shareit! The Magazine of Church Army
Winter 2012/Spring 2013
shareit! The Magazine of Church Army
Patron: HM The Queen President: The Most Revd Dr Desmond Tutu Church Army Evangelists share the Christian faith through words and action and equip others to do the same. Evangelists and staff are devoted to a wide range of service in Anglican churches, projects and teams throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Shareit! is the magazine of Church Army and it is available free upon request. Please let us know if you would prefer not to receive further issues of Shareit! or other communications from Church Army. Wilson Carlile Centre, 50 Cavendish Street, Sheffield, S3 7RZ Tel: 0300 123 2113 Email: email@example.com www.churcharmy.org.uk
Registered Charity Nos: 226226 & SC040457 Editor: Hannah Gray 0300 123 2113 Sub-editor: Bethan Hill Design & Print: CPO 01903 264556 ISSN 1751-3960 If you have a story for Shareit!, or suggestions on how we can improve this magazine, then please contact Hannah Gray. The paper used is from sustainable forests and can be recycled. Printed by Bishops who have 14001 accreditation.
Evangelist Support Scheme This symbol identifies those evangelists who, through the Evangelist Support Scheme, seek support for their ministry through prayer and giving. It may be that you are drawn to an evangelist in this issue and would like to find out how you can partner with them in their ministry. To receive further information about the scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 123 2113.
Welcom From the Chief Executive
Dear friends, ince Church Army was founded in 1882 by Wilson Carlile, we have been committed to encouraging and enabling ordinary Christians to live out the Good News of Jesus Christ in such a way that others would be attracted to follow Him. Carlile believed that the Christian message had to be shared through words and action, and he encouraged all manner of people to witness to their faith. In the 21st century we see the struggles that many people face in day-to-day living and their need of knowing Jesus Christ for themselves. The importance to witness is no less and so we have launched the Church Army Mission Community to extend the vision Wilson Carlile had. The Mission Community was launched at two services held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London and at the Wilson Carlile Centre in Sheffield. Hundreds gathered together to mark the occasion and we now hope the Mission Community will grow to become a home for those with a passion for evangelism. We want it to be an inclusive movement of people that will join together in the gospel to make an impact in their local areas. You can read more about the Mission Community on pages 8-10. Perhaps you would like to consider joining us? Also in this edition of Shareit! you can read more about our Hope on the Streets campaign and how our work is making a real difference in the lives of those who are marginalised. On pages 12-13, “Jenny” from the Amber Project in Cardiff shares her story of self-harm and how she has been helped in some of her darkest moments. Alongside this, Evangelist Rob Barker tells us about his outreach to young offenders and nonchurched teenagers through a bus and canal boat project. (pages 14-16). We also want to encourage you in your own evangelism, so turn to pages 26-27 for some top tips and ideas. We hope you will find them useful, practical and inspiring. Finally, Church Army’s Peter Graystone speaks to us about the Christian Enquiry Agency website (www.christianity.org.uk) which exists to reach those exploring the Christian faith (pages 28-29). It was
relaunched in 2009 and now more than 1,000 people visit the website each week. Praise God! So as you can see, we have a lot to be thankful to God for as He works through our evangelists across this nation. But we recognise that none of this could happen without your faithful support – both prayerfully and financially. So thank you for your commitment. Your partnership is a joy to us.
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.” Psalm 96:11-12
Mark Russell Chief Executive www.churcharmy.org.uk/ceo
Church Army is pleased to announce it has been accredited as a Living Wage Employer – a scheme which was launched in 2001 to lift people out of poverty. The Living Wage is calculated annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy according to the basic cost of living in the United Kingdom. There is a separate Living Wage for people working in London which is calculated by the Greater London Authority annually. A Living Wage Employer ensures that all employees are paid at least the Living Wage with many employers reporting improved morale and a lower turnover of staff as a result. Mark Russell, Church Army Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that Church Army is now a Living Wage Employer. We are committed to alleviating poverty and we believe signing up to be a Living Wage Employer is an important part of literally putting our money where our mouths are.” Mark Russell at the launch of Mission Community
Shareit! 36 Winter 2012/Spring 2013
6 News All the latest from Church Army
17 Going the extra mile Retired Evangelist, Peggy Boynes
28 Outreach online Christian Enquiry Agency website
20 A week with Debbie Orriss in High Wycombe
30 Degrees of faith University Chaplain Ian Maher
24 After Dark Gerry Bowyer leading Street Pastors in Aberdeen
31 Four secrets of a good community Peter Graystone has the last word
8 Looking to the future Mission Community launched 12 Hope on the Streets The Amber Project and the Chester Bus Project
zin The Maga
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/Spr Winter 2012
Is this the first time youâ€™ve read a copy of Shareit!? Would you like to receive your own FREE edition regularly? To sign up and to find out more about other Church Army resources please visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/res Alternatively email email@example.com, telephone 0300 123 2113 or write to Church Army, Wilson Carlile Centre, 50 Cavendish Road, Sheffield, S3 7RZ. We will be more than happy to help.
