During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Acts 16
Give thanks for our largest zone, even at a time of great crisis. Ever since Paul took the ferry from Troas to the shores of Macedonia, Europe has been host to ‘Christendom’. Churches and cathedrals can be found everywhere, as well as other monuments to learning and the arts. But this is today the dark continent, spiritually as needy as at almost any time since Paul arrived. Millions live in the belief that their pleasant mix of traditional way of life, wealth and centrally organised social support, together with modern liberal ideologies, are sufficient to stave off evil. Yet as we write, an evil is clearly overriding all Europe’s buffers. Italy has seen over 3,000 deaths from Covid-19 and they expect many more. Spain is not far behind and other countries are now noticing the explosion of cases.
For just such a time as this, perhaps, OAC has been able to establish a significant ministry across the continent. A number of fields are certainly not much more than a man and his board, but others are well established and in a position to support the work in other lands.
Ministry centres on Open Air work in the many excellent pedestrianised districts of city centres, with their shop lined streets and plazas. Festivals and special summer events also offer great opportunities to reach out, such as the Avignon festival in southern France. But ministry also varies in different ways according to the opportunities in each country. Britain has a strong focus on schools, Albania had to start from nothing, back in the 1990s, so their evangelistic efforts have led to planting churches, opening homes for the needy and much more besides. In Belgium our evangelist runs the evangelical prison chaplaincies, as well as visiting ships in the busy port of Antwerp. Our Italian evangelist is involved in preparing online media, with a speciality in children’s ministry, while in Scandinavia there is a preference for the use of visual illustrations to explain the gospel in numerous situations. Romania has a vibrant puppet ministry, used both in schools and kids’ clubs, as well as a summer camp. And in the Ukraine, which is stuck in a Civil War against Russian backed separatists, our evangelist has been seconded to work as a military chaplain.
Top Photo, Open Air in central Vienna.
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