Yesterday, the First Minister confirmed that as of today, 7th August, Wales enters ‘Alert Level 0’. As a result, our workers in Wales are no longer bound by the Mission’s formal Coronavirus measures. Yet, we still encourage caution and vigilance with good hygiene practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also, we must also respect that we may meet those who are anxious about the easing of restrictions. Please note that that Mission’s Coronavirus measures (social distancing, hygiene protocols, registered supporter scheme etc.) remains in operation in Northern Ireland and Scotland until these areas come into alignment with England and Wales.
It appears that the easing of restrictions in England has granted further opportunities communicate the gospel, for which we give thanks. We trust that this will also be seen in Wales and, God willing, in Northern Ireland and Scotland soon.
May our mediation and prayer be that of Moses, ‘Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, the years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.’ (Psalm 90:11-17).
7th August 2021
As you are aware, the Mission undertakes a regular review of our response to the Coronavirus situation so that our policies and practice are in line with current Government regulation and guidance. Another such review meeting took place today with representatives from the OAM Committee and Evangelists.
Back in April, we drew up our own ‘roadmap’, a timetable of measures we would review at each meeting. Having reached the final stage of this timetable we find ourselves, like the UK Government, having to delay. Therefore, our current hygiene and social distancing policies remain in operation. Please continue to adhere to these as a good witness in the open-air.
Our next review will take place by the Committee on Wednesday, 21st July. However, should the the Prime Minister announce another review of measures (in England) before then, we will seek to convene a review meeting as soon as possible afterwards to assess whether it is appropriate to end any of our current measures. The next review will also look at any appropriate changes which can be applied to the work in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so that we continue to be aligned with current legislation and guidance in those areas.
Thankfully, current law and guidance enables us to run some Team Events in the coming weeks for a concerted witness in the open-air. Since the reopening of camp-sites and educational camp centres, there is ample guidance to navigate through to allow residential teams to resume with shared-facilities. Relevant risk assessments and guidance notes are in place to facilitate this. Your prayer would be appreciated for Liverpool, London and Glasgow as the Team Leaders prepare for these outreach weeks, especially with the additional cleaning and social distancing protocols in place.
We are also thankful to the Lord for the local authorities granting permission for our Beach Missions in Tenby and Weymouth to go ahead. Please pray for the planning and preparation for these teams, especially for the recruitment of team members to maximise the opportunities.
Whilst we long to see the end of restrictions once and for all, we are, nevertheless, thankful for what we are able to do now. We are significantly further forward from where we were this time last year, for which we give thanks. ‘Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever’ (Psalm 106:1).
Working within current legislation and guidance, we are grateful to the Lord that we can run both our Tenby and Weymouth Beach Missions. For more information about Beach Missions and how to book, please click here.
Bookings are also open for a limited number of Team Events. For more information and booking details, please click here.
On Wednesday, 19th May the Committee (who oversee the work of the Mission) met and reviewed our Coronavirus measures currently in place. In line with our timetable for easing restrictions, Committee members deemed it appropriate to proceed as planned.
With the changes to Government legislation and guidance we are now able, with immediate effect, to lift the limit on Team Members present at each open-air. The number of registered supporters at open-airs will now be at the discretion of the OAM Evangelist or Associate worker responsible for that witness. Each location should be able to sustain a larger presence on the street without causing an obstruction or impeding social distancing. The Mission’s hygiene and social distancing protocols remain in operation and all supporters continue to sign the ‘Registered Supporter Training Document’ for our centrally-held register.
Also, with immediate effect, the car-sharing limit for transporting team members to the open-air has also been lifted in line with Government guidance for the workplace and the voluntary sector. The Mission has issued guidance to mitigate against the risks of car-sharing and this should be observed by drivers and passengers alike.
These changes we trust, when exercised with discernment and care, will greatly maximise opportunities and forth-coming Team Events. God-willing, at the next meeting (scheduled for June) we will look at the remaining measures in place and whether or not it is appropriate to make further changes. Of course, should the national situation deteriorate then restrictions may need to be reintroduced at the discretion of the Committee.
