During the Commonwealth Games, which took place in Birmingham from 28th July to 8th August, over 200 Adventist members were energised with the Spirit of God to work together to share the Gospel. This evangelistic opportunity – bringing together the city and visitors from across the globe – was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise awareness of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, promote the health message and invite people to worship in one of our 30+ local churches.
Two large health expos were organised near Alexander Stadium (the main venue of the Commonwealth Games) and at the Jamaican Independence Festival. They provided visitors with evangelistic and health literature, and interactive and fun information about nutrition, exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air, rest and trust – the precious NEWSTART principles. Visitors collected their health data, identified their actual health age, checked their blood pressure, lung capacity, heart age and much more.
The call for support received a fantastic response for the Commonwealth Health initiative, with over 225 volunteers springing into action to get involved. Volunteers faithfully joined together daily and manned the health expo stations with their expertise and experience. Seeing our church members bring colleagues and friends along to help was also a blessing.
The health expos were a hit! Almost 300 visitors passed through and showed genuine interest in our health message and Church. Some already expressed interest in joining prayer meetings, bible studies, and Sabbath worship; many received bibles and other literature. With the expo being near Alexander stadium for nine consecutive days, it made it possible for visitors to return and continue to have meaningful conversations at the trust station. This was always encouraging for the prayer team as they saw people happily receiving the Gospel.
The Lord saw us through
An activity of this large scale cannot take place without the occasional hiccup. Instead of being able to witness directly in front of Alexander Stadium – at the original venue – we had to find an alternative venue three days before, for reasons outside our control.
Instead of being discouraged, it only brought us closer together and strengthened our determination. Perry Beeches church, located directly behind Alexander stadium, stepped in and provided us with the necessary space and infrastructure, and gave our Commonwealth Health expo a second home to our volunteers. I'm indeed proud to belong to such a loving and welcoming church family.
You can view and download more photos that were taken at the two health expos here:
- Perry Beeches – https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA44Kt
- Jamaican Festival – https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA48Ea
The Commonwealth Health expo is only the beginning. More expos are taking place during August and September (visit our website for more information – www.commonwealthhealth.co.uk), and follow-up programmes are happening all over Birmingham. Our signature follow-up programme, "Reversing Diabetes," will occur from 12th September to 31st October at Camp Hill Seventh-day Adventist church. A "Breathe Free 2.0" programme is also planned at Perry Beeches Seventh-day Adventist church.
We are honoured to be joined very soon by our General Conference Associate Health Ministries Director, Katia Reinert, who will provide training for leaders and facilitators to start "Journey to Wholeness." It's a 12-step programme that our churches can conduct and the training will take place from 25th – 29th of September. More details will follow soon.
A special thank you to those who have made this wonderful evangelistic event possible: Pastors George Kumi and Emanuel Bran, Lorraine McDonald, Craig Gooden, Dr Jacquie Halliday-Bell, Danny Reid and Jennifer Distin, who joined the planning team early on, and of course, Pastor Richard Jackson who planted the idea over one year ago. Additionally, Pastor Joe Philpott and his team who managed all communication, design and digital media.
I want to thank the organisers of the Jamaica Festival. They secured our place and made it possible to witness at this special event. The team of coordinators on site: Trevor Davis, Colleen Dixon, Dr Jacquie Halliday-Bell and Lorraine McDonald. Jennifer Distin's presence was felt throughout; she helped us plan, train, and prepare for all events and eventualities.
Orlene Dunkley, who equipped us with new kits and banners, and the churches of Halesowen and Handsworth, who so readily shared their kits and banners. Dr Emmanuel Babafemi, his dear family and the Church of Perry Beeches, who so kindly provided their church. Judith Asare, who catered for our needs with food and drinks. Pastor Baker and Pastor Howarth, who joined us almost daily at the Trust station. The faithful volunteers who joined us not only from Birmingham but from other cities; not only from the NEC but also from the SEC!
The faithful volunteers who joined us every day, the devoted volunteers who took time off work, and the faithful individuals who rearranged their work shifts so they could get involved. Many more have supported; it was indeed a team effort!
Our goal was reached!
After years of isolation, our church family had the opportunity to come out and work actively for the Lord. After years of lockdowns and closures, our churches had the opportunity to open up and invite in visitors. After years of estrangement and disruption, our churches had the opportunity to be a family again, to grow closer together in Jesus and join hands as workers in God's Kingdom. After years of disorientation, many unreached people had the opportunity to hear the Good News, learn about the Gospel and hear the 3 Angels' Message. All of us were brought closer to God's Throne of Grace. To God alone be the Glory! Amen!