Having interpreted the law and Government guidance the Mission took the decision to begin returning our Staff Evangelists in England to the streets from Monday, 22nd June (Wales and Scotland followed shortly afterwards). This return to open-air evangelism saw new social distancing and hygiene procedures established to protect our workers, those we come into contact with and the testimony of the Mission. These measures are kept under regular review. Following a review at the end of June we felt the time was right to allow Associate workers in all regions (aged 69 or under, who have no underlying health conditions nor show any COVID-19 symptoms) to begin resuming their open-air outreach from Monday, 6th July.
We are grateful for the careful adherence to these measures put in place to facilitate a return to open-air work and we have been greatly encouraged by the opportunities our workers have encountered since restarting. A further review was held by the Committee on Wednesday, 15th July with some changes to our current practice agreed. Both national and devolved governments have agreed a timetable for ‘shielding’ to end – 31st July in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, 16th August in Wales. Based upon this timetable, we are now in a position to allow our Associate workers (aged 70 and over, not showing any COVID-19 symptoms) to resume open-air work from 1st August in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and from 17th August in Wales.
However, those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable having previously received a letter advising them to shield are advised to take particular care. UK Government advice states. ‘You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible’. In the light of this, we recommend those in this category to consider carefully the risks to their health. No-one is required to go out and it is left to the discretion of each worker. However, please remember this is based upon current Government guidance which, as you are aware, could change as they review measures.
Those who do return to open-air work must adhere to the same hygiene and social distancing measures in force that our Staff Evangelists and Associate workers are currently subject to. This change also includes registered supporters in the open-air. Those aged 70 and over, not showing any COVID-19 symptoms may now support open-air work from 1st August in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and from 17th August in Wales. However, those classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ having
previously received a letter advising them to shield are advised to take particular care and asses the risk to their health.
We thank the Lord that he has enabled our evangelistic output to gather momentum in recent weeks. As the seed of God’s Word is sown, we look to Him that it might fall on good ground and bear fruit in the salvation of the lost. ‘But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’ (Matthew 13:23).
22nd July 2020