We are grateful to the Lord that despite localised restrictions, open-air evangelism continues in many parts of the United Kingdom. Yesterday, representatives from the Committee and Evangelists met to review the Mission’s current practice and procedures, (which we have committed to doing regularly). One of the challenges we face in such times is to facilitate gospel work within the ‘spirit and letter’ of the law. Whereas open-air work is currently curtailed in Northern Ireland and Tier 4 areas of Scotland, our workers are able to operate in England and Wales.
In England, the application of the ‘tier system’ does not prevent our staff Evangelists, Associate workers and Committee members from leading or attending open-airs. This is because travel for work purposes is permitted. We feel it would not be wise for Registered Supporters to travel between tier categories. Whilst travel between tiers is permitted for reasons like accessing public services or attending a place of worship (where COVID measures are in place), the context of the open-air is different. Therefore, Registered Supporters should not travel to a different ‘tier’ number to their home area.
The UK Government has classed ‘tier 3’ as ‘Very High Alert’ and therefore car sharing should not occur in these areas. Workers and Registered Supporters should, therefore, travel independently.
We acknowledge and respect the fact that some of our workers do not feel comfortable with engaging in open-air work at present. Whilst we believe our measures in place and the open-air setting minimise transmission risk, we continue to urge each worker and Registered Supporter to carefully consider the risks to their health before returning to the streets. There is no shame or embarrassment for those unable to go out at present.
Throughout this process we have sought to operate in a way that does not detract from the good news we proclaim, ensuring our conduct is honouring to the Lord. To that end, we encourage our workers to be vigilant in keeping to OAM’s hygiene, social distancing and operational measures. We seek to be sensitive to those who have serious fears and concerns owing to the Coronavirus and may object to how we operate. ‘Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom’ (James 3:13).
8th December 2020