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"Late-Nite Specials" and
Coffee Bar Evangelism

Elaine Jarvis and Karen Murray (both nee Terhoven) from Orillia, ON, Canada, sent me (2002) a cutting from their late father's scrapbook describing the "Late-Nite Specials" that Ken Terhoven had been running in the 1950s and 1960s.  It would seem from this that there were coffee bars, as such, used for evangelism as far back as the early 1950s. However, what this article seems to make clear is that, at that time, no music groups were involved.

See also the e-mails from Dave Barker (Coquitlam, BC, Canada) and Andrew Holland (King's Lynn, Norfolk, UK) further below.



The pattern of the evening for a "Late-Nite Special" in the 1950/60s (apart from the important details of getting people in, welcoming them and speaking etc) seems to have been to oscillate between the following two alternatives:



The difference between this and the coffee bar evangelism of the 1960s and 1970s must surely be the existence and use of gospel groups to "perform", so that the pattern of an evening became:





In August 2005, I received this e-mail from Dave Barker, Associate Pastor at
Calvary Baptist Church, Coquitlam, BC (www.calvarybaptist.ca), shedding
further light on this early form of coffee bar evangelism.

 
17 August 2005

Hi Crossbeats!!

I was intrigued that you had been trying to trace the history of coffee-bar evangelism and, in doing so, referred back to the Southport Project (summer 1964) and Ken Terhoven as one of the earliest examples.

You probably won't remember me but I was working as Ken's close associate in the 1960s in the development of his movement called "Project Evangelistic Crusade" with headquarters in Matlock, Derbyshire.  In fact, the earliest coffee-bar evangelism of which I am aware took place in the very first "Project Crusade" in Matlock and Matlock Bath in August 1963.  Well, do I remember being "thrown in at the deep-end" by Ken Terhoven as he decided to hold a coffee-bar "Late-Nite-Special" every night for the duration of the project - not only in Matlock but also one in Matlock Bath..... one for which I was suddenly the leader!  As far as I can recall, if not the originator, Ken was at the very least the earliest champion of such ministry in the UK.

Exciting times, as we had gospel groups such as yours playing interspersed with testimonies and short messages..... the all-too-familiar format that we all came to love.  How amazing to see so many young people (and older ones, too) making real commitments to Jesus which proved years later to have been the real thing as many of these joined us in later years as workers, and a good number of these responded to the call of God on their lives and have since been pastors, evangelists and missionaries.

During the rest of the 60s, such Late-Nite-Specials were held all over UK in cafes, restaurants, school halls, church halls, pubs, shop-fronts, town halls etc. etc.

You will probably have heard that Ken went to be with the Lord just a few years ago on a trip to England from South Africa.  Ken always wanted to go home preaching..... and that's exactly what happened at a small church in his beloved Derbyshire.  His wife, Win, lives and worships with her married children in Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

Blessings

Dave Barker
Associate Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Coquitlam, BC V3J 3B8
(www.calvarybaptist.ca)


 


In December 2012 I received the following e-mail, giving more infoprmation about
"Late-Nite Specials", from Andrew Holland, King's Lynn, Norfolk UK.

 
20 December 2012

Hi there

Just to add to the conversation about Late-Nite specials.

I went to my first Project Evangelism Crusade at Easter 1965 at Kilburn, London. It was a life-changing experience for me. Sleeping on the floor of a church hall, eating the simplest of foods, and enjoying ministry from Ken Terhoven and other godly men in the morning, evangelism (including door to door evangelism, children's evangelism on beach or park, open air services etc.), gospel rally in the evening (we were invited to go out "fishing" on the streets) followed by the Late-Nite Specials.

But the part that had the most impact on me was the all night prayer meeting.

How did I come to be there? At this stage they were inviting bands to perform at the Late-Nite specials. I was part of a singing group at the time. A member of a band in Norwich contacted us. They had been invited to the Project, but a few days before the event the band split up. We were asked by him to join him and his fiancée to provide the music. Some of the bands who came were not appreciated by the leadership, as the music was not considered suitable for the events. So they decided from then on to trust God and to use the talents which became apparent among the delegates.

I then went to "Tyneside Project" and "Bognor Regis Project" that Summer. Other Projects I attended were "Derbyshire Villages Project" (at Cliff College), "Blackpool Project", "Matlock Project (No. 2)", "Edinburgh Project" and "New Brighton Project".

"Project Evangelism" is still going in Northern Ireland under the leadership of Johnny Moxon (www.projectmh.org). I called in to see him about ten years ago, but I don't think he recognised me. I have also been in touch with Dave Barker through facebook, and he certainly remembered me!

Andrew Holland

 



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