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Beach Missions

Overstrand Family Beach Mission Reunion, August Bank Holiday 2018

Capturing coastal life in the early 20th century in Southern England. In this art piece I used pen & ink with sepia wash effect. In the days when men wore striped swimming costumes with longish sleeves & ladies changed in bathing houses. These bathing houses would be wheeled down to the waters edge so that the ladies could swim & then come into the bathing house to change without being seen. No topless bathers then!

Coastal life, early 20th century, Southern England

From 1992 to 2010 Val & I were privileged to lead 23 beach missions on the North Norfolk coast with a very able team of volunteers from around the country.  From 1992-1997 in Hunstanton & area & from 1995-2010 in Overstrand. These missions were lots of hard work but incredibly rewarding for all involved. A team of 25-30 volunteers would serve with me to help make these action-packed missions possible. We would reach out to children, young people, families & adults.


Open air services would be held each day on the front in Hunstanton & on the cliff top in Overstrand. These would involve inputs from children & young people in their age groups, team testimonies, action songs uniquely written for  participation, a serial drama written each year by Val & a visual input including gospel message. 

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Each year a number of children & young people chose to put their trust & faith in Jesus, as their Lord & Saviour, whilst many others made recommittments & grew in their biblical knowledge. The team were greatly encouraged in their walk with the Lord & musical, artistic & dramatic talents were developed, spiritual life deepened & quality fellowship experienced.

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Beach missions began in this country with a man called Josiah Spiers who was prompted to work with some children in writing out a biblcial text – ‘God is love’, using stones in the coastal sands of Llandudno in 1867. After completion the children asked him to share a bible story & then another. They agreed to meet the next day & more stories were told & agreed to meet the day after. Each day more people attended including adults & families & so began the first beach mission in the United Kingdom.

Sand creations are still popular amongst my team and in years gone by, the sand pulpits were carefully sculpted for the open air service, the key part of the morning beach mission

2000 years ago, Jesus asked Peter to push out the fishing boat & taught the crowd that had gathered on the shores of Capernaum. He then went out fishing & helped the disciples catch a large number of fish & then called James, John, Simon Peter & Andrew to follow Him in catching men, women & children in the Kingdom of God. Having been to Capernaum. to Galilee & Tiberius, I could see that speaking from a boat to the gathered crowds would have made an ideal setting, from which Jesus could be heard.


Beach games with Kevin Moore & team on a sunny afternoon on the Overstrand sands

Josiah Spiers developed the work & the Children’s Special Service Mission came into being [CSSM] with a real heart to educate & teach children in the Bible stories. Over time many beach missions began around the coast lands of England & Wales. Over a 100 years later many missions were reaching out to holiday makers & local children & families. Cornwall, Wales & Norfolk were particularly strong areas of beach mission activity. Each mission being encouraged to adopt the ethos of the Children’s Special Service Mission & develop it’s own team of volunteer helpers & financial support. The Children’s Special Service Mission changed it’s name to Scripture Union & continued to grow new movements in different countries around the world. Scripture Union, today, has over 130 movements each with it’s own identity & expression, appropriate to that country. SU Australia runs many summer camps, SU Peru works with street children, SU Zimbabwe works in schools running life-skills programmes.

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A 2018 reunion gave a good opportunity for some sand creations on the Overstrand beach. The cross being central to the biblical teaching given over the beach mission years.

Jonny and Coral Bell are two team members who married after serving on team in the Overstrand Beach Mission. They came to the reunion and made this sand creation of Jonah and the land with their little boy called Jonah! 🙂

Jonny now a youth leader in Lincolnshire, shared how he used a lot of the games and ideas he picked up from those key formulative Overstrand Beach Mission years. It was encouraging to hear how those gems continue to be used, 🙂

Over time, methods, personnel & structures change but the gospel message is unchanging. The bible says, ‘Jesus is the same, yesterday, today & forever.’ Hebrews 13:8  I look back with much fondness on those beach mission years, inspiring memories of practically effective, Kingdom building mission & my richest experience, yet, of Christian community life.

Overstrand Beach Mission team 2012

Kevin Moore worked as a regional evangelist with Scripture Union England and Wales for 20 years from 1991 to 2011 covering Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. He ran many beach missions in Hunstanton and Overstrand in Norfolk. He remembers those years with many blessed memories and enjoys the annual beach mission reunions. Three couples met and married as a result of the Overstrand Beach Mission and he wrote and illustrated Groundbreakers, a holiday club resource, published by Scripture Union with his wife, Val that has been well used over the years on a building theme.

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Val and I wrote & illustrated the Groundbreakers book as a holiday club resource for churches in 2000 and it has been used thousands of times up and down the country and abroad. If you would be interested in asking me to talk to your church about Groundbreakers as a construction themed mission for children and families then please contact me. It is ideal to give 12 months notice to properly prepare the church for the mission project.

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Groundbreaking mission is creative, fun, challenging and thoroughly biblical, there is no better way!

Beach Mission themes

LookOut & two other beach mission themes were done in Hunstanton from 1992-94

When Kevin released the large Whizzbang Church based mission at All Saints CofE, Goodmayes, Essex, that he led from [1990-94], he and Val were able to take on the Overstrand beach mission in 1995

Racerunners [1995] [Kevin+Val did Racerunners in Hunstanton just before coming to Overstrand]

Great Escapes [1996] [Kevin+Val did Great Escapes in Hunstanton just before coming to Overstrand]

How Did He Do That? [1997] [Kevin+Val did How Did He Do That? in Hunstanton just before coming to Overstrand]

Catch On [1998]

Breaking New Ground [1999]

Tracktrekkers [2000]

DVD [2001] Dynamic Visual Deliverer

Coming Soon [2002]

Rock Eternal [2003]

No Matter What [2004]

Btxt [2005]

PowerPoint [2006]

SatNav [2007]

Gracebook [2008]

SENSEsational [2009]

The Banquet [2010]