Front cover: Evangelist Debbie Orriss working in High Wycombe
22 Action 18 Time well spent Volunteer with us 22 Nurturing children Lisburn Centre of Mission
26 Top tips Evangelism ideas to inspire you
28 12 Shareit! 5
Applications open for Xplore gap year Church Army has opened applications for its Xplore gap year 2013/2014, which provides 18 to 25-year-olds with the chance to learn about contemporary mission in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Eastern Europe. Programme leader, Neville Barnes, said: “The programme starts with a six-week placement in Romania where the Xplorers work among some of the poorest people in Europe and learn what it really means to live as a mission community. “On returning to the United Kingdom and Ireland they are then placed with an experienced Church Army Evangelist at a mission base. These bases are located
throughout the country and work with people on the edge of society. “Alongside these practical placements, the Xplorers receive teaching, which
will help them explore the Bible further.” To apply for Xplore, please visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/ xplore or telephone 08445 853575
Making their cuppas count For more than 25 years, the congregation at St Peter’s Church in Thurston, Suffolk, have been raising money for Church Army through their regular coffee mornings. The latest one saw people enjoying refreshments, a raffle and a variety of stalls – raising £110. It was organised by Church Army Parish Representative, Joy Bolwell, who said: “Church Army’s work is vital as its evangelists go out into the heart of communities. Here at St Peter’s we have a long-standing partnership with Church Army, with evangelists coming to speak to us about their work. My father, Reg Conway, was also a Church Army Evangelist and he was part of the team that took the first mission caravan over to America in 1927.”
Are you looking for a challenge? Do you enjoy running? Do you want to get fit in the new year? Here at Church Army, we are giving you the chance to take part in the British 10K London Run and raise money for us at the same time. With more than 25,000 runners, you’ll run a closed route past some of the country’s greatest landmarks including Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey. The race is taking place on Sunday July 14 2013 and is open to runners of all abilities. For more information and to register your interest, please contact Neil Thomson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 0300 123 2113.
College of Evangelists partnership The College of Evangelists and Church Army have announced a new partnership at a Study and Commissioning Day led by Christian speaker, J.John. The event took place at Church Army’s home in Sheffield, the Wilson Carlile Centre.
It is hoped the new partnership will enable better support of evangelists through mentoring, prayer and high quality training events. The two organisations will also aim to join together in missional activity and work to raise the profile of evangelism within the wider church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said “Both bodies have amply demonstrated their zeal for spreading the gospel to people who routinely have little contact with the Church and they both have my unreserved support.”
New online library for evangelism
Runners – we need you!
A new online library has been launched for people interested in evangelism and new forms of church, which will provide them with free access to research papers and theses. The website, SCOLER (The Sheffield Centre Online Library of Evangelism Research) is a joint initiative between Church Army’s team of researchers at The Sheffield Centre and the Churches Group for Evangelisation. Laurence Keith, Researcher at The Sheffield Centre, said: “We hope this online library can become a valuable resource both for people doing their own research and for those who are looking for some serious theological reflection on evangelism and new forms of church.” For more information, please visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/scoler
Left to right: Bishop of Swansea and the Brecon, John Davies, Bishop of Chelmsford and Chair of Church Army’s Board, Stephen Cottrell, Church Army Chief Executive, Mark Russell, Church Army Dean of Community, Vanessa Kirby, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, Bob Gillies, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, Ken Clarke
Looking to the future Shareit! reports on the launch of Church Army’s Mission Community which we hope and pray will become a home for all those with a passion for evangelism
ore than 180 people have gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral in London to celebrate the launch of Church Army’s Mission Community. The Mission Community exists to enable people throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland to come to a living faith in Jesus Christ. Its members are committed to sharing their Christian faith through words and action, beyond the church, and supporting others in doing so. It is hoped the Mission Community will become a home for those with a passion for evangelism, where they can be resourced, encouraged and sent out to make a lasting impact in their local areas. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, sent the following
message: “I am delighted to send greetings on behalf of the Church of England on the happy occasion of the inauguration of the new Church Army Mission Community. Church Army is a gift to the wider Church, serving the gospel, building the Kingdom, specifically by the training and deploying of evangelists to be good news to those beyond the walls of the church. “I have watched with admiration how Church Army has wrestled with the vocation to a new future as a Mission Community, and applaud the vision to grow an inclusive movement of evangelists, lay and ordained, male and female, full-time and part-time. I am thrilled the new Mission Community can embrace evangelists up and down the land
“Church Army is opening its doors to many others...” who share the vision and values of Church Army. I pray Church Army can be a home to anyone who has the vocation of the evangelist.” The service of inauguration was attended by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, who represented the Church of England, the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, Bob Gillies, who represented the Episcopal Church of Scotland, the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, Ken Clarke, representing the Church of Ireland, and the Bishop of Swansea and the Brecon, John Davies, who represented the Church in Wales. The new inclusive Mission Community means Church Army has been able to welcome back 25 evangelists who had previously been required to resign their Church Army Commission on ordination. This was a deeply moving part of the service and the gathering welcomed the 25 with a standing ovation. Alongside the service at St Paul’s Cathedral, 70 people also met together at Church Army’s home in Sheffield, the Wilson Carlile Centre, for a service led by the Bishop of Dudley, David Walker. Church Army’s Chief Executive, Mark Russell, said: “I am really excited! Church Army is opening its doors to many others, and we dream of growing a new Mission Community committed to the re-evangelisation of the nations. If you are passionate about evangelism, come join the party!”
