The process of returning our Staff Evangelists and Associate workers to the streets has been slow and measured, giving due diligence to current Government legislation and guidance. Our return to open-air evangelism continues to be prayerful and careful, seeking to be God-honouring in our conduct. In a ‘watching world’ the finger of accusation would readily be pointed at us if our conduct was not deemed to safe and legal. The Lord Jesus reminded those He sent out, ‘Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.’ (Matthew 10:16).
Not only do our measures have a good testimony to maintain in a watching world, as an organisation (bound by Charity and Company law) we have a duty of care towards our workforce. Our workers are not just our Staff Evangelists but also our many Associate workers whose welfare is also our concern.
Throughout this phased-return we have committed to regularly review our measures. The latest such review meeting took place today with feedback received from our Evangelists and several Associate workers. The conclusions reached was that the slow and cautious easing of restrictions should continue, but listening to feedback we feel there is scope to safely and legally make some changes.
From Tuesday, 25th August up to three supporters will be able to join open-airs (still 2 hours in duration). This means a maximum of four can now work as a team (Evangelist/Associate worker plus three supporters). Each supporter must be registered by signing the updated Supporter Training Document, affirming their adherence to the measures in place. These should be returned ASAP for the centrally held register of supporters. Each supporter should travel independently to the open-air, avoiding public transport where possible.
Although we are not in a position to allow tracts/leaflets to be actively distributed during the open-air, there is some scope for movement here also. From Tuesday, 25th August team members will be able to offer appropriate literature to those who have engaged with us (i.e. those who have stopped to listen, talk or browse). Literature should not be held in your hands for long periods, rather picked up and offered from the table or display board. The item of literature should be offered with an extended arm and then retracted as soon as possible so as to ensure social distancing is maintained. Regular hand sanitising (as per existing hygiene protocols) is especially important.
We are grateful for the patience of our Staff Evangelists and Associate workers and their adherence to the measures the Mission has put in place. Adherence is not only necessary to protect our workers, those we come into contact with and the message we proclaim, but also to protect our insurance cover. We have risk assessments in place which demonstrate the steps we have taken to mitigate the risk of transmission. Strict adherence to these ensures that our insurance cover is not invalidated.
It was necessary recently to further restrict one of our workers in Leicester owing to a localised ‘lockdown’. As local restrictions are imposed across the country, we will consult Government guidance and legislation and ascertain whether it is safe and legal for operations to continue. For example, in the North of England additional restrictions have been brought in but these do no prevent our workers from operating in this area.
24th August 2020