In 2016 members of Gideons International, encouraged by the uptake of badged New Testament in various parts of the British Isles, considered where such Testaments could be used. David Richardson had worked for seventeen years with Bombardier and its train manufacturing predecessors explains:
“… the question was asked if the Railway Mission would be agreeable to having their logo on the New Testament with the plan that Gideons would work with the Railway Mission Chaplains to offer badged Testaments to people whom they met across the whole railway industry, including London Underground.
Later that year in November I met with Liam Johnston, Executive Director Railway Mission, Ralph Coleman, and Tony Lovering, Gideons UK Scripture Manager.
Earlier this year Tony and I were able to join the Railway Mission at its annual conference at Coventry and present badged Bibles to Keith Rose, Chairman of the Mission, Liam Johnston, and Tom Joyner, Customer Services Director of London Midland, one of the speakers at the Mission’s conference. Each Railway Mission Chaplain has now been linked with local Gideons.
Personally, I found this ‘project’ very encouraging. It enabled me to play a part in getting Scriptures to people in the industry which I had worked in for seventeen years, and it had a quick turnaround from inception to implementation. I felt that God was in the whole process. I trust and pray that He will be glorified and lives blessed by Him.”
In April, members of Rugby Branch, Michael Haighton, Mark Mair and Iain Mair, met with Liam Johnston and Ralph Coleman at Rugby Railway Station to present them with Railway Mission Testaments, and find out a little more about the work that they do. It was encouraging to see the Testaments being placed into the hands of British Transport Police and Virgin Rail staff.
Liam Johnston said:
The biggest encouragement is seeing people come to faith in Jesus. Faced with an increasingly secular society, knowing that the Kingdom is advancing and the Gospel still has the same power to bring the hope of salvation is what really inspires the chaplaincy.
“…the chaplaincy team have been a real asset to our officers and rail staff and always offer valuable support during and after what can sometimes be quite traumatic incidents.”
Sergeant Mo Mahmood: Emergency Intervention Unit, BTP Croydon
British Transport Police called on our chaplain Richard to be put in touch with a widow. Richard acted with great compassion and care through meeting with her, to the extent that he attended the inquest on her husband’s death with the bereaved widow and her family. The bereaved widow wrote this to Richard “Thank you for offering me your time, your insights and your prayers”
Mrs. K. H: Left Widowed by a Railway Suicide
“My team investigate fatalities on the railway – You are probably aware how busy we are at the moment! Since taking over as the supervisor here 18 months ago we have used the chaplain services on a regular basis – Nothing is too much trouble for them and we appreciate the support your team to families who are at rock bottom!”
Gerry Griffin: B Division Fatality Investigation Team
We believe there is no greater tool for reaching out to people than the written word of God. But, having a Railway Mission Badged Gideon Testament makes it something that railway staff see as being special, or more accurately, especially for them as railway people. For some, it has made the Bible accessible, no longer a distant book from the past, but a personal gift relevant to their situation.
A director of one of the Train Operating Companies recently e-mailed the office, asking if it would be possible for one to be sent to him. A signalling centre manager asked if we could present one to the signalling centre so it could be there permanently for all the present staff and future staff to have access to. Another person who was given a Bible asked if they could have another one, as he had given his to someone who was going through difficult times and though the ‘helps’ in the front of the Testament would be helpful for her.