World Vision for Christ has conducted open-air street meetings since 1969. Our most constant, long standing street witness is in the internationally known Petticoat Lane, in the City of London.
Another part of London, where we have work at is Ridley Road Market in East London. Almost 30 years ago we had a Bible Stall within the market – until changes to the market were made and we moved our stall to another area, however we continued our street witnessing; but climate in our country is changing. A few people in, so called, positions of authority are making critical decisions that are affecting lives.
On Saturday 2nd May 2009, our open-air group was moved on by a combination of “Market Marshals’ and a shopkeeper. The “reason” given were, trespassing and causing an obstruction, then that was changed…. We were not causing an obstruction… Finally, we were told the truth, but not without a great deal of searching and questioning. They do not want us in Ridley Market.
On Saturday 9th May 2009, our group went back to Ridley Market, but this time to talk to the people who actually make the market work – the general public.
We petitioned shoppers – telling them that the Gospel message being preached in their market was under threat.
Now we know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. The Gospel changes lives – it makes bad people good, gives health, happiness to all who embrace It in totality.
People stopped and signed this petition, and also showed their outrage at the way decisions are arbitrarily made with no consultation.
Of course, once again, our presence was taken exception to. On a public highway, we were told we “needed a permit” to hand out Gospel literature. We were also told to “move on” when 3 of us stopped to talk with each other. Are they, “the powers that be,” so worried about a group of Christians, that they have to watch 3 ladies and one pushchair, to tell them to move?