In October, in the town of Camborne in Cornwall, a lady from Fore Street Chapel was handing out leaflets in the town square. They were advertising an opportunity to hear Will Graham, who would be preaching at a celebration in Peterhead, Scotland.
There is a strong religious tradition in Cornwall, particularly among non-conformists. It was this that Tim Bodman, the pastor of Fore Street Chapel, was able to tap into when he took over a small congregation and turned it into a thriving evangelical church. “The Lord has blessed us in amazing ways,” he said.
It was also this underlying faith that Will Graham was able to speak into. One of those who took a leaflet in the square was a lady who had been away from church for several years. She had never been to Fore Street Chapel, but she decided to go along that weekend to hear the American preacher. The message moved her powerfully, and she went forward at the end of the evening to recommit her life to Christ.
When they brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix, according to Robert Browning’s poem, most of the horses died on the way. Just one rider was left “to bear the whole weight of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate”. The even more miraculous news of the Gospel, however, travelled the 705 miles from Peterhead to Camborne by livestream.
Technically it was simple to join the event. Churches just had to click ScotlandHope.com on their laptop, and connect it to a television with an HDMI cable. Alternatively they could project the event onto a screen by connecting the laptop to a projector, with a cable from the laptop’s headphone socket to speakers.
Tim heard about the opportunity by email on the same day as one of his elders, Bob. “The reaction of both of us was immediately ‘Go for it,’” he said.
The preacher on the rota for the Sunday evening stepped down, and the chapel printed invitations, which members took door-to-door. Some leaflets were left over, which was how they came to be handed out in the square.
The lady who took one was among three who went to the Chapel for the first time that weekend, and one of seven people who recommitted their lives to Christ there.
“One lady in her eighties, who had committed her life to Christ as a child, had never been to the main service at the church on a Sunday morning since I came here three years ago,” said Tim. “During the celebration, she decided to make a recommitment, and the following two Sunday mornings she was there in chapel.”
On the following Wednesday afternoon at the Ladies Meeting, another lady who had gone forward shared her testimony of how the Holy Spirit had powerfully challenged her commitment to Jesus. Since the event, a study group has started on a Friday lunchtime, using the Living in Christ booklets from the My Hope website. It is hoped that this will become an established Bible Study group over the coming weeks.
“I really liked the way Will Graham spoke,” said Tim. “He presented the Gospel message clearly.”
You can watch a round-up of the Peterhead Celebration of Hope here. It is hoped that future celebrations will also be broadcast on livestream.