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During the same years, the old church,
Victoria Road, which had rejected
Meyer’s evangelistic leadership, grew
weaker and weaker. Finally, to survive,
the church merged with another Baptist
church in the city, leaving their large and
glorious building. Today, a cult group
uses the building, while Melbourne Hall
continues to flourish.
Through his years in Leicester, F. B.
Meyer poured his heart into the city.
He was a practical and “people” person.
He developed a prison ministry that
changed many lives. He had noticed that
when men were discharged at the prison
gate on Monday morning, many of
them whose families did not meet them
returned to the beer house across the
street from the prison. There they would
begin again the cycle that had led them
to prison in the first place.
M Victoria Road Baptist Church with its paid pews
and social status was Steps to NOWHERE!
eyer made it his business to wait at the prison
gate for these men. He offered to take them
to the coffee house instead of the beer house.
There he would feed them and witness to them of Christ.
Hundreds were converted in this way. He would encour-
age them to sign a pledge not to drink again. The great
problem that these former prisoners faced was that of
employment. No one want-
ed to hire an ex-con. Even-
tually, Meyer organized
business enterprises to give
these men work. First, there
was the F. B. Meyer Fire-
wood Merchant. With Mey-
er’s name attached, people
bought the wood readily.
This was followed by the
Commenting on this enter-
prise, Meyer wrote:
It was said, a little unfairly, that a man must get into
prison before I would do anything to help him….
After considerable cogitation, I bought a ladder or
two, some pails, and started one or two men on the
job of window cleaning. Cards on which my name
was printed, which guaranteed their respectability,
were left from door to door, to be followed up a day
or two after. 5
O n the same line, and to give employment
to the same class, I started the Messenger
Brigade. This was intended more
especially to help old men who were no longer
fit for laborious work.
We began with four, in
different parts of the
town. They stood at
certain spots, waiting to
be sent on errands, to be
called in to black [polish]
boots, or do any odd jobs
about the house. They
wore a specially-made
hat with my name in the
front, and were paid so
much per quarter of an
hour, or per quarter of a
mile, keeping all they earned. 6
On Saturday evening, he and fellow Christians would
go through the streets of Leicester looking for people
to help. Many overcome by drink would be helped
home and given a Gospel witness. On one occasion,