More than 200 people gathered earlier this year to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the revival that began in Lowestoft in 1921.
Rev. Kyle Paisley opened the meeting with prayer, before the singing of ‘Blessed be the fountain of blood’, once known as the Hymn of the Revival.
Matthew Pickhaver gave an illustrated presentation called ‘Remembering revival: Lowestoft in 1921’. In it, he described the places involved, beginning with London Road Baptist, before moving on to Christchurch, Bethel and St John’s.
He also focused on other towns across East Anglia, such as Ipswich, Norwich and Great Yarmouth. Thanks to the herring fishing industry, the revival was in north-east Scotland also.
He gave brief biographies of the two main preachers featuring in the story: refined London Baptist minister Rev. Arthur Douglas Brown, and rough Scottish herring-cooper-turned-evangelist Jock Troup.
Finally, he gave many examples of the ways in which ordinary people were affected and their lives changed for the better. Many verses of Scripture were used throughout to outline the nature of revival, the importance of prayer for another such work of God in our day and the simple message of the gospel.
After singing ‘Revive thy work again’, Rev. Graham Pickhaver closed in prayer. Afterwards, over refreshments, those attending browsed an exhibition of photographs of Lowestoft and Gt Yarmouth in 1921 and of the two preachers, as well as cuttings from the Lowestoft Journal and Christian newspapers of the time.
There was a collage on display, made by children at the church’s spring holiday club, which was called, ‘1921 — See what God has done!’
The story of this revival has been made famous in Stanley Griffin’s 1992 book, A forgotten revival. Mrs Joy Griffin, who made the day possible by lending much of the material her late husband had collected over 20 years, was a welcome guest.
Also present were Waveney MP Peter Aldous, one of his predecessors, at least three local councillors and representatives from many different churches in the area. Some visitors brought memories of parents or grandparents who had lived through the events.
Those involved in the preparation of this event knew much of the Lord’s help and, immediately following and in the days since, the response has been encouraging and humbling.
Many who were present were stirred up, as we all must be, to cry to our God all the more earnestly, ‘Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?’ (Psalm 85:6).