The Mission Meeting

by Zenos Hawkinson

The mission meeting grew out of the need among people to meet for devotion, proclamation, and instruction. The mission meeting was occasional, mobile, more comprehensive than the local conventicle or congregation. It was, quite literally, the meeting of the Mission wherever it occurred.

Press notices would appear well in advance, inviting one and all to the meeting. Sponsors hoped to attract many preachers; preachers, in turn, were attracted to promising meetings, as were lay people, looking forward to 'interesting times.'

Meetings began on Thursday or Friday evenings and usually continued through Sunday afternoons. The evenings were given over to preaching services sometimes three or four sermons at a session. The daytime hours were used for biblical and theological discussion on themes submitted by those attending, mostly questions of current interest or controversy, but having general significance for Christian life and practice.

Saturday evening, more of ten than not, the meeting enjoyed an auction of goods sewn and baked by the local women for the benefit of the mission. Great quantities of food were eaten, washed down with gallons of coffee, It was a celebratory time.

David Nyvall called the mission meetings, "great folk-universities on wheels."