Mission Community explained Wilson Carlile founded Church Army in 1882 as a Society of Evangelists trained to encourage and enable ordinary Christian people to live the Good News of Jesus Christ in such a way that others would be attracted to follow Him. In the 21st century we see many challenges and the struggles that people face in day to day living and their need to know Jesus for themselves. The importance to witness is no less, and so we have developed the Mission Community to extend the vision Wilson Carlile had to encourage, enable and support others in evangelism.
Our purpose The Mission Community exists to enable people to come to a living faith in Jesus Christ. We are committed to sharing our Christian faith through words and action.
Our vision Our vision is of a movement of Christâ€™s disciples who are so set on fire by the love of Jesus that they go to the margins of society, beyond the reach of most of the church, showing that love through both words and action.
It is for people like this that the Mission Community exists; to be a home for those with a passion for evangelism. It is a family where they can be resourced and encouraged, a place where they can cry together and laugh together, celebrate Godâ€™s goodness and stand with each other in the difficulties. It is not an organisation so much as a movement that focuses on relationships. It is held together by a commitment to Christ, to the gospel and to holiness of life. Though coming from within the Anglican Church, it has an inclusive ethos and is open to those from other churches. It is a vision of a community of love sustained by prayer and the grace of God. Our mission flows out from this Mission Community seeing lives transformed by Christ. n
To find out more about Church Armyâ€™s Mission Community and to register your interest, please visit www.camissioncommunity.org. uk email missioncommunity@ churcharmy.org.uk or telephone 0300 123 2113.
Wilson Carlile Centre the home of ChurchArmy
The recently developed Wilson Carlile Centre in the heart of Sheffield is Church Army’s new national home and a multi-purpose centre for the community. Its facilities are open to the public and include:
• café • small bookshop • library with more than 15,000 books • 30 en suite bedrooms • day and residential conference facilities • chapel • garden • wedding receptions • city centre parking • free wi-fi www.wilsoncarlilecentre.org.uk
For more information: Wilson Carlile Centre, 50 Cavendish Street, Sheffield, S3 7RZ Telephone: 0300 123 2113 Email: email@example.com Centre Manager: Darren Heathcote Wilson Carlile Centre Limited is the trading subsidiary of Church Army and plans to donate all taxable profits to Church Army.
HOPE ON THE STREETS Self-harm is a growing problem among young people in the United Kingdom. As part of our Hope on the Streets campaign, we share with you Jenny’s* story Jenny*, who is 25 years old, has struggled with self-harming since she was a teenager – a problem which, according to research from the Mental Health Foundation, affects at least one in 15 young people in the United Kingdom. People can hurt themselves in all sorts of different ways and for all sorts of different reasons. But in Jenny’s case, physically harming herself was a way of coping with emotional pain and distress. She says: “Young people who selfharm can often feel very isolated, alone and misunderstood. They
may feel judged by their friends and different from other people. Personally, throughout my teenage years, I spent most of my time trying to hide my problem. It was like constantly wearing a mask.” However, thanks to the staff and volunteers at the Amber Project in Cardiff, Jenny has received counselling and one-to-one support. Alongside this, she has had the opportunity to explore difficult issues within the safe environment of theatre workshops and to increase her feelings of self-worth and confidence through activity-based workshops such as craft and cookery. Jenny also got involved in the project’s annual pantomime where she was part of the backstage team. These activities have allowed Jenny to meet with other young people who have experienced self-harming within a space that feels safe, warm and welcoming. This has helped her feel accepted and given her time to relax with people who understand her. Seeds of hope are gradually being sown back into Jenny’s life. She says: “The Amber Project has played a major part in my life and at times has kept me alive. I know
“I remember waking up in hospital feeling really scared…” that sounds dramatic but, during the rough times, the staff have really been there for me. I remember waking up in hospital feeling really scared after taking an overdose, but Caryl from the project was right there, sitting beside me. Over the years I’ve benefited from the project’s counselling service and have been involved in its workshops.
