NOTICE: Store prices and specials on the Banner of Truth UK site are not available for orders shipped to North America. Please use the Banner of Truth USA site .

Section navigation

The Fellowship Conference of New England

Category Articles
Date August 12, 2016

The annual Fellowship Conference of New England, takes place on August 4-6, in Portland, Maine beginning this Thursday. Four preachers are sharing the ministry – Jesse Barrington, Michael Durham, Charles Leiter, and Mack Tomlinson. Philip Neeley, one of the pastors at Providence Chapel in Denton, Texas, will preach on Sunday at a Portland church, Redeeming Grace Fellowship. The conference will be live-streamed each day eastern standard time, and that link can be found at  There you will also find the daily schedule of the sessions. The speakers and the hundreds who attend ask for your prayers for this time. The power of the Spirit is greatly needed now, just as was experienced in the city of Portland 190 years ago.

Although Edward Payson (1783-1827) is largely forgotten today, he was well-known in the first half of the 19th century. According to Iain Murray, Payson’s biography by Asa Cummings ‘was probably the most influential ministerial biography to appear in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.’ His influence was so large that thousands of 19th-century parents named their children after him.

Payson pastored for twenty years in Portland, Maine. During his ministry, he had a remarkable prayer life, praying hours daily, and preached with great reality and power. Payton saw 5 different periods of spiritual awakening, between 1807, his first year there, until his final year in 1827. Known as ‘Praying Payson of Portland,’ he would not have liked such a title, but his reputation spread widely as a man who spent hours in private prayer and communion with God. Archibald Alexander, one of the pre-imment leaders of revival in New England, said in 1844 that ‘no man in our country has left behind him a higher character for eminent godliness than Edward Payson.’

Payson was a pastor during seasons of revival. In 1813 he spoke of ‘never having seen so much of God’s power displayed at one time.’ He wrote his mother the next year, as he traveled home to Portland, describing God’s power in a period of revival: ‘I came home thoroughly drenched by the shower of divine influences, which began to fall; I soon found, upon returning home, that the cloud had followed me, and was beginning to pour itself down upon my people; we appointed a season of thanksgiving, and a blessing seemed to follow it. I then invited a number of young men to our house for a meeting; I expected twenty at the most, but the first evening, forty came, then sixty, and finally seventy came. About thirty of these are seriously inquiring about salvation, and there is a real appearance that the work is spreading. Meanwhile, I am rejoicing and astonished to see what God is doing, so that I can scarcely get an hour’s sleep.’

Payton later wrote on April 1, 1816: ‘Our revival still lingers, and even increases slowly. I have conversed with about forty persons who are entertaining hopes of their conversion and with sixty others who are inquiring about their salvation. Twenty-three souls have been added to the church since the year’s beginning, and the work is evidently not over. There is also quite a revival at Bath, south of us here. Nearly two hundred apparently have been awakened there. Seventy-one persons were converted and added to a church at one time recently. In New York and Baltimore, there are also revivals occurring.

Such seasons of spiritual quickening in Portland continued in future years, later again in 1816, 1822, and in 1827, the final year of Payson’s life. Such divine visitations of reviving grace in Christ’s church have come in the history of New England and in various parts of our country. New England, as well as every state in our country, is greatly in need of such a work of grace again. The God of Edward Payson still lives in Portland and is being sought again there in a serious way across New England, so pray for His work there, and use this encouragement to pray for God to revive His work in the midst of the years where you are. The American national election this fall will mean nothing for our future if God does not do a new work.


Latest Articles

Hope of the Church 15 October 2021

To help us in the dealings of our lives we should have such a conception of God as not to limit him in our thoughts. When we are in extremity we must not tie him to this thing or to that thing. He can make matter out of nothing. Why should we limit the unlimited […]

The Prayer Meeting 3 September 2021

Why bother coming to the prayer meeting? In the pecking order of many congregations, it is somewhere below the much-lamented evening service. In the priorities of too many Christians, it seems to have little value. It’s the one we can afford to miss. It’s the one to which we don’t, or maybe wouldn’t, take our […]