Edward Field

Edward Field (1855 – 1928) barrister and founder of Open Air Campaigners
edward-fieldA Sydney-based barrister commenced in 1892, what was to become a world-wide movement – Open Air Campaigners.

Open Air Campaigners began in 1892 when a barrister in Australia named Edward Percy Field, began preaching the Gospel in Sydney. He was concerned that the majority of Australians did not attend church. If someone did not take the Gospel to them, how would they ever hear? The group of people who came to help E.P. Field first called themselves the New South Wales Prayer Band. Later, the name Open Air Campaigners was adopted.

Open Air Campaigners: Then & Now https://vimeo.com/26585159

Following the principle of taking the Gospel to where the people are, rather than waiting for them to come to us, Beach Sunday Schools began. OAC teams regularly took the Gospel to Australian beaches, reaching crowds of young people who rarely, if ever, went to Sunday School. OAC’s evangelists have always been innovative. Early in our history, we adopted visual techniques, using sketchboards to illustrate our messages.

Before the second world war, we were using Gospel Wagons so teams could quickly take the Gospel to many people. We used music, drama, puppets, object lessons and more to communicate clearly and powerfully to non-captive audiences.

The hymn writer from America, Homer Rodeheaver, visited in Sydney and reported: “I have been in the thick of evangelistic work for 20 years; Billy Sunday and I thought we had explored every avenue of doing God’s work effectively, but I have come to Sydney only to discover we have more to learn. Those efficiently equipped vans eclipse anything in America.” It was not until 1956 that Open Air Campaigners came to North America when an invitation came from Dr. Paul Smith of the Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada. The team toured for seven weeks, ministering in key cities in the United States and Canada.

Source : http://www.oacusa.org/history.php

Field was an Anglican and a committee-member of the Church Society for the Diocese of Sydney. He preached in churches in various cities and towns and converted the sculler Ned Trickett.

Further biographic information: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/field-edward-percy-6167

See also:
Wallace Guilford:
https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/wallace-guilford/
– and
Robert Gordon:
https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/robert-gordon/
– and
James Duffecy
https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/james-duffecy/
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