Project leader, Caryl Stock
who have been hospitalised because of self-harm has risen by 68 per cent. Will you join us in helping more people like Jenny? The Amber Project is just one of many projects featured as part of our Hope on the Streets campaign which aims to highlight how people on the very edge of society are being reached with the Good News of the gospel through words and action.
£15 could help pay for a young person to access counselling. £10 could help pay for a theatre workshop. £5 could help pay for craft materials for a creative session “The great thing about the project is that everyone treats you as an individual rather than a problem to be solved. Its work really is vital as there’s nothing else like it in the area for young people.” Health Minister, Anne Milton, revealed new figures in December 2011 showing that over the past 10 years the number of children and young people under the age of 24
To donate to Hope on the Streets, please visit www.churcharmy.org. uk/hopeonthestreets or telephone 0300 123 2113.
lternatively, to donate £5 now A via JustTextGiving, please text CHUR24 5 to 70070.
*Name has been changed.
HOPE ON THE STREETS
Investing in the next Following the summer riots of 2011, an independent report published by the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel concluded that a lack of support and opportunity for young people had contributed to the outbreak of violence. As our Hope on the Streets campaign continues, we find out how a bus and canal boat project in Chester is making a difference
or the past seven years, Evangelist Rob Barker (left) has been leading the Chester Bus Project which provides young people from chaotic home backgrounds with a safe place to enjoy refreshments, explore faith, relax and chat to people about any difficulties that are worrying them. With the support of Colin Harris and a team of volunteers from the local churches, the bus project is able to take place on Wednesday evenings in Ellesmere Port and on Friday evenings in Padgate, Warrington.
generation Rob said: “Many of the young people we work with are facing difficulties at home, so the bus provides them with a safe place where they can chat to adults who care for them and have time for them. The volunteers and I are keen to meet people where they are at and, through our conversations, help them engage with the Christian faith. “I also hope that by involving volunteers from the local churches, they too will be equipped to share their faith through words and action and to reach people outside the church.” The Church Army bus is also used for special events in the area and, most recently, Rob and his team drove the bus as part of Ellesmere Port’s Diamond Jubilee parade where they were able to provide people with refreshments and hot dogs as part of the celebrations.
my questions about faith and are always there to support me. They have also inspired me to think about becoming a youth worker in the future. I now realise that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” Larna, a 17-year-old art student who visits the bus regularly, said: “I used to spend a lot of time hanging around the park as there was nothing else to do, but one day I was walking along and saw the bus. Since then I’ve been coming along regularly and chatting with Rob and chilling out with my friends. The bus is definitely something that we’re lucky to have.”
What the young people say Curtis, 21, said: “Ellesmere Port is a very broken place with a lot of antisocial behaviour and little for young people to do. I have problems with psychosis and don’t come from a Christian background, but the bus has definitely helped me grow in my walk with God. The team have helped answer
HOPE ON THE STREETS
Jason, 22, said: “I have been coming along to the bus for about four-and-a-half years after seeing it in the car park and recognising some of the volunteers from a local church. At that point in my life I had been trying to get to know more about Christianity and I was about to give up on my faith. But the bus project has helped me to understand more about God and what it means to be a community. Ellesmere Port is a place where many young people feel trapped and just want to leave the area. There are also a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol. So the bus project has been the best thing that could have happened to me.” Alongside the bus project, Rob and Colin also spend their time restoring a canal boat with young offenders who are referred to them by the local council. Rob tells us more “Since May 2011 we have been working with young offenders who are sent to us by the Cheshire West and Chester Council as part of their community service. For six to eight weeks they work alongside us on the canal boat learning basic carpentry and DIY skills. “Through the work we aim to raise their aspirations and give them
a positive outlook on their future. Opportunities to chat about faith and some of life’s big questions also naturally arise. It has been brilliant to use my background in shipbuilding to reach out to these young men and a number of them have continued coming along to the boat after their sentence is completed. “Once the canal boat has been fully restored I hope to build on the work we’ve started and use it as a tool for the discipleship of young people and to give them the opportunity to complete a helmsperson qualification. “Being out on the water, surrounded by God’s creation, is a really great environment for evangelism. It shows people that the Christian faith is not just about going to a church building on a Sunday, but that Christ can be found wherever we may go in life and that we need to find our identity in him.”
To watch a film about Hope on the Streets, please visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/hopeonthestreets or scan this QR code with your mobile phone
Retired Evangelist, Peggy Boynes, has walked 76 miles from Reading to Bath to raise money for Church Army. Hannah Gray finds out more
Going the extra mile Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you became involved in Church Army? I was commissioned as a Church Army Evangelist in 1960 and over the years have worked as a children’s missioner, in homes for the elderly and as the Diocesan Evangelist in Coventry and Chelmsford. I’ve also been part of the mobile mission teams that travelled around the country. What’s motivated you to walk and raise support for Church Army? Well, there are several reasons. Firstly, I chose to begin the walk on September 18 as this is the day when Church Army launched its Mission Community at St Paul’s Cathedral and it also marked my 75th birthday. It therefore seemed good to celebrate both occasions by walking home along the Kennet and Avon Canal which is 76 miles from Reading to Bath – a mile for each year of my life plus an extra one for good measure!
