History

In 1932, Arthur Rae and others from the Fairview assembly began a children's work in the home of a Mrs. McBride.  The following year, Hector Alves pitched his tent nearby.  James Rae and Herb Harris operated the tent the following summer.  Then a store building at 61st Avenue and Main Street was rented and used for gospel meetings.  Many souls trusted Christ during those years.  The Christians soon built a hall at 60th Avenue and Main Street and the South Main Street Assembly was formed.  By 1954, the assembly had 135 in fellowship, and its Sunday School was teaching 100 children.

The Name “South Main Street Gospel Hall”

(or, When is a Church not a Church?)

A church is a building used for regular public worship, in the same way that a chapel is a building or room for private or irregular public worship.  The word “church” derives from the medieval Greek expression “kuriakon (dōma)”, Lord's (House).

By metonomy, the word “church” may also be used to refer to the people who gather in such a building, the activities they pursue in the building, or the institution that operates it.  It's in its meaning of a people that the word “church” is used in most English translations of the Bible to represent the first-century Greek word ekklesia.  Ekklesia means a gathering of those summoned.  The Greeks used it to describe the convocation of Athenian citizens to vote on laws and to elect officials.  When students leave their classrooms to assemble in the auditorium, they are an ekklesia.  When people evacuate a building upon hearing a fire alarm, to congregate at the designated safe place, they are an ekklesia.  They have been called out to gather together.

In the first English translation of the Bible, Tyndale translated ekklesia as “assembly” or “congregation”.  Other translators, including Darby have done so, as well.

So, is South Main Street Gospel Hall a church?  One can call it that, but it's simpler to call it a hall, a place of gathering.  And while many would use the word “church” to describe the Christians who meet to worship at South Main Street Gospel Hall, we are more comfortable to use the word “assembly” which seems to better present the meaning of ekklesia from the Bible.