Bradford, Yorkshire

The Journey

About Gospel Vision

We have a very old saying in Gospel Vision:

“Don’t get ready be ready”

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy – acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives as Lord. Always be ready to give a testimony to anyone who asks you to account for the Hope and confident assurance elicited by faith that is within you, yet do it with gentleness and respect

Who is Gospel Vision?

Gospel Vision was formed in 1973 when four young men met on the streets of Bradford. An industrial city situated in the heart of West Yorkshire, in the north of England. These four young men had such a passion for sharing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dave Maslen (who attended Harden Wesleyan Chapel) (Peter Aspinall attended Bethel Chapel Otley) (Stephen Scholes worshipped at The Apostolic Church) and (James King attended Sunbridge Road Methodist Mission)

James was the first on the Streets, to be followed by Dave Maslen a few weeks later, then Peter and Stephen.

These men would meet up together in the centre of Bradford, carrying their bibles, and handing out hundreds of thousands of gospel tracts. For 15 years, Saturday afternoons were dedicated to praying with people of all ages and class, pleading with them to acknowledge that they were sinners and that they desperately needed a Saviour. The summer days were mild, but as winter drew near, the days were becoming wet and very cold. So, James decided it was time to approach a local coffee house. The owners of the coffee house (which was known as the Hole in the Wall Coffee House) were approached and James offered to pay them rent if he and his Gospel Vision team were allowed to share Jesus with the customers, who for the most part were young men and women — after a period of a few weeks, they were running the coffee shop in the evenings. — Taking full responsibility for all damage and any breakages.

Expanding the Vision

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.

Coming Together Again

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.

Because of people like Tony and Kenny, James decided to teach a very basic bible study on a Sunday morning at his home at 10:30 am, and strangers would turn up enquiring if there was a bible study. The Sunday Bible study grew to over 40 adults with their children. The house was becoming too small, the children’s bedrooms were now classrooms on Sunday mornings. People were sitting in the hallway because they could not get a seat in the lounge.

Back to the Beginning

It was time to move. Some wonderful Christian brothers and sisters from a nearby Baptist church allowed James to hire their premises for £5-00 per week, but only in the winter months from October through to March because the congregation were mainly elderly and wanted to meet in the afternoons during the winter.

Leeds Road, Baptist Church

Then it was back to James’s home; James is now seriously looking for premises where this little group could meet on Sunday mornings. Then opposite James King’s family home, two semi-detached houses came up for sale and were purchased in a step of faith. James along with an incredible man called Keith, (who had prayed and received Jesus into his heart in James’s home.)  started enthusiastically renovating the houses and removed all the downstairs rooms and used the upstairs bedrooms for children’s ministry. The total cost for purchasing both houses was £27,000-00

It was during this time, Bradford Council contacted James and offered to sell the land at the rear of these two semis for £8,000-00, on the condition that more car parking land would be purchased from the adjoining General Electricity Company, the price was negotiated at a cost of £7,000-00.

The total cost is now £42,000-00, for the Bradford Council land, the two semis, together with the car parking land. All this and they didn’t have any money, but their God provided every penny.

Over the next four years, the semis were now becoming too small, and the congregation was around eighty adults with children filling the bedrooms upstairs and crying out for more space. During this time, some beautiful people had now joined James, giving him all the support, and encouragement he desperately needed.

Then the Lord told James to (step out in faith) and build an entirely new Sanctuary at the cost of £135,000-00

Again the Lords encouragement led James to expand the Youth facility and to include a ground floor coffee shop.

This was all followed by an even more significant step of faith, a new Bible College building, which involved demolishing the old semis and Sunday school building and replacing them with a new purpose-built College and pre-school building for £1,335,000-00. James again believed that where God guided He would provide. The Money was never asked for but came in.

During this time, James’s wife, Susan, desperately wanted to help young men addicted to the drugs Heroin and Crack Cocaine. Susan started a ministry under the Charity status of Gospel Vision. Called the Agape Project which helped hundreds of young men break free from drug addiction, two houses were purchased, and twenty-four young and the not so young men were looked after twenty-four hours a day, full board. The ministry employed 15 full-time workers, and included two cooks; it lasted for eighteen years, and God provided everything and all-financial needs were met. This ministry ended in 2018.

The Property where Agape Project was housed is now available to Gospel Vision. To be used as a Residential School of Evangelism. Peter and Steve decided that this was a work for James, and with their blessing, James is preparing the premises to accommodate eleven residential students, no charges will be expected for teaching and accommodation, the ministry will be another Faith Guided Ministry.

In closing, Gospel Vision has been honoured to have worked with the following Conference speakers, and organisations over those past 45 years.

Canon David Watson York Minster (Call to the North) York England
The Arthur Blessitt and the Arthur Blessitt Evangelistic Association U.S.A.
Two of G.V. “s Trustees Dave Maslen and James King worked with Arthur Blessitt in his Street University in Santa Monica U.S.A. for three years, where they shared Jesus on the Streets of Los Angelis, Santa Monica, Downtown L.A. Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Strip and Las Vegas witnessing again in all the night clubs and bars

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association U.S.A.
Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa U.S.A.
Dr Billy Strachen of Capernwray Bible College England.
Dr Alan Redpath of Capernwray Bible College (Birmingham) England.
The Reverend Philip Hacking (Sheffield) England.
Cannon Tom Walker England.
The Rev Jim Graham England.
Spring Harvest (Christian Holiday Camps)
H.C.J.B. Bradford England
Gospel Vision organised several Pastors Conferences at Cliff College Derbyshire

The team have been privileged to arrange many Evangelistic Concerts, in Schools Colleges and Universities, Throughout West Yorkshire. Where they were preaching the Gospel to hundreds of young people accompanied by various Christian bands, especially with friends from the U.S.A.

The Gospel Vision team organised many Praise and Worship evenings in Bradford’s St Georges Hall, The Great Hall of Bradford University and, also Bradford’s Library Theatre,

The team have taken Christian bands into many of the Prisons around West and South Yorkshire, including Durham, working with so many good Prison Chaplains of all denominations.

These are just some very Special and memorable events never to be forgotten.

Cliff Richards Gospel Concert Bradford England
Larry Norman Concert Bradford
Nicky Cruz visit St Georges Hall Bradford England
Luis Palu visits Bradford and Leeds.
Ian Leech Evangelist visits Bradford
Malcolm and Alwyn Bradford
The showing of the film the Cross-and the Switchblade in various locations
The last film Gospel vision presented was The Passion, and was shown to a full house in one of Bradford’s largest Cinemas.

And where did it start? On the streets of Bradford back in 1973 with four young men just sharing their love of Jesus on the streets, the night clubs, bars, Coffee houses, cinema queues and bus/railway stations. Just witnessing for Jesus, through and into the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings. This was not for a few weeks, but for over 15 blessed years.
Gospel Vision was appreciated and respected by all the local churches for its work with young people and the training of young adults to share their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, the journey continues now with Gospel Vision’s School of Evangelism and Worship opening in 2020.

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