I also wanted to raise awareness of Church Army and to share the Good News of Jesus with those I met along the way. When you get as old as me, you don’t mind talking to people! As students, we used to trek for the month of July, visiting and working in parishes. Once I trekked from Llandaff to Looe in Cornwall in a month, sleeping in church halls. It was wonderful, we would share the gospel as we went, and often we would pray with the parish vicars before we left in the morning. So how did the walk go? The walk has been lovely but challenging at the same time – especially the last two miles each day! I met lots of people along the way and was able to chat and pray with them. I was also able to call in at a homeless project in the market town of Devizes. What are you planning to do with the money raised? The money that I’ve raised will be donated to a Church Army project in Derbyshire which supports more than 60 homeless people each week by using a bus as a drop-in. Alan Park, who leads the project, and his 40 volunteers, provide people with food and refreshments, toiletries, clothes and a listening ear. They are doing great work! n
If you would like to sponsor Peggy, please contact Mission Support Officer, Beth Burras, on 0300 123 2113 or visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/donate
Time well spent Across the country hundreds of Church Army volunteers are working alongside our evangelists, making a positive impact in their communities. Giving your time, skills and creativity can make an amazing difference – why not get involved?
Why join us?
What will we do for you?
Become a volunteer and enjoy: • Being involved • Giving something back • Sharing your faith • Meeting new friends • Using your existing talents and learning new skills • Having fun!
• Offer you relevant training • Provide you with a reference for future employment • Draw up a clear working agreement between yourself and the Church Army project that you volunteer with
Who can volunteer with us? Anyone from the age of 18 who is a Christian or who is sympathetic to our purpose. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and we’d love to hear from you.
What do I do next? For more information and to find out about specific volunteering opportunities, please contact our Vocations and Volunteering Team by telephoning 0300 123 2113, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.churcharmy.org.uk/volunteering
, 47, a mum and neonatal nurse from Bradford, volunteers at Church Army’s Sorted Project which reaches out to young people in some of the city’s most deprived areas. She tells us why she decided to get involved. “I first heard about Church Army’s work when its Chief Executive, Mark Russell, spoke at my church’s weekend away. Hearing about Church Army’s vision to help ordinary people reach out to those on the margins really inspired me and prompted me to get in contact about volunteering. “I was put in touch with Evangelist Andy Milne, at the Sorted Project in Bradford as I was keen to work with non-churched young people. Sorted works on some really tough housing estates where there is little for young people to do. I join other members of the team each week to make contact with those who hang around the streets. We try to spend time chatting with them and, when appropriate, share about our faith. “A lot of the young people we meet are really messed up and angry, and having had a difficult childhood myself, it is a joy to let God use my bad experiences to help me relate to others. “Each time we go out on the streets it is a challenge, but God always amazes and helps us grow and trust in Him. It is great to make a difference in people’s lives little by little.”
Meet some volunteers…
56, lives in Newmills, Northern Ireland, where she volunteers with Church Army’s Zacchaeus Outreach Project, which works with marching bands through a café-bus. She tells us more: “For the past year I have been a volunteer on the cafébus, which travels to band parades and events to engage people in the Christian faith. While on the bus, I spend my time serving refreshments and chatting with people so they feel welcome – all done with a big smile! Each time I step onto the bus there is such joy in my heart as I serve the Lord and other people. It has also been wonderful to work alongside Val Thom who leads the project and to make friends with the other volunteers. I first heard about the project at church and thought it was such a brilliant idea. I love going out beyond the church and into the community.”
A week in the life of an
Debbie Orriss works at All Saints Church in High Wycombe where she trains in mission through a range of community outreach projects. She shares a
Spirit of Life Fair
Monday For the past three years I have been living and working in the town of High Wycombe which is a multicultural area representing a variety of faiths. The church where I am based, All Saints, is located in the heart of the town and this provides many opportunities for evangelism. Most days the church is open to visitors, and today I was there to welcome them and offer prayer. It has also been really encouraging to see members of the congregation joining the welcome team and growing in confidence when sharing their faith with others. We held our weekly lunchtime concert today, and itâ€™s been great to see community developing as many of the audience members stay behind for a cuppa and a chat.
Tuesday A significant project that I am involved with is the Wycombe Homeless
Connection. Part of its work is holding social evenings, one of which is hosted every Tuesday in the church hall. These evenings provide food and hospitality for people experiencing homelessness â€“ around 15 people come along each week. Tonight it was great to see some of the guests using the Quiet Space I have set up in an adjoining room, where they can receive prayer, have a chat with one of the volunteers, or just have some quiet time for themselves. The team and I aim to create community with those who attend and a number of them have taken part in Explore Faith sessions. Others have attended Alpha courses.
