We last communicated with you on 12th June in order to explain the careful steps we were taking to return our Staff Evangelists to the streets. We gave due diligence to interpreting the law and up-to-date Government guidance and, in the light of those, put new measures in place to enable this return. We began doing this with six of our workers on Monday, 22nd June and we were so encouraged by the response. Most open-airs saw people stopping to listen, taking literature and engaging our workers and their supporter in conversation (socially distant).
As a Mission we committed to reviewing these measures carefully on Monday, 29th June. Those involved in that review process were encouraged by the reports from our Staff Evangelists and now believe it is appropriate to begin expanding the work once more.
From Monday, 6th July (in all regions) we are now in a position to allow Associate workers who are aged 69 years or younger, who have no underlying health conditions nor show any COVID-19 symptoms, to return to street evangelism. Unfortunately, is it unwise for us to allow our Associate workers who are 70 and over to return at this time (this is because those within this age bracket are at greater risk). Whilst this will be good news for some and disappointing to others, we are moving forward in a careful manner. The Committee will review this at their next meeting.
Associates workers who are able to return to open-air outreach at this time will be subject to the same working conditions that our Staff Evangelists are currently operate under. These measures include:
- Associate worker plus one local supporter (who must be registered with OAM in order to demonstrate compliance to new measures).
- Social distancing (with signage to encourage this).
- Hygiene procedures (regular hand sanitising and regular cleaning of touched surfaces).
- Limited literature available from this display board and/or a small literature table (with signage encouraging the taking of literature but discouraging unnecessarily handling items).
- No active distribution (handing out) of literature.
- Restricted duration of 90 minutes for each open-air.
- Associate worker and supporter should travel independently (avoiding public transport).
It was these measures that were under review on Monday, 29th June and we deemed wise to continue. These are careful steps facilitate a return to our streets following the Coronavirus pandemic. No Associate worker will be forced to return should they feel vulnerable in any way.
In view of the local situation in Leicester that has been announced on 29th June, all open-airs in the city are immediately suspended. It may be necessary to do this in other areas too, as and when the Government identify localised coronavirus ‘hotspots’.
In the light of this, we continue to heed the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, ‘Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ’ (Philippians 1:27). Please pray that our careful steps would be to God’s glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.
30th June 2020