Three speakers on trial in Bristol

Prayer Alert

Christian preachers on trial

Three Christian evangelists stand trial at Bristol Magistrates’ Court today
 Whether we disagree with the term evangelist, meaning a first century apostolic helper-an office no longer in existence, still these men should be free to speak and we trust are sent by and accountable to local churches.
Please pray for Mike Overd, Adrian Clark and Michael Stockwell as they appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, charged with public order offences.
Last July, the three men and another friend were preaching in a Bristol shopping area.
They took it in turns to speak, and to respond to questions, objections and abuse from the crowd that gathered.
Watch extraordinary footage of Mike being forcibly removed by police
Mike and his friends explained the difference between Islam and Christianity, using the Bible and references to the Qur’an. They spoke of God’s love, and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
During the preaching, a police officer forcibly removed Mike Overd. Video evidence shows Mike, who suffers from chronic back pain, falling to the ground and crying out in pain.
Yes, I want to stand with Mike, Adrian and Michael

‘Just saying what the Bible says’

The video also records the police officer saying that Mike was “challenging homophobia” (sic) and “challenging Muslims”, to which Mike responds that he and his friends were “just saying what the Bible says”.
The recording goes on to show the police officer asking for advice on whether Mike can be charged with any offences, but only after Mike had been forcibly removed from the scene.
Mike and two of his friends were later charged with offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Public Order Act 1986.
Thanks to your support, they are being assisted by the Christian Legal Centre, and will be represented in court tomorrow by allied solicitor Michael Phillips.
The case raises important issues of freedom of speech, and of the response of police and prosecutors to Christian preaching in public places.
Please pray for Mike Overd, Adrian Clark, Michael Stockwell and the Christian Legal Centre team, asking that the three Christian preachers will be acquitted of all charges.
Watch Mike explain how he was treated
Read more about what happened

‘Shut out of public debate’

Andrea Williams commented on the importance of the case, explaining:
“Mike and his friends are motivated by love. They want to share the good news of Jesus with people who might not otherwise hear it. Sometimes that means addressing the false claims of other religions or ideologies.
“Robust debate is sometimes necessary, especially when objections are being raised or abuse hurled.
“The aggressive treatment of Mike and his friends by the police and prosecution is shocking. The police should be defending freedom, not clamping down on it.
“‘Offence’ is a very subjective thing and is easily manipulated to shut down viewpoints that people simply don’t like. Any suggestion that there is a right not to be offended must be strongly resisted. We need the freedom to debate, challenge and disagree.
“We cannot allow the gospel to be shut out of public debate. Please pray for a successful outcome to this important case.”
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