Wednesday Today has been rather busy as Iâ€™ve been preparing for and leading our monthly informal gathering called BREATHE. It takes place on Wednesday evening in the church quiet garden and is aimed at people who are
evangelist and encourages the congregation snapshot of her ministry exploring different ways of worship. Tonight we spent some time in worship around the theme of ‘The Spirit of Life’ and we then discussed Jesus’ offer of ‘life in all its fullness’. The evening ended with people praying for one another.
Thursday Finding innovative ways to help people explore faith and spirituality is a key part of my job, and recently we held a Spirit of Life Fair at the church which saw more than 100 people come along to encounter God through dance, a Labyrinth, prayer beads, massage and workshops. A huge variety of people from all sorts of backgrounds attended the event and there were many spiritual encounters and conversations. So today, I met with Jo who coordinated the event with me, to review it and to explore what might be an appropriate next step.
Friday Day off!
Saturday Tonight I joined a group of volunteers from the local churches as part of the town’s Street Angels initiative which reaches out to partygoers on Saturday nights. We gathered outside the pubs and clubs at midnight to make sure people were safe and to chat with them. I think just the fact that we are there as Christians caring for people speaks volumes and we’ve received lots of positive comments from the wider community.
Sunday A day of rest! n
To watch a film about Debbie’s work, visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/DebbieOrriss
Scan the QR code with your mobile phone to donate £10 to Church Army or text CHUR24 10 to 70070 All Saints
Nurturing children Reaching the next generation with the gospel is a key part of our outreach. Evangelist, John O’Neill, and Evangelist-in-Training, Karen Webb, tell us about their work with children in the Lisburn district of Northern Ireland
ohn says: “Over the past nine years, Karen and I have been privileged to work in numerous schools, leading assemblies, curriculum-based subjects relating to the Christian faith and a variety of after-school clubs. We also spend time leading Kids Praise events, holiday clubs and offering training to leaders of children’s groups and puppet training events. “Through our puppet ministry, stories and circus skills, families and whole communities are touched by the gospel as it is presented
in an entertaining and challenging style. Many of those we come into contact with have little connection with the church and have a limited understanding of the Bible. “During one of our school assemblies, we talked to the children about how special everyone is to God. Coincidentally, the morning’s assembly ended with awards being presented to the children for ‘special’ things they had done that particular month. “The final award was presented to an eight-year-old boy and his younger sister who
was about five years old. When the head teacher asked the boy what he had done that was so special, the boy said that over the weekend his mum had gone into a diabetic coma. He had to phone for an ambulance while his sister looked after her. “The head teacher then asked the boy why she had gone into a coma. He said it was because his mum had drunk too much vodka and that she always drank too much vodka. This was not the reply we were all expecting to hear. “On our way home, we discussed how no one really knows what any of the children in the assembly hall have to face on a daily
“Whole families are touched by the gospel...”
basis. We reflected on how important it is that Christians in ministry do their best to keep the doors open in schools for the Good News of Jesus to be shared.” In recent years Karen’s role among children has developed further. She says: “I now coordinate the children’s ministry at Lisburn Cathedral which involves a Kidzone club on a Friday evening and Sunday morning. The groups’ aims are to give children the opportunity to learn, worship, use their skills and talents and experience more of God.” Karen has also recruited a great group of teenagers known as the ‘JL Team’ and John has formed a Kidzone worship band to help with Kidzone and Kids Praise Parties. This enables the young people to gain experience in leadership and hands-on ministry. Karen and John say: “It has been a privilege to see young Christians develop new skills and grow in confidence and faith. n
To find out more about John and Karen’s work, visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/ lisburncom
How can I help? Please pray for John and Karen, that God would bless them with fresh ideas when communicating the gospel to children, so that it would be easily understood and presented in an engaging way.
After Dark Gerry Bowye
Training and equipping evangelists to go out into their communities with the gospel has always been at the heart of Church Army’s work. Evangelist, Gerry Bowyer, tells us more about the Street Pastors project, which he coordinates in Aberdeen – Scotland’s Granite City
ach weekend across the country, thousands of Christian volunteers take to the streets after dark to engage with people who are enjoying a night out and to practically demonstrate God’s love to them as part of the Street Pastors initiative which was pioneered in London back in 2003.