19th May 2021
Douglas Young presents another special edition of ‘The Making and the Message of the Well Dressings’ from Tissington in Derbyshire. Sadly, the wells are not being dressed again this year due to the Coronavirus situation. In this short video we look at something of the tradition of well dressing, how these natural collages are put together and the message they convey.
It was with great joy that we were able to return our workers to the streets in England, Northern Ireland and Wales from Monday, 12th April. Reports of recent open-airs by our Evangelists and Associate workers show a general openness to the gospel, with little hostility, for which we praise God. We are also thankful to the Lord that, as of today, Monday 26th April, open-airs can resume in Scotland. Our return to the streets was ‘picking up where we left off’ with existing Coronavirus risk assessments, policies and practice. Some of the Mission’s workers have encountered ‘COVID-Marshalls’ and local authority workers on the streets who have expressed no concern as to the way we are
operating. This is a good testimony in a watching world. Whilst adherence to our measures remains important for a number of reasons, we have no desire to retain them unnecessarily.
In light of the generally improving situation across the UK, our review meeting today has approved the lifting of the 2-hour limit on open-airs with immediate effect. Other measures remain, but our workers are no longer restricted by a maximum duration of two hours at each open-air.
The review meeting also looked at our own ‘roadmap’ for easing restrictions in line with changes to Government legislation and guidance. Should easing be deemed appropriate at each review meeting, we trust they will greatly assist the planning and operation of forth-coming Team Events and Beach Missions and also facilitate further open-airs. Your prayers to this end would be greatly appreciated. The review ‘roadmap’ (timetable) is as follows:
We can give thanks to the Lord for what has been achieved thus far and look to Him to lead us going forward. May we, like David, truly know the Lord’s guidance and protection in these times, ‘For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your Name’s sake, lead me and guide me’ (Psalm 31:3).
26th April 2021
Just recently we passed the ‘one-year mark’ since the Coronavirus began impacting our work as a Mission. Although these last twelve months have been frustrating, something we would never have chosen, we remember that our God is Sovereign. He is the One who declares in Isaiah 46:9b-10, ‘For I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’. Our mortal minds cannot comprehend the sovereign purposes of our God, yet we can take great comfort in resting upon the knowledge that He is in complete control. We can reflect over these last 12 months and give thanks for what has been achieved in His goodness, praying that it will yield fruit for His glory. May the words which Joseph Hart penned in his hymn, ‘How good is the God we adore’, be ours – ‘We’ll praise Him for all that is past, and trust Him for all that’s to come’.
What is to come? In the ever-improving situation, the governments of the UK have confirmed they are ‘on track’ for their plotted route out of ‘lockdown’. With non-essential retail outlets in England, Northern Ireland and Wales reopening on Monday, 12th April, we are pleased to announce that open-airs may recommence in these areas from
this date. Scotland’s date for reopening non-essential shops is set for Monday, 26th April and, subject to the Scottish Government’s confirmation, open-airs may resume North of the border from this date.
Upon returning to the streets, we shall be ‘picking up where we left off’ in terms of our Coronavirus measures and methods. In other words, social distancing and hygiene protocols will still need to be observed and each open-air capped at two hours. A maximum of six team members (including the Evangelist/Associate worker) can operate in venues that can sustain a larger presence on the street without impeding social distancing. For this reason, the recommended size of a team in most areas remains at four (including the Evangelist/Associate worker). Each supporter will still need to be centrally registered, affirming their understanding and adherence of the current measures in place.
As a Mission we remain committed to regularly reviewing the measures in place and, when appropriate, will seek to relax restrictions. God-willing, over the coming weeks and months we want to see a gathering momentum in street evangelism as more and more open-air opportunities are resumed. In doing so, we remember the Apostle Paul’s
exhortation to the Philippians, ‘Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ’ (Philippians 1:27a).
9th April 2021