Last year evangelist Jonathan B. and myself led a session on the New Age at the Chapel. We invited Jonathan to speak because he has been attending Stonehenge for 15 years, attending to speak with people about the Gospel. Around the time of that meeting I felt it was an outreach opportunity I should commit to attending. In the end myself and David F. from the Chapel agreed to go with him (so glad he was willing for us to tag along). It was a privilege to serve alongside two men so gifted in “on the spot” public evangelism.
I share these reflections as my mind is still filled with the grogginess of returning home at 0600 not having a proper night’s sleep just in case anyone is interested in what goes on/ or how the Gospel might be shared in places such as these.
The three of us met up in the early evening for fellowship and prayer (so important in evangelism and serving in spiritually dark places). With a willingness to be used by the Spirit, and with tracts, Bibles and Jesus t-shirts in hand (that might seem a tad tacky but they work well as a conversation starter) we set off to seek and save the lost. Given how warm it has been there were lots of people, different sorts of people all searching and thirsting for living waters but searching for it in broken cisterns (Jer 2:13). There were some neo-pagans, druids and witches of varying sorts (some pretend and some real). There were also many neo-pagan and New Age worshippers wishing folks “happy solstice.” Then there was the majority, or those looking for a good excuse for revelry and then those who just came to check things out. There were lots of drugs and alcohol (the air stank of it), dancing, flame tricks, glow sticks and different sorts of music ranging from classic hippy, rock to pagan drumming. I was particularly bothered by how many children were being exposed to such darkness, drugs, false worship and lack of sleep! It was an odd combination of some elements that almost seemed darkly primitive blended with a hippy culture of the 60s. Nonetheless, we were there to love people and minister the Gospel in the name of Jesus.
We journeyed first to:
We arrived here while it was still light out. Given this location is off the beaten path from Stonehenge (though much larger in size) there were less people and a less organised feel. This meant that it had a better atmosphere for engaging with people. Sadly the local URC church had just been sold and nothing was on at the parish church (though I cannot confirm whether they were doing anything or not). After surveying the lay of the land (this was new for 2 of us) we broke off for a time to do some individual sharing. We each had a few conversations with people but it was not until we re-joined a large group within the stone circle that a number of people began being drawn into conversation with us. Chief among these were two teenage boys and some women. We were able to pray extensively for one very lost 17 year old and share with him. It was disconcerting to see how the UKs moral slide away from the Lord is having disastrous effects in real people’s lives and causing so many of the secondary societal issues we are seeing such as broken homes and suicide. With another we were able to share to the extent that he took a Bible and was sincerely interested in considering Christ (once he was not in the state he was). We also shared extensively with a drunk (who we helped get a coffee) who was receptive and will wake up in the morning with the literature he took. Contact details were exchanged with several of these folk so Gospel follow up might take place. It was a good environment for sharing and things seemed to flow very naturally.
Sadly when we arrived here the party had ended and the campers were hunkering down for bed. That didn’t stop us from looking at Woodhenge in the dark.
The BBC reported that there were 13,000 people at Stonehenge last night, of which we were but three. We hoped there were other Christians there taking advantage of this opportunity for outreach. By the time we got here it was late (or early) such that many people were sleeping on the ground (and you had to watch you didn’t trip over them! A few of them will have woken up to some tracts in their sleeping bagsJ). After paying £15 to park (that kept some away) we walked the incredibly long distance to Stonehenge, through the security and metal detectors, past the lighting, vendors and armed police. It all had a very commercial and touristy feeling that seemed to cramp the spirit of evangelism. We met a Hindu monk in the enormous car park. He showed us some scary Hindu pictures and wanted us to take a copy of his sacred book. He declined the offer to swap “holy books.” It turned out he had been a “Christian” and was from California. Many people we talked with either thought they knew what Christianity was all about from RE lessons or had tried Christianity and didn’t like it, or had been raised in the church but had not had their questions answered (to such nominal Christians- Ps 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good…the trouble is they had never tasted, oh what baggage to faith there can sometimes be). After making it to the centre of the circle and witnessing yet more revelry we dispersed to the edges where opportunities to engage with people were generally greater. Jonathan was able to engage with a druid whilst David and I were able to enter into conversation with a number of people who weren’t high. Sadly, despite repeated attempts to steer conversation to spiritual things and ultimately the Lord we sensed things were not as open to evangelism as at Avebury and wanting to beat the sunrise rush left just prior to sun up.
I am sure we’ll all have further reflections and lessons to apply to future evangelistic attempts at such settings, however, for this tired brain it is time to sign off. Please pray for those we met.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,