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In May 1878, Meyer resigned as pastor of
Victoria Road Baptist Church. However, there
were a number of members who had been
touched by Meyer’s effort to reach others.
Relating to this, Meyer wrote the following:
A number of friends gathered round
me and proposed that I should begin
preaching to the people in a public hall,
the Museum Buildings. Very shortly,
the place became crowded on Sunday
evenings, even to the adjacent room,
where people would sit to hear, though
they could not see the speaker. Large
numbers also professed conversion, and
joined the little church. 4
then so famous, spent about three weeks with me,
preaching those sermons and singing those hymns. 2
When Meyer assumed the pastorate at Victoria Road
Baptist Church, a large church in Leicester, he met stiff
resistance to his ministry of evangelism. Victoria Road
was a society church with paid pews. Those with wealth
were assigned special pews. The working class disliked
the pew system with its class and money distinctions. The
affluent members of Victoria Road had little interest and
some disdain for common people without class.
I had noticed what large crowds gather in
public halls and theaters to hear the simple
preaching of God’s Word; and I often
wished that the time might come when I
could preach regularly in a building where
all the seats were perfectly open and free to
all comers, early attendance alone giving a
claim to the same position. 3
On a cold evening in March 1880, about 300
persons gathered to dedicate a piece of ground
to God on which a new church building would
be erected. In July the memorial stones were laid and on
July 2, 1881, the new church, Melbourne Hall, opened
its doors for the first service. The building would seat
1,300. When the pews were filled, chairs were placed
in the aisles, bringing the capacity to 2,000. The church
had 80 workers and sometimes ministered to 2,500 in
Sunday school. I lived in his city. I walked in his steps. I
preached in his church. I would love to have known him.
Through his years in Leicester, F. B. Meyer
poured his heart into the city. He was a
practical and “people” person.
4 Meyer’s efforts to lead the church into
evangelism antagonized the class-conscious
members and were blocked by the same.
Victoria Road Baptist Church with its paid pews
and social status were steps to NOWHERE!
The Welford Coffee House
F.B. Meyer would meet prisoners
at the gate of the prison upon their
release and bring them here. He would
feed them and bring them to Christ.