Evangelism in Dublin

DUBLIN, grand old city of the Emerald Isle, occupied an important place on the stage of Adventist action during the summer of 1971. Twelve students from Andrews University representing five different countries joined my wife and me; Mrs. Elsie Fitzgerald, organist; and Dr. and Mrs. Wilbur K. Nelson, of Loma Linda University's School of Public Health, for a field school of evangelism. . .

-Evangelist, Southern California Conference, at the time this article was written

DUBLIN, grand old city of the Emerald Isle, occupied an important place on the stage of Adventist action during the summer of 1971. Twelve students from Andrews University representing five different countries joined my wife and me; Mrs. Elsie Fitzgerald, organist; and Dr. and Mrs. Wilbur K. Nelson, of Loma Linda University's School of Public Health, for a field school of evangelism. Associated with this staff were workers from the Irish Mission and British Union Conference.

To most of us prior to this experience Ireland was the beautiful Emerald Isle, land of the ancient Celtic church, and a place of current religious hostility. Upon more intimate acquaintance, however, we learned some interesting things about this place known as the "Pope's most faithful parish."

Few places on earth present greater challenges to Adventism than does the Republic of Ireland. Our work began there during the decade of the 1880's. After nearly ninety years of work our church in Dublin at the beginning of the summer of 1971 had 30 members. This came as a surprise to us, but to further discover that this congregation represents our entire work in the Republic was startling. This fortress of Catholicism has been practically impregnable to the three an gels' messages. We learned that in Dublin 95 percent of the populace are members of the Roman communion and 96 percent of the people go to church every Sunday.

Bible-Health Approach

The minister for the church, Pastor E. E. Pettit, and his associate, Pastor Robert Vine, had made efficient preparation for the campaign. An auditorium in connection with the Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayors of Dublin, was secured for the first portion of the meetings. We were pleased and grateful to have Dr. and Mrs. Nelson as a part of our team. They conducted a strong health component in the program, including lectures, demonstrations, films, and a 5-Day Plan to Stop Smoking. The advertising clearly identified the program as a Bible-health presentation. The attendance was not spectacular, but was consistent throughout the entire series. The opening night attendance was eighty-five, only fifteen of whom were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Due to the shortage of funds in the budget, automobiles could not be secured for the staff to use in visitation. So the city of 570,000 was divided into sections, and the students diligently followed up the interests on bicycles.

Janet Nelson, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Nelson; Keith Knoche; and Kenneth Penner fused their musical talents and sang and played on the street near Saint Stephens Green, a park in the heart of the city. This presentation brought a number of people to the services.

A Thrilling Experience

After two weeks the program was moved to the church. We have a lovely little church in a prominent location in Dublin. Our non-Adventist attendance made the transfer gracefully and without loss of numbers. It was an inspiration to see the church filled with many from the Irish religious background who a few weeks before had never heard of Seventh-day Adventists.

At the close of the series the church grew numerically by 20 percent through baptism, with another baptism planned. We discovered that these people can accept the message intellectually about the same pace as in other parts of the world. The challenge comes in making the psychological and emotional adjustments. The last Sabbath of the campaign, after the baptism had been conducted, there were nearly twenty interested people in attendance at the Sabbath service.

God's Holy Spirit is working in Ireland. There were a number of remarkable evidences of His leading in preparing people to accept His message. Looming bold on the horizon of the great unfinished task is old Ireland. We urge you to include the work and workers in this challenging field in your prayers.


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-Evangelist, Southern California Conference, at the time this article was written

June 1972

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