This is the third in the series of articles tracing the development of ecclesias in suburban Adelaide and country areas. The Enfield Ecclesia was very much the product of two major activities. The first was the Prospect Elpis Israel Class and the other the Gospel Proclamation Association. It is appropriate that this issue of “The Lampstand” also deals with the history of the GPA and its important role in the establishing of a number of the Suburban Ecclesias.

The Enfield Ecclesia, like so many ecclesias, had its beginning through Gospel Proclamation activities. It was the Northern Suburbs Lecture group of brethren and sisters who, in the late 1950’s, commenced a lecture effort on Sunday evenings in the hope of arousing some interest in the Truth in the northern area. The still small voice of Truth first sounded out from a poorly lit and inaccessible hall at Klemzig. Attendances were not encouraging and it necessitated perseverance if the effort was to succeed. Under these circumstances valuable lessons were learned by all those connected with this venture. We were taught to “despise not the day of small things”. Here was an opportunity to develop that character so necessary for the heirs of the Kingdom to possess. Every individual who attended, was made to feel that his or her presence was vital to the meeting and this gave each one a personal interest in the work.

When the opportunity arose, the meeting place was moved to a better locality, and subsequent meetings found us in the Druids’ Hall at Collinswood, situated as it was in a splendid locality on the Main North East Road, affording us scope for effective advertising. Here again we met with limited success. Attendances continued to be poor in the main, but occasionally there were encouraging meetings and as time went by, we saw the result of labour faithfully pursued in the service of Yahweh. The planting and watering were blessed with increase and several baptisms took place.

Enfield Ecclesia Formed

 Then came the offer of a Hall on the Main North Road. Excitement ran high as we considered the offer. The prominence of the location would afford better opportunity to continue preaching activities. It was suggested that this time we should move into this new locality as an ecclesia. An approach was made to the Adelaide Ecclesia, as most of the group were members of that meeting. After some considerable discussion, which included a general meeting of all concerned, the decision was made to commence an ecclesia in the northern areas for the furtherance of the Truth. Thus, with God’s blessing, Enfield Ecclesia came into being on 5 May 1957.

The ecclesia ran special campaigns and efforts and it was during one such Special Effort that we learned of the sale of our hired hall on the Main North Road to an oil company who, for the purpose of building a service station, intended to demolish the building. Given only a few weeks to vacate the premises we were placed in an awkward predicament. To this point of time we had never contemplated building our own hall, being quite content to remain, as it were, pilgrims in this respect. Now action had to be taken to find a suitable meeting place.

Enfield Buys A Baptist Church

 However, before serious consideration could be given to this problem, there came an unexpected but welcome offer from a brother. The brother had purchased a Baptist Church to use for a warehouse but hearing of our plight offered it to the ecclesia. We were overjoyed at the prospect as it seemed the Father’s hand had providentially acted at a time when it was greatly needed. Donations and interest-free loans were called for and an excellent response was the result.

Thus in February 1960 the Enfield Ecclesia commenced its activities in its recently acquired Baptist Church with a Special Effort on “The Faith in the Last Days”.

 Since its inception the brethren and sisters of the Enfield Ecclesia had felt that the blessings of our Heavenly Father had been with them. No less than 19 baptisms had taken place since the ecclesia started. Equally important was the progress of individual brethren and sisters in aspects of the work in the Truth which they previously considered beyond them. This, we feel, is the greatest virtue of a small ecclesia.

Although over the next six years the Truth was prospering the old church was decaying! The ecclesia continued to grow and the Sunday School numbered 100. With the growth of the ecclesia it was difficult to accommodate the members for the Memorial Meeting. Added to this dilemma, the Council condemned the rooms at the rear of the hall. They were of wooden construction but were eaten out with dry rot.

The sisters had to be careful that the heels of their shoes did not go through the floorboards!

Move To A New Hall

 Again the ecclesia was blessed. Two brethren donated the land in Hampstead Road, Clearview, where the current Hall now stands. It was therefore decided to commence a building project. The cost of construction at the time was estimated at $26,250. An appeal was made throughout the brotherhood and strongly supported by the ecclesial members also.

In February 1967 the opening Effort, “Let Us Rise Up And Build” led by Bro H P Mansfield, was held in the new Ecclesial Hall.

Throughout the following years the ecclesia continued to grow. In the 1980’s ecclesial membership was well in excess of 200, more than half of these members having come into the Truth through Gospel Proclamation activities.

Supporting Other New Ecclesias

 Throughout the 30 years that Enfield has conducted its meetings at Hampstead Road three new ecclesias have been formed by members mainly from Enfield. These ecclesias are Tea Tree Gully, Salisbury and Golden Grove. Even considering the number of brethren and sisters who left to commence the work in these new areas, the membership at Enfield has remained around 240 for many years now.

Reflections

 Those who have been members of Enfield Ecclesia through much of the past 37 years, on looking back, thank Yahweh not only for His blessing upon faithful labour but for the opportunity to use their varying talents to help in His work in these last days. The difficult toil under trying circumstances at times was all overshadowed by the care and providence of Yahweh. It was His means whereby opportunity has been given to those involved to develop their trust in Him and mould into their lives His character that they might be found among a people prepared for their Lord at his coming.

Enfield