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THE FREE CHURCHES.I -

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THE FREE CHURCHES. I THE BIRMINGHAM MEETINGS. j The sr^at event of the month among the J Free Ci.t i es is, of course, the Annual Meet- j of the jSational Free Church Council, which are to be held at Birmingham, March o to 8. Birmingham has memories for the Free Church Federation Movement. As the National Council { of the J vangcbcal Free Churches, this is its iirst it. but one of the preliminary Free Church Congresses was held there, and the gatherings were memorable. That was eleven years ago, and the President was the late Dr. Berry, whose memory is still green among the Free Churches. At that time there were only 1 •'0 Councils now there are nearly 900. It was at the Birmingham Congress that the Rev. Thomas Law was appointed Hon. Secretary of the Movement. The following year he removed to London as Organising Secretary. THE NEW PRESIDENT. Dr. Horton, after an eventful year, retires from his presidential office in favour of Alderman Rev. J. Scott Lidgett, M.A. The new President is, in many respects, dissimilar to his prede- cessor, and yet they have several things in com- mon. Mr. Lidgett is a Wesleyan, and is the Warden of Bermondsey Settlement in the East- end of London. He will thus be able to deal first hand with those social problems to the solution of which Dr. Horton called the atten- tion of the Free Churches last year. In muni- cipal life Mr. Lidgett has taken a prominent place. For many years he did splendid service on the London School Board, and when the London County Council took over the work of that body lie was co-opted on the Education Committee. He has now bet n made an Alder- man of the London County Council, an honour which his great services meiited. In addition to social and civic work, Mr. Lidgett has achieved a reputation as scholar and theologian, his books on The Spiritual Principle of the Atonement" and "The Fatherhood of God" being regarded as authoiities. PUBLIC QUESTIONS. The Eleventh Annual Council meets at an Auspicious time for Free Churchmen. For the last three or four years strong resoliltionq hrrve had to I)c „ ":1. ;]0injustice of the C(,NeiiiiiLiiL,- Li,:ii. isures. This time they meet after a unique victory—a victory which it is acknowledged, even by the defeated, was in a large measure owing to the action of Nonconformists on the Education Act. They can now look forward with confidence to educational justice being crfoimed at a not distant date. Resolution this question will be brought forward by ] liflord, Rev. F. B. Meyer. B.A., Aid. Foju.il Davios, M.P., Dr. Kastic :.j¡c1 Rev. Y;. D. Selbie, M.A. Och c 1e C alt with are -(. o Atrocities, Itr;erna;k-i.i: ;0. The ex- ;■ Section has put v. ■■ ri-. qnv.slic.ns into the A acl-^K'i.ud. ai: to is the Unpm- ployti*! P."? .< in. o< Id be a helpful elelaU- he VV ednesday of the -I of the ( U the Un- Lrul!( J cd. J'l. v a ;,1 ;>k on What the Ficc Ci.iu cues cr.u i't t the Problem," and Will Croolip wiil i alee "hat the State can do to solve the Problem." Another impor- tant question to be di^cnr-re'l v, ill be tha,f, on "A National T«.mpt-imco Policy." Mr. R. W. Perks, M.P.. will put; o-c • :>r re --olution. which 10 seconded by Rev. ('. R¡h-m;tcr I-lome, M.A. The address by T. W, Russell, M.P., on "Morality in Public Life" is down for Tuesday afternoon, and should be rousing and interesting. SERMONS AND ADDRESSES. As in previous years the devotional side of the Free Church Council Meetings will be strong. The first item of the Council Sessions will be a sermon by Dr. IIOl tun, the Retiring President. On the other mornings in the week sermons will be preached by Rev. C. F. Aked, D.D.,Rev.G. A. Johnston Ross, M.A., whilst the Council Sermon will be preached en Tuesday evening by the Rev. John Watson, D.D. At the Devotional Sessions on Thrrsday afternoon, Dr. G. Camp- bell Morgan will give the Communion Address, whilst other addresses will be given by Dr. Nicoll. the Editor of the British WeeMy, and the Rev. J. S. Simon. Preaching Services will be held on Wednesday evening in Birmingham, when sermons will be delivered by Rev. T. Flanagan, Rev. J. Hope Moulton, M.A., Rev. Thomas Phillips, B.A., Rev. Ambrose Shepherd, D.D. and Rev. John Thomas. EVANGELISTIC WORK. Among the other topics to be dealt with, great interest should be shown on the discussion of Open Air Preaching. The Rev. George Hanson, D.D., is to give an address on The Necessity for Open Air Preaching," whilst the Rev. C. Ensor Walters will follow with Methods of Training." The question of a National Simulta- neous Open Air Mission for the summer of next year will be brought forward. PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS. In addition to the Sessions of the National Council, an almost bewildering number of en- gagements are arranged to be held in Bir- mingham and its vicinity. On Monday, March 5, the Right Hon. Lord Mayor of Bir- mingham will hold a reception in the Town Hall. At the same time a Young People's Demonstration will be going forward in another large hall. Other meetings include Men's Meeting, Women's Meeting, Free Church De- monstrations, iVc. Last year one of the most notable meetings was the Midnight Service. This will be repeated ibis year at (A.ven o'clock at the Central Hall on Wednesday "ight. The National Free Chinch Council's Missioners • Gipsy Smith, Mr. W. H. Lane, and Rev. J, Toiefreo -are expected to take part. ACCOMMODATION. The ordinary man in the street can have no conception of what immense labour is entailed in such a series of meetings as that of the National Council. At the headquarters in London preparations are going forward very soon after the previous year's meetings. At Birmingham this year no less than twelve sub- committees have been formed to deal with the arrangements. Magnificent premises have been secured for the meetings. The Central Hall, Manchester, which is to be the headquarters, is perhaps the finest building eirler used by the National Council.

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