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Outdoor preaching: time for a revival?

15 September 2010


From Mr Alan Bartley

Sir, — You report that the inconven­ience of a power cut caused the innovation of alfresco worship at Westminster Abbey one recent Sun­day evening (News, 27 August). What an example of how a smiling Providence can turn misfortune into a blessing — at least potentially so — for the passers-by, who were caused to turn their heads to see such a public witness to our faith.

It reminds me of certain summer Sunday afternoons in the 1970s when the Abbey, St Margaret’s, and the Methodist Westminster Central Hall used to have such a regular witness. I believe it was suggested by the late Revd Maurice Barnet, then Superintendent Minister of the Central Hall. It, too, turned heads and gathered tourists and other passers-by, as hymns were sung and the gospel was preached.

Even before the Reformation, we hear of open-air preaching at St Paul’s Cross, etc. This was later made good use of by our Reformers. How wonderful it would be if this misfortune led to our rediscovery of the effectiveness of regular Wesley-style open-air preaching.

17 Francis Road
Greenford UB6 7AD

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