Here in Aberdeen, I work as the local Street Pastors Coordinator, overseeing 90 volunteers from churches across the city and, together, we endeavour to respond positively to the night time community each Friday and Saturday evening. This happens in a number of ways, whether it’s helping people get home safely, providing a listening ear for people going through tough times or exploring some of life’s big questions. We also have a Safe Space vehicle, which is a specially converted truck, where people can access warm drinks, first aid and support – particularly those suffering the effects of alcohol. All of this work is done in partnership with Grampian Police and Aberdeen City Council,
and it has been an amazing way to connect with the wider community. Since taking up the role in 2007, I have had so many opportunities to share with people about our work and have spoken at numerous council meetings and to local businesses. Each time we go out on the streets we meet such a wide variety of people – many of them struggling with relationship issues, grief and even mental health problems. For example, a young man called Nathan* came to us for help after his mum became ill and then died. He was about to get into a fight but we were able to intervene and calm him down. He told us that he worked in the oil industry and spent a lot of time offshore as part of his job. He felt terribly guilty that he had been offshore when his mum died. He also told us he’d grown up in a Christian home. We were able to put him in touch with counsellors and, later on, a church. Nathan
has now renewed his Christian faith and recently got married. We praise God for working in his life! Alongside the street outreach, I’ve also been busy training a team of volunteers to become School Pastors in a local secondary school. We want to be available at lunchtimes for the young people to listen, to care and to help. We’re developing a holistic approach to helping young people and, through our School Pastor Life Coaching initiative, helping young people develop positive attitudes towards lifestyle decisions. I’m excited to see how this scheme develops. n
For more information, please visit www.aberdeen.streetpastors.org.uk and www.aberdeenschoolpastors.org.uk
How can I help? Please pray for all the volunteers involved with Street Pastors and School Pastors. May God equip them and bless their conversations. Pray for Gerry as he develops the project and continues to make links with the wider community in Aberdeen. *Name changed
Top tips for evangelism
atchstick testimony: Make notes about your faith journey and ask a group from your church to do the same – your background, how you came to faith, what events or people were involved, how it affected your life and what difference it makes today. Practise your story by chatting to yourself in front of a mirror and see if you can do it without using your notes or Christian jargon. Get your group together and each tell your stories, encouraging each other and finding out more. Then each cut your story to the bare bones, strike a match and tell it all before the match goes out.
athering points: As a church group, make a list of all the places in your neighbourhood where people gather together, such as shops, offices, schools, parks, bus stops or pubs. Go through the list asking how much Christians from the church interact with people at these places. For those with most interaction, how could you bring the Good News of Jesus Christ there? For those with less, how could you get involved? In a time of prayer, lift to God one at a time the places you have mentioned and the people who gather there, and pray about the church’s role with them.
ower of prayer: Develop a list of seekers – those non-churched friends you know who are struggling to find faith. At the same time each day, pray for one minute for one of those names on your list and repeat this each day of the week.
rayer to go: Whenever you talk with neighbours, ask before you go if there is anything they would like prayer for. People rarely reject prayers. You will soon notice how this simple question can transform your relationships with non-Christians. Simply naturally introduce into conversations with friends and family times when God has helped you and how you depend on Him each day. You will be surprised at how effective this is when done sincerely and openly.
We want to help and encourage you in sharing your faith, so we thought we’d compile some simple ideas for you to try
hat’s in a name - a lot!: Each day, you probably come across many people - maybe on the streets, at work, in shops, in schools, or regular faces at the bus queue. Try really hard to learn people’s names. People matter to God, so show that they matter to you. Calling someone by their name suggests that you care, are interested in them and can be trusted. If they express surprise, remind them that Jesus too knows them by name. He has known them by name since before the world was created.
agazine giveaway: Everyone knows the sorts of magazines you find in dentists’ or doctors’ waiting rooms. Short, chatty publications that contain true-life stories, inspirational articles, helpful tips, as well as jokes and puzzles. Church Army works in partnership with a Christian magazine called Inspire. It is glossy, colourful and uplifting, with inspiring interviews and challenging thoughts. It is also ideal for leaving in waiting rooms (provided you get permission) and for giving away to non-Christian friends. To order copies, please visit www.inspiremagazine.org.uk
eing available: Leave chunks of your diary blank – a couple of hours where you don’t plan anything and can just be available to people. Time is a precious commodity in our busy society and will be valued by people. Also, create times where you go into cafés in your city or town and take a Bible or a Christian book to read. Pray for God to open up conversations as a result.
Two years ago the Christian Enquiry Agency (CEA) website was re-launched. Now www.christianity.org.uk has 1,000 visitors each week. We asked Church Army’s Peter Graystone how it’s going Shareit!: What can the Christian Enquiry Agency do that others can’t?
Jesus did and said, and a Christian viewpoint on topics such as worry, money and falling in love.
Peter: What I long for is that people who would never set foot inside a church will discover Jesus Christ, who means so much to me, in their own homes.
Can’t people read that in a book?
How? God has given us a phenomenal tool – the internet. Like the air we breathe it gets everywhere, even behind closed doors. So people can find out about Christianity safely behind their computer screen. Our website www.christianity.org.uk is like an encyclopaedia of everything you might want to know about the Christian faith. There is information about what
We do something a book can’t. If people click ‘Find Out More’ they are immediately in touch with a real person and we respond in an individual way. We can send them a Gospel of Luke. We can pray for them, because 200 men and women have committed to praying once a week for whatever they ask. We can find them a local church, answer a question about faith, or start an email conversation that continues for as long as they choose.
