Coronavirus Update

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that one of the marks which should characterise gospel workers is patience. This is one of many virtues he lists so that, ‘in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God’ (2 Corinthians 6:4a). He desired that no avoidable offence could bring a cloud over their gospel endeavours. ‘We give no offence in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed’ (2 Corinthians 6:3). How vital it is therefore, to ensure that in days of much scrutiny our conduct does not bring our witness into disrepute. Patience should be the hallmark of the believer as we watch and pray for the Lord to enable a return to open-air work.

Throughout this Coronavirus situation, we have sought to ensure that we have a proportionate response to facilitate open-air evangelism, whilst preserving our testimony before a watching world. We committed to reviewing our measures each month and another such review took place yesterday. With ‘stay at home’ orders remaining in force in all four regions of the United Kingdom, it was good to erect ‘milestones’ so that when these are reached we can return our workers to the streets.

In real-terms, the level of restrictions has to be relaxed sufficiently so as to annul the ‘stay at home’ orders. With respect to the ‘lockdowns’ of 2020 this was the reopening of non-essential retail outlets. We will continue to monitor the situation so that as soon as it is safe and legal to do so, our Staff Evangelists and Associate workers will able to resume their regular open-airs. May these ‘milestones’ be replaced by ‘Ebenezers’, ‘Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us”.’ (1 Samuel 7:12).

In the meantime, please pray that we would soon see restrictions ease in all parts of our nation and may a godly patience characterise us, which is fitting for ministers of God in this world. Praise God for the opportunities that there are, even in such times, and may the Lord be glorified in the saving of precious souls.

9th February 2021

In lieu of our usual three-day event in a conference centre, we will have an one-day event online.
In-depth reports from three of our Evangelists and ministry from God’s Word brought to us by Committee member, Mark Fisher.

Monday, 8th March

9:30am – 4:00pm

Free admission

The conference will take place on ‘Zoom’ for which booking is required.

More information can be found here

Book here

Evangelistic Videos continue to be added to the Mission’s YouTube channel.

We are not the ‘Online Mission’ but the ‘Open-Air Mission’ and so most of the videos reflect the manner and the method which our Evangelists use to convey the gospel message in the open-air.

View the videos here, or on the Mission’s YouTube channel.

Why not share them with non-Christians you may know?

At the end of December, Jim Henry retired from part-time service with the Mission. We are delighted that he will continue as an Associate worker. We also ‘bid farewell’ to our Office Secretary, Linda Lumley, at the end of 2020. Linda had faithfully served in the office for 19 years and we wish her well in retirement.

At the beginning of January, Steve Cook was appointed as a full-time Evangelist, having completed a period as a Probationary Evangelist. Also, at the start of 2021, we welcomed Stuart Lythgoe as a full-time Evangelist. You can read Stuart’s testimony here.

We praise God for His provision of these brethren and commend them to your prayers.

Coronavirus Update

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a new level of restrictions to be applied across England from midnight. This followed Scotland’s First Minister announcing similar restrictions for north of the border. With every part of the United Kingdom under what has become known as a ‘lockdown’, non-essential retail outlets have closed and our high streets have fallen silent once again. As a consequence, our normal open-air practice has ceased until further notice. Throughout the Coronavirus situation we have sought to act wisely, protecting our workers, those we come into contact with and our testimony. This curtailment will be kept under review so that open-airs may restart as soon as it is legal and safe to do so.

Thankfully, some open-airs took place in ‘Tier 3’ areas of England yesterday, and we are grateful for those opportunities. How we long and pray for the easing of restrictions so that open-air evangelism may resume. May the Lord grant us different and varied opportunities to communicate the gospel in the coming days.

Although 2021 already has its frustrations, we continue to trust in our Sovereign God and seek His help, encouragement and guidance. As the Sons of Korah knew and could testify, ‘O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!’ (Psalm 84:12).

 

5th January 2021

Coronavirus Update

As you will appreciate, the Coronavirus situation is ever-changing. Since yesterday’s communication there have been further developments which impact our work as a Mission. As ever, we seek to honour the Lord in our response to tighter restrictions being applied to parts of the UK.

England

The Prime Minister announced today that from midnight on Sunday, 20th ‘Tier 4’ restrictions will be applied to certain areas.

