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International Update, 2008

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OAC Great Britain reaches Bristol

John Wesley’s Chapel in the Horsefair, Broadmead, is the oldest Methodist Chapel in the world built in 1739. It was in that year, at the invitation of George Whitefield, that John Wesley first came to Bristol. Whitefield asked Wesley to take over his work of preaching to the open-air crowds which he had gathered. John Wesley gave his first sermon to a crowd of 3,000 people in the open air. Now in 2007, within 50 metres of the chapel, we set up our sketch board with the same heart, to ‘Reach the City’ for Jesus. There is something of a sense of history and of continuity to be preaching in the place where Wesley once stood.

Steve Gurnett preaching
Reach the City this year attracted delegates from the USA (a team of 12), Spain, Slovakia, Austria, New Zealand and Uganda. Together we had a team of over 60 which included the bulk of the GB staff team. For some of the delegates this was their first experience of street ministry and the first time that many had preached in the open air. It was a thrill for me to listen to them preach At the other end of the scale church ministers were rediscovering the thrill of getting back out amongst people. Pete Hodge and Steve Gurnett drew the largest crowds of the week with an amazing escape routine that had people on tip toe as they strained to get a better view!

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