The latest report video to keep our supporters and supporting churches up-to-date, is now online:
It can be viewed here.
Please feel free to share it with anyone who may find it helpful.
On Tuesday, 17th March, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee took the difficult decision to suspended all our activities in the open-air. Recognising the risks, we sought to:
• Protect our workers.
• Protect those we come into contact with.
• Protect the testimony of the Mission.
We are pleased to report that tentative steps are being taken to return our Staff Evangelists to the streets. Having interpreted Government legislation and guidance, sought legal advice, and consulted with various Police Forces, the Committee have agreed a timetable for a careful return to the open-air. New social distancing and hygiene procedures have been put in place to mitigate the risks so that we can continue to protect our workers, those we come into contact with and the testimony of the Mission. We heed the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, ‘Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ’ (Philippians 1:27).
Whilst we are excited about the prospect of sharing the gospel once more on the streets the return will be limited.
Initially, only Staff Evangelists in England will be returned to the streets from Monday, 22nd June (other areas will be reviewed in line with restrictions being eased by devolved administrations). The duration of each open-air will be restricted and each Staff Evangelist will be accompanied by just one, locally based, supporter. Only a limited range of literature will be available to enquirers. There will be no distribution of tracts/leaflets at this stage.
This restrictive approach is in line with Government guidance and is important to facilitate a slow and measured return to the streets. Strategic reviews will take place at regular intervals and will asses these measures.
Unfortunately, we cannot permit our Associate workers to return to the streets at this stage, nor other supporters. However, we hope that following various reviews and further easing of restrictions, we will have more clarity as to when we can expand the work.
Our return to the streets must be careful and prayerful. We have sought to be diligent in our planning and preparation, but we must also be diligent in our praying. Please join with us in praying for this phased return that we might be God-honouring in all that we do and winsome in communicating the good news in our needy land. ‘Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving’ (Colossians 4:2).
Tribute to Retired Evangelist, Ken Weaver
Our dear brother Ken Weaver was born on 11th August 1931 and went to his well-earned rest in glory on 25th May 2020. Ken served the Lord with the Mission from 5th May 1975 until his retirement in 1998, well supported by his wife, Sheila, who died on 26th December 2019. This godly couple worked together at numerous events, including Beach Missions, where Sheila cooked for the team. Ken and Sheila were faithful Christians, praying and serving the Lord together.
I was privileged to have fellowship with them at Barnstable and Bridgwater Fairs, where we assisted Clive Williams in the witness. I also worked alongside them at the Tissington Well Dressings outreach and the International Musical Eisteddfod witness in Llangollen, North Wales. When Crockenhill Baptist Church, where Ken and Sheila worshipped, first hosted a Bible Exhibition, Mary and I enjoyed their fellowship and the lovely meals prepared by Sheila!
I first met Ken and Sheila back in March 1985. We were attending an open-air seminar in Pembroke, South Wales and soon got to know each other very well, and enjoyed each other’s company. Ken designed some of the first display boards used by the Mission and also constructed the first display stands for the Bible Exhibitions.
During my early months with the Mission we worked together in Canterbury. I remember Ken dealing with an enquirer as I spoke to a group of disabled young people. These young people listened well but I wondered how much they were able to take in. When I later mentioned this to Ken, he gently reminded me, “Joe, you were speaking to their minds, God was dealing with their spirits”. That was a big comfort to me. Our God is able to speak through the preaching of the Word by His Spirit into their hearts. We give thanks for many who the Lord spoke to through Ken’s gospel preaching and personal work.
Our visits to Maidstone Prison together proved to be encouraging and fruitful. Ken and Sheila, Mary and myself were present to witness to the baptism of six men who had trusted the Lord through that work. It was a great joy to witness such an event! We were thrilled with wonder at what our God had done in the lives of these men as each one gave testimony to their faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour.
Joe Hayden (Retired Evangelist)
For over 30 years OAM has visited the Derbyshire village of Tissington during their annual Well Dressings festival to show a presentation entitled, ‘The Making and the Message of the Well Dressings’. Each video explains something of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to create these natural collages whilst using the Bible stories, they traditionally depict, to explain the greatest message in the world. We have had the privilege of showing this short presentation to tens of thousands over the years.
We have put together a webpage containing some of our presentations going back over the years, including a special edition for this year: https://www.oamission.com/welldressing/
Further to the last update, our workers continue to be fully employed and we are grateful for the opportunities afforded to us at this time. Whilst we would never have wished such restrictions upon us, we remember and take comfort in the fact that God is sovereign. In recent weeks many have engaged with our online evangelistic resources and our workers have been able to take various services and meetings online along with spending additional time in reading, study, prayer and preparation.
In the light of the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday (10th May 2020), we are still not in a position to enable any form of open-air work to restart and must reiterate that all our outside operations remain suspended. This decision will be reviewed at the next Committee meeting. Once clarity for a way forward has been determined, we hope to have an online ‘Staff Conference’ to discuss the implications and ongoing restrictions as we begin to operate once more.
This is a frustrating and challenging period for gospel-hearted workers. We yearn for the time when we can once again proclaim the good news of our Saviour on the streets of our nation. However, in God’s mysterious and providential ways, gospel seed continues to be sown. We look to Him to bring the increase!
May the exhortation the Apostle Paul gave to the Corinthians be our encouragement at this time, ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Throughout the year our Evangelists are often invited by churches to report on the work of OAM in a deputation meeting. Because no such meetings are possible at present, here is a report video to keep supporters and supporting churches informed.
Coronavirus Update – Statement from the Committee
The Mission Committee set aside 20th April to review the full-employment status of our workers whilst all normal activities are curtailed. In other words, do we ‘furlough’ staff and avail of the 80% under the ‘Job Retention Scheme’? The Committee unanimously agreed to continue paying full salaries for all our workers.
As a Christian, gospel and faith organisation, depending on God for everything, we feel that going down the furlough route to dependency on the Government is not a correct way of thinking. God has been good to us in providing funds (through our supporters) adequate to meet the current and immediate future needs. While taking the Government route is permitted for Charities like OAM (i.e. it is not illegal, underhand or devious) the application of their scheme is to prevent redundancies along with supporting those needing ‘shielding’ and those looking after children at home, where a school has closed.
During these unprecedented times we are grateful to the Lord for the opportunities afforded to us online. Many of our Evangelists have been able to produce short gospel videos which we have shared on our website and through social media. These have been widely viewed and have prompted some correspondence from non-Christians leading to profitable dialogue. The Office in Luton remains open, manned by one member of staff and we are encouraged to receive requested for our ‘Enquirer’s Packs’. Our Evangelists are able to benefit from this time aside from the regular work in prayer, reading, study and preparing new material.
Thank you for your continued prayerful and practical support for the Mission. May the Lord use this time for His glory and the furtherance of the gospel and may the time come soon when we can be out, once more, proclaiming the glorious gospel of Christ in the open-air!
We have uploaded more videos to www.oamission.com/watch. We would encourage you to share these videos widely so that more non-Christians may watch them.