In south-east England, the areas affected are:

  • Greater London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
  • Kent
  • Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey (excluding Waverley)
  • Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth
  • Rother and Hastings

In the east of England, the areas affected are:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
  • Peterborough

‘Tier 4’ will see the closure of all non-essential retail outlets and a ‘Stay at home’ order is being issued to residents. In the light of this, open-airs in these areas will cease. Staff Evangelists and Associate workers who reside in these affected areas may travel for work purposes (i.e. travel to open-air venues in Tiers 1-3). Registered Supporters who are residents of ‘Tier 4’ areas should not travel to open-airs.

Wales

The First Minister of Wales has brought forward restrictions planned for 28th December and they will be applied from midnight tonight. This level of restrictions will see non-essential retail outlets close and so, sadly, open-airs will cease with immediate effect. Staff living in Wales may travel for work purposes. Associate workers based in Wales may travel to open-airs in England, if they would normally do so.

Scotland

From Boxing Day, 26th December, mainland Scotland will enter into ‘Tier 4’ restrictions with the closure of non-essential retail outlets. Therefore, open-airs will cease in Scotland on 26th December.

Northern Ireland

Tighter restrictions will be applied from Saturday, 26th December and will also see the closure of non-essential retail outlets. Therefore, open-airs will cease in Northern Ireland from Boxing Day, 26th December.

Each devolved administration will review these restrictions at regular intervals. We, as a Mission, will monitor the situation and will resume open-airs in each area when appropriate. Your continued prayer is appreciated. Where open-airs are able to continue in the run-up to Christmas, please pray that the Lord will use greatly use these opportunities for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

 

19th December 2020

Coronavirus Update

Both the administrations of Northern Ireland and Wales have announced stricter Coronavirus measures. In Northern Ireland, a six-week ‘lockdown’ starting on December 26th will see the closure of all non-essential shops and businesses, with the ‘Stay at Home’ message re-introduced for the first week of restrictions. In Wales, non-essential shops will cease trading at the close of business on Christmas Eve and will not reopen for at least three weeks. Wales will enter its ‘Tier 4’ restrictions on Monday, 28th December with measures being reviewed every three weeks. It is, therefore, with sadness we conclude that open-airs will cease in Northern Ireland and Wales after Christmas Eve.

So far, no further restrictions have been announced for England and so open-airs here may continue (subject to our current measures in place for safe working). Please see previous communications regarding this.

Scotland’s regions that were subject to ‘Tier 4’ restrictions were downgraded on Friday, 11th December which gave the ‘green light’ for open-airs to resume north of the border. While Scottish regions remain at ‘Tier 3’ or below, open-airs may continue.

As the Governments of the United Kingdom alter restrictions in their response to COVID-19, we, as a Mission, will monitor the developing situation and take appropriate action where necessary.

In this advent season, please pray that precious open-air opportunities may be used of the Lord to introduce many to the Saviour, who is Christ Jesus the Lord.

 

18th December 2020

Coronavirus Update

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

Coronavirus Update

Recent restrictions applied by the different Governments of our nation have seen our Evangelists and Associate workers ‘confined to quarters’ once more. Thankfully, with the end of the ‘firebreak’ in Wales, open-airs resumed on Monday, 9th November and we have seen many encouragements since being back on the streets. As the national restrictions in England expire on Wednesday, 2nd December, a new tier system is being introduced and applied. The essence of these coronavirus restrictions is to ensure households are not mixing. Socialising has been an issue (in pubs, restaurants, homes etc.) resulting in social distancing being contravened.

However, these tiered restrictions do not force the closure of non-essential retail outlets (shops, salons etc.) which have measures in place to ensure social distancing. These are due to reopen once the tier system is brought in. In view of this, we are able to release our Staff Evangelists and Associate workers in England from Wednesday, 2nd December to resume open-airs. These open-airs will operate under the Mission’s existing coronavirus hygiene measures and social distancing procedures.

We are grateful to the Lord that open-airs may resume in England very soon. In the run-up to Christmas, we pray that this will be a wonderful opportunity to point many to the Saviour, who, ‘came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy1:15). Please join us in praying for this. Please also pray that open-airs will be able to restart in Scotland and Northern Ireland soon.

As you are aware, the Mission is committed to keeping the current method of practice under regular review. The next review meeting will, God-willing, take place on Monday, 7th December with representatives from the workers and the Committee. Your prayer for that meeting is also appreciated.

 

27th November 2020