What kinds of questions do people ask? Recently I’ve been asked, ‘What makes you
“Lewis” reached the website because he typed, “God I’m depressed,” into Google. It led him to the page about depression on our website. We started an email conversation and it transpired that he had been trapped in his home by agoraphobia after a bullying incident at school 10 years before.
And are people really coming to faith?
We chatted for weeks about what God could do for someone after an experience like that – about forgiving and being forgiven. Then he asked if I could find him a local church. It was a pleasure to give him the email address of somewhere nearby. I heard nothing for some time. Now to my utter surprise I‘ve had a message saying that he has invited the Pastor for a cup of tea. Just imagine the courage that has taken! Please pray about that meeting and whatever happens next.
Of course. Is there anything else we can do?
think there is life after death?’, ‘Isn’t religion the cause of all the world’s violence?’ and ‘Can I have my children christened if I haven’t been christened myself?’ These questions bother people. It’s brilliant that there is somewhere they can ask them confidentially.
Keep writing www.christianity.org.uk on everything. If you would be prepared to receive a weekly message and pray for people who have asked us to, send an email to enquiries@ christianity.org.uk with ‘Prayer partner’ in the subject line. For more information about how we can help your evangelism, telephone 020 3490 3315 or write to CEA, FREEPOST WC2947, South Croydon, CR2 8LD.
How do people find out about the website? Because thousands of churches add the address www.christianity.org.uk to everything they produce that gets viewed by the public. You see it on the bottom of posters, newsletters, or as a link on websites. One person got in touch with us because a church had printed it on serviettes wrapped round hot cross buns they were giving away. Individuals can help too – just add it to the automatic signature at the bottom of emails that you send. It’s the easiest evangelism you will ever do.
Do you charge churches for using the website address in their outreach? Don’t be daft!
Ian Maher is the Anglican Chaplain and Multifaith Chaplaincy Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University, which is home to 35,000 students from around the world. He tells us more
s e h e t i r a f f g o De
eaving home and starting university is a time of immense change for many students. New friends. New freedoms. New ideas. New opportunities. And each year here at Sheffield Hallam University we welcome thousands of students. One of the main parts of my job as Chaplain is to offer pastoral support to the university’s staff and students who are often dealing with issues of bereavement, homesickness, spirituality, work-related stress, or difficulties with housemates or relationships. A lot of the time I’m there to provide a listening ear and if the student professes a Christian faith or an interest in Christianity I can offer to pray with them and help them think through their difficulties from a faith perspective. University can often be an impersonal place for students due to its size, but at the Chaplaincy we offer people the chance to meet with us on a one-to-one basis. There is also a lot of pressure on students and staff at the moment when it comes to tuition fees and future employment. Consequently there is a growing climate of competitiveness and materialism, which we at the Chaplaincy find ourselves engaging with and responding to. Another aspect of my work sees me leading the Multifaith Chaplaincy team, which is made up of 14 faith advisors from a range of traditions. As a group we are there to work together to support students and staff from religious backgrounds and respond to their needs. We meet twice a term, and try to
support one another where possible, without compromising our own beliefs. We also provide students and staff with access to prayer rooms and enable them to hold events. Through the multifaith team I’ve had many opportunities to discuss the Christian faith and often work through people’s misconceptions about the gospel. Questions about the big issues of life come up on a regular basis and it is a real privilege to be able to offer a Christian response to them.
How can I help? Please pray for Ian that he would continue to find appropriate ways to share the Good News about Jesus Christ. Pray also for the students and staff he meets with.
the last word
Four secrets of a good community Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47
hese words describe what happened in Jerusalem in the year after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They are zinging with excitement – it was obviously a wonderful time to be alive. Here are four things that you notice straight away about the very first Christian community:
• • They were excited by what They were happy together God was doing
• Everyone liked them • Others joined them Every single Christian in the country must think, ‘I would love it if my church was like that’. But those wonderful things didn’t happen automatically. The followers of Jesus in Jerusalem did four things to make them happen, all of which required effort:
• All this happened in the context of enthusiastic worship of God
The churches of the United Kingdom and Ireland won’t achieve the first four features just by longing for them. But I am pretty sure that the secret of achieving them will come from putting effort into the second set of four. So here are four personal questions for you to answer. They will help you know whether your church is like the first Christian community in Jerusalem – a lot, a little or not at all:
• Does absolutely everyone in my church need their own lawn mower, and are there other things we could share?
• Are the world’s poorest
communities better off right now because of my church?
• They worked at being a community
• How many of my church know
• They made a priority of helping
• What would happen to our
which had a shared life poor people
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By Peter Graystone
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Send a card or gift to cheer someone up or encourage them – they’ll love it
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