When Arbroath Town Council decided that a new road should go through the town, there were many building casualties, both direct and indirect.
The Gospel Hall in Park Street was one of the indirect ones. A local factory was being demolished to make way for the road, and the site they needed included the Gospel Hall.
It is not lawful to simply evict a 'church', no matter how large or how small, and if it had been possible to move the building to another site, then the council would have done that! When the notice came to the attention of the small assembly, the resolve was to accept the move, and to allow the council to provide alternate premises. In due course, a firm of solicitors was hired to deal with the matter, Messrs Balfour and Manson from Edinburgh, who had dealt with some of the assembly matters before (a long time before).
There were a number of sites, which were offered, all of them in places where it was not practicable to have an assembly meet. One day a brother in the assembly said to a council official "What about the place next to the Fire Station where some buildings have been demolished". Shortly afterwards, the assembly correspondent found his name in the local paper requesting planning permission. Permission was given, and the procedure of transferring the Gospel Hall from Park Street to Ponderlaw Lane commenced.
The solicitors recommended Surveyors, Messrs Graham and Sibbald of Dundee, the assembly accepted. The Surveyors recommended Architects, Messrs Gauldie, Hardie, Wright and Needham of Dundee, the assembly accepted. Fred Connacher (the architect) then started the design for the new premises. He later won a commendation for the design!
It was a cold Saturday morning when the two brethren who had the responsibility for the hall met with the architect to discuss the needs and wants of the assembly. The delicate questioning of what had to happen to the water from the baptismal tank later became a source of much humour!
The assembly carried out no negotiations with the council, their representatives without any prompting did it all, but they took great delight in extracting the maximum possible for this new building. It was as if they were obtaining it for themselves.
When the Gospel Hall in Park Street was vacated at the end of December 1970, and the assembly moved into the Community centre in Margetgate, the final agreement was that the hall must be built within 1 year, and for that the assembly was given:
At the time of entry into the hall, the assembly had, a brand new hall and more money in the bank than had ever been seen in the life of the assembly.
The builders were the ones who built expensive (and good) homes, but it was THE LORD who provided.
10.30am Breaking of Bread
12.00 noon Family Service
4.00pm Bible Teaching
6.45pm The 6.45 Club
(for 5 to 11's) Re-starts September
7.30pm Bible-Study & Prayer
Every other Friday
7.30pm One Way
(Secondary School age)