Elterwater: Wayside Pulpit

Elterwater is a lovely part of the nation’s most lovely districts: the English Lakes. Among those brooding fells and serene waters was once a little mission hall belonging to the Pentecostals. Although doubtless attended by some eccentric characters as such establishments are wont to attract, it would have faithfully preached the good news of sins forgiven. Indeed, at least one respected minister is on record saying:

I shall never forget my first visit to the little Pentecostal Mission at Elterwater in 1971, while still a schoolboy. This little group encouraged me in my faith and it was a joy to worship with them.

Sadly, the work there continues not. The sports enthusiasts and fitness fanatics who park their cars in its vicinity before cycling off into the mountains, hear not the gospel. Yet, perhaps in a nod to its former use, the ex-mission hall is now called the Wayside Pulpit. Its current purpose seems to accommodate a mountaineering service, an apt use, perhaps. However, it seems a pity that upon its outer wall there is no scriptural text, nor within a truth-sharing pulpit. Then again, there are many functioning churches which have nothing worth proclaiming. Whether performing interminable ritual, aping the world’s woke agenda about climate change and gender identity, or simply minding the business of ticking over till the last member pops her clogs, they have no good news to share. A closed church or chapel is always sad; an open church or chapel that fails to preach Christ’s redemptive work is an even greater tragedy.

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7