The Black Country Boating Festival on the Dudley No. 2 canal has been held at Bumble Hole, Netherton for over 35 years. The festival attracts over 12000 visitors who come to see the narrowboats, browse the stalls and enjoy the music.
For a good number of those years John Heywood of OAC has been sharing the gospel on the towpath. Local man John and a team of volunteers share the gospel through music, preaching and literature. John sings a mixture of Christian and traditional boating folksongs. The singing is interspersed with preaching which often includes object lessons relating to narrowboat life and history.
One of this year’s presentations focused on the Black Country flag which features chains as one of the local industries. John was able to draw a parallel between physical chains and spiritual ones.
This year John was joined on the canal towpath by National Director, Marten Holmes. Marten used a variety of tricks, puzzles and bracelets to attract an audience with whom he could share the gospel.
The Christian Boaters Fellowship also have a presence at the festival. This year they had two narrowboats moored in a prime position. The local churches are kindly given a time slot each year on the main stage to lead a Sunday morning worship service.
It was an interesting cultural weekend and a great opportunity to share the gospel with individuals and small groups of people.