This first phone call confirmed the team’s decision.
The Hole In the wall Coffee House was to be one of the most frequented places for young people in the North of England.
The Gospel Vision team now had a base from which to work. Soon to be joined by two young teenage ladies, Audrey Beaumont and Susan Durham, (whatever the weather) these two young girls who attended Wyke Grammar School would share their faith on the streets of Bradford regardless of the weather conditions.
The place was an absolute success; the best Christian bands would be booked to play in the Hole in The wall every Saturday night and the place was soon packed.
After a few months, the owner informed the team that because of the new fire regulations, he now had to close the Coffee House. But he introduced the group to another wonderful Greek Coffee bar owner. This place was called the San Remo, and this would be their new home for the next two years. The San Remo was situated right in the heart of the City centre.
The Ministry was now growing, and young Christians were joining and wanting to share their faith on the streets.
Above the San Remo coffee house, (which was for the business people of the City during the day but at night, it was a place where hundreds of teenagers would gather) there was a nightclub called the Shangri-La, a perfect place to invite Christian bands.
After two years, the owner of the San Remo introduced the team to yet another Greek coffee bar owner, who had a large unused room above his ground-floor coffee shop, (The Garden of Eden) with a separate entrance leading from Foster Square situated in the centre of the City. Little did James know, but this coffee house was to be the new venue for the next nine years. Again it was in the heart of the city centre. Over those nine years, the Gospel Vision Team would train hundreds of young men and women how to share their faith. Saturday night was a gospel band night, and hundreds of teenagers would travel from as far as Manchester 30 miles away, to enjoy Christian music.
The new home was called Canaan, and it was a tremendous success.
Canaan opened every Friday and Saturday night from 7 pm until 11 pm except on Sunday night, when it opened after eight pm, which ensured that, the church Sunday services had finished. Christians, from all denominations, would come and enjoy meeting with new friends, and then being taken out onto the streets of Bradford to share their faith. Sometimes as many as 70 young teenagers were witnessing on the streets of Bradford, these teenagers were never sent out alone, they were always accompanied by, a mature adult trained leader.
A very experienced team visited the Red-Light Area of the City.
And because of James’s background, when Canaan closed around 11 pm, James would visit the nightclubs and bars sharing his faith in Jesus.
Over the years Gospel Vision was instrumental in arranging for Cliff Richard to visit the City, for a Gospel concert, then Nicky Cruz and Arthur Blessitt. Gospel Vision even organised with the ministers (of all the local denominations) to link up with the Billy Graham relays.
They were seeing people receive Jesus as their Saviour, and this was the obsession and Passion of the Gospel Vision Team. Organising many Christian concerts and Praise and Worship evenings in the City, helped many times by local Christian bands and friends in the United States.
Because of the success of Canaan, the team decided it was time to close the Ministry in the City. Peter and James ended up being Pastors. Stephen went with his wife as a missionary to Haiti; Dave found his place in the Anglican Church.
After the closing of the Canaan coffee house, some of the people from the streets were not quite accepted in the church that James was attending with his wife Susan and children. Some were Hell’s Angels, Punks and prostitutes.
These two guys below are just the sort of people that didn’t fit into your normal middle-class Church and you can tell by the look on their faces how happy they are, and just how interested they would be about hearing how much God loves them and how Jesus died for their sins.
Tony, on the left, after receiving Jesus, went onto study at Bible College.
Kenny, who couldn’t even spell his own name, was invited to go to California, USA and attended Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and studied and passed his Masters degree and became the Deputy head Teacher of Costa Mesa High School. Below is a picture of Kenny and his lovely wife Amber, together with their two boys on Huntington beach, California.