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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,
when Dr. Meyer preached at a small chapel, a man
approached him. The man shook Dr. Meyer’s hand
and kissed it.
F B Meyer, commenting on this wrote: “I
confess that it made a choking sensation
come to my throat.” The man was one whom
Meyer had “met at the gate” of the prison. He was
now redeemed and was an active Christian. Dr.
Meyer had not only saved his soul but had also
saved his life.
F. B. Meyer was foremost a preacher but he was also
a public campaigner against sin. He sat on the city
council and was partly responsible for closing 400
Meyer’s advice to young ministers was:
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To mix freely with the people; to visit
systematically and widely; to study men as
well as books; to converse with all classes
and conditions of men: always on the alert to
learn from some fresh pages of the heart. 7
I lived in his city. I walked in his steps. I preached in
his church. I would love to have known him. God
moved me a step closer to that dream by sending
Mrs. Edna Knight to our church. Mrs. Knight had
at one time been a member of a church pastored
by F. B. Meyer. Edna was near 90 years old when
she discovered our church. She had been attending
another church in the city. One morning on her
way to church, she walked by our church, heard the
singing, and ventured in. Lifegate Baptist Church
was what she had been searching for. Later she