Rod Matthews  

United Kingdom

On June 5, 6 and 7 all the full-time ministers in the U.K., plus two non-employed local elders, gathered at the Heathrow Hotel near London for a conference to update them on the prospects for the Work in this part of the world. Mr. Harold Jackson, the minister in Lagos, Nigeria, was also able to attend. The conference proved highly profitable, with ministers appreciating the chance to have explained to them how we are taking advantage of the avenues that are open to the Work in this area.

The financial picture again looks bright. Mail income for the month of May was up 21% over May 1978. The increase for the calendar year to date is 20% and continues to hold steady. The Pentecost offering was up a healthy 24% over last year although attendance remained about the same. Mail flow generally was well up due mainly to the advertising program.

Total responses from our current advertising campaign have reached 9,231 as of June 15th, most popular booklets being Why Were You Born? and The Seven Laws of Success. We were able to obtain a cut-price half-page space in a popular tabloid, "The Daily Star," to advertise the Plain Truth. Cost per response has been quite encouraging.

From the exhibitions we have appeared at so far, over 1,000 Plain Truth request cards have been returned. We remain confident that renewal rates for this group of trial subscribers will be relatively high in view of the direct exposure to the magazine people have received at the stand. The exhibition series continues next month when the Plain Truth display will be featured at the Devon County Festival in Exeter (July 20-28) and the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Powys (24-26).

The Spring edition of our local "Newsletter" (a quarterly publication for Co-Workers, donors and members) drew some interesting reaction. As an experiment we included the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all full-time ministers in the British Isles and invited readers to contact their local minister if they wished to attend a Sabbath service. Reports from the recent conference indicate that in almost every case a steady number of phone calls and letters were received. A small number of baptisms were triggered off by the announcement (one man had been in contact with the Work for 14 years) and many are now attending Sabbath services as a direct result. The PCD mail flow has also been higher than usual, probably reflecting in part the last Newsletter. We believe that one of the reasons for the success of this experiment was the low-key way in which it was handled, leaving the onus on the individual to respond.

Submitted by Rod Matthews, International Office

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Pastor General's ReportJune 25, 1979Vol 3 No. 24