E. are now established on constitutional lines, and we are grateful for the numbers showing interest in this helpful movement. It was with sincere regret that after a long period of devoted service our Sunday School Superintendent, Mr Stevenson, tendered his resignation. He has been most successful in this important office, and has won high regard among the scholars and teachers. We are grateful that the way has opened for Mr H. Farmilo to succeed Mr Stevenson, and we predict for him the warm loyalty of those engaged in Sunday School labours. We appreciate occasional visits from Mr Nicholls to the school. His happy manner and ardent zeal for the welfare of the school are very inspiring. By the generosity of a kind friend, six gas radiators have been installed in the Church. With the winter months approaching, a warm building will do much to retain and increase the encouraging congregation assembling each Lord's Day. Our Minister and his wife are now getting acquainted with our Church members and adherents, and their combined ministry is of a telling nature — F. E. B.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—The various church agencies are keeping active throughout the winter months. The Junior C.E., under the leadership of Mrs Nicholls, is progressing apace. A tea and social evening was attended by about 80 members, and the children had a right royal time. Our Worshipping League is also growing, and the presence of so many young people is inspiring both to pastor and people. The week-night Bible study class is attracting a gratifying attendance, and quite a number testify to the help received there-from. Our pastor's lecture on his experiences in the London Police Force proved most interesting. In his own inimitable style of depicting the humour and pathos of London life he held his audience captivated. Our church funds benefited considerably by the effort. A number of our scholars sat for the Scripture examination, but with a forward move in the Sunday School it is hoped greatly to increase the number next year.— F. E. Barley.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—Our church building was placed at the disposal of Dr W. H. Pettit for his lecture on "Evolution." He was greeted by a large and sympathetic audience, and the resolution of protest that this subject should not be taught in the public schools was carried, with only one dissentient. Our Union Secretary, the Rev M. W. P. Lascelles, was present. Our annual church and congregational social was a happy and successful event. A pleasant evening was spent by a large company in games and competitions, interspersed with vocal, instrumental, and elocutionary items. The secretary's report was of an encouraging character. Mr F. Offen (deacon) briefly but appropriately eulogised the helpful ministry of Mr Nicholls, so willingly supported by Mrs Nicholls. Signs were evident, he said, of great blessing resulting from their united efforts to further the welfare of the church and Christ's Kingdom. We received a visit from Rev. F. A. Crawshaw in connection with the mission among lepers. He occupied the pulpit on a Sunday morning, and his message was much appreciated. In keeping with the King's request thanksgiving for his recovery was duly observed. Members of the Loyal Orange Lodge were in attendance on their annual parade, and our pastor's address was appropriate to the occasion.— F. E. Barley.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—The services of our late Sunday School superintendent, Mr A. Stevenson, extending over a period of ten years, were recognised in a tangible manner. Our pastor fittingly expressed the appreciation of the teachers and scholars and members of the church in paying a glowing tribute to the loyal and devoted labours of Mr Stevenson. On behalf of the teachers and scholars, he presented him with a fountain pen, and from members of the church and congregation a number of books, including "The Man Nobody Knows," "Life of Spurgeon," and "Autobiography of Sir Edward Grey." The gifts were suitably acknowledged. College Sunday was observed the first Sunday in August, and a welcome amount was raised for so worthy an object. Our pastor preached appropriately on "Principles of the Baptist Faith." Prevailing sickness has seriously affected our congregations of late, but an improvement was shown at our last Bible Study class. Our Junior C.E., which has the distinction of having the largest membership in the Dominion, enjoyed to the full a successful social evening.—F. E. Barley.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—A successful concert was held to raise funds in aid of the Sunday School. The excellent programme was much appreciated by a large audience. We had the presence of the Rev. C. Matthews, of Palmerston North, at a mid-week prayer meeting, and his inspirational address was listened to with rapt interest and attention. Our pastor made an interchange visit with the Rev. O. MacHattie, of Napier, on a recent Sunday morning. His thoughtful message was much enjoyed. These visits help to forge stronger the bond of union between the two churches. The Bible Study Circle still attracts a large attendance. Our pastor is now dealing with the story of creation, with blackboard illustrations, and the series is proving most instructive and edifying. Members of the Worshipping League take a practical and pleasing part in our morning services.—F. E. Barley.
HASTINGS (Rev. E. Nicholls).—The choir, under the capable conductorship of our choirmaster, Mr J. Bewley, rendered the sacred cantata, "The New Jerusalem," and their efforts were greatly enjoyed by an appreciative congregation. The soloists, Mesdames J. W. Berridge, L. Compton, and F. E. Barley, and Messrs Compton, Berridge, and Sanders sang their parts admirably. It was inspiring to get Conference echoes on the return from Auckland of our pastor and his wife. A resume of the various meetings given at the week-night meeting was listened to with pleasure and profit. Our Sunday School anniversary celebrations, held on November 10, though not favoured with the usual wealth of sunshine, passed off most successfully. The building was tastefully decorated for the occasion. The scholars and choir presented a charming appearance, and their singing under the baton of Mr J. Bewley was delightful, attesting careful and efficient training. Our pastor preached appropriately morning and evening, the church, being crowded for the evening service. The Rev. O. MacHattie addressed a large gathering in the afternoon. The festival concluded with a tea for scholars and parents on the following Wednesday. The subsequent concert given by the scholars and members of the Bible Classes was of high-class order, and the varied programme was well received by a crowded audience. The Secretary, Mr Colin Murray, gave a very encouraging report. The most pleasing feature of the anniversary was the fact of many of the scholars indicating to the pastor their decision to surrender their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.—F. E. Barley.