Connecting the Spring Harvest community
Called by God to reach children
Getting to grips with The Source
Is youth work worth it?
SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
...to the second edition of Spring Harvest News.
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All the team here at Head Office absolutely loved the event this year. It was so great to see how the Church Actually theme resonated with so many people. Our dream was that everyone who attended would get a bigger vision of God, the church and their place in it - to see that happen was just brilliant.
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Since the event we’ve loved hearing your stories about how you encountered God at Spring Harvest. We’ve heard so many wonderful stories some of which you’ll be able to read in this edition of Spring Harvest News.
youthwork the conference is a Spring Harvest event. memralife Group is a registered charity. 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield Tn22 1QG
Live Worship from the Spring Harvest Big Top The biggest anthems from this year’s Spring Harvest, filled with awe-inspiring music that reflects the true heart of worship.
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I’ve loved seeing the motto Inspire a Generation become such a vital part of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Our hope is that every child and young person who attends Spring Harvest will be inspired to embrace life as a disciple of Jesus. In this edition you’ll read how God has used Spring Harvest to do exactly that.
So make yourself a drink and take ten minutes to read about… Rachel Jordan who attended Spring Harvest as a young person and was inspired to be a leader - you’ll read about the journey God has taken her on and the strategic role she now has in the Church of England. You’ll hear from Kay and Steve Morgan-Gurr who have faithfully led our children’s work for many years and from James Brown who did a Gap year at Nexus after being challenged at Spring Harvest.
Editor: Wendy Beech-Ward
I hope these stories inspire you - as they have me and the team - to do what we can to inspire others to live for Jesus.
Spring Harvest, 14 Horsted Square Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 1QG
Journalists: Adrian & Catherine Butcher Production: Rebecca Bowater Design: Mark Steel
Grace Follow us on twitter @springharvest
www.essentialchristian.com/springharvest Wendy Beech-Ward Director of Spring Harvest twitter.com/wendybeechward
vicky beecHing | mark beSwick | peTe jameS | geraldine laTTy + 2 bonus tracks from cathy burton
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Spring Harvest, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield TN22 1QG. Tel: 01825 769000 Memralife Group is a registered charity.
Church Actually was Spring Harvest’s theme for 2012. Next year, the focus shifts – to consider the one without whom there would be no church: Jesus himself. The Source – Encountering Jesus Today is title of Spring Harvest 2013. The Bible readings will unpack the message of the book of 1 John. Pete Broadbent gave Spring Harvest News a sneak preview of what’s coming next year … PB: I was talking to a member of one of our churches the other day – she said ‘I’m not sure I know how to tell people about Jesus in a way that makes sense’. The old ways of explaining how to become a Christian don’t work anymore. People don’t get sin’and repentance; they don’t feel cut off from God; they don’t understand the idea of a Saviour. So the good news of Jesus – which is as true as it ever was – needs retelling in ways that connect with 21st century post-modernity. SHN: So what is the thinking behind the choice of theme for 2013? PB: We want to get people back to the centre of the faith – Jesus as the source. Each year, we try to discern a theme for Spring Harvest which we believe ties in with what God is saying to the Church in the UK. The theme is the umbrella for everything else we do in Spring Harvest and throughout the year. There’s an awful lot of stuff in the media about how the Church is bad news. We want to be enthused by the idea that Jesus is good news – and to explore the being, saying and doing of that good news. SHN: 1 John is perhaps not the most obvious book on which to base the theme - what particularly attracted you to it?
PB: 1 John is a book that explores Jesus as good news – ‘what we have heard, seen, looked at, touched – the Word of life, we proclaim to you’. SHN: How do you hope Spring Harvest will unpack the message of 1 John? PB: We’ll be asking questions like – what is the good news, how can we be good news, what would we say about the good news, and how do we do good news – and that’s all in 1 John. It’s always good to live in a book of the Bible and let it speak to us. SHN: How do you link the theme of 2012 with next year’s theme? PB: In 2012, we helped people re-own Church and believe that we’re God’s brilliant idea. Now we want to get to grips with the main thing Church is for – centering on Jesus Christ and pointing people to him. SHN: What would you say to encourage people to come to Spring Harvest next year? PB: Where else would you get your mind and faith stretched, your kids given great fun and spiritual teaching, your chance to worship, to give and receive, and focus on the main thing – the Source. Unmissable.
Developing faith: parish impact Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, is responsible for more than 150 clergy, working in 87 parishes which include 20 CofE schools and 14 hospitals. He is also part of the Spring Harvest Core Planning Group, which includes: Wendy Beech-Ward, Director of Spring Harvest; Patrick Regan, founder and director of the charity XLP; Paul Weston, church leader at New Generation Church, Sidcup; Gerard Kelly, co-founder of The Bless Network; worship leader, songwriter and speaker, Vicky Beeching; Ian Macdowell, Director of Services at Spring Harvest; writer, speaker, Ruth Valerio, who runs A Rocha’s Living Lightly project; and Graeme Bunn, Head of Programming and Logistics at Spring Harvest.
The group began discussions about the 2013 theme in the summer of 2011 and have worked together to develop and write the Theme Guide. Their finished work will be printed as a book, available for all the SH speakers to prepare for SH2013 event and for SH guests to buy and take home from the event. Many churches use the Theme Guide through the year in home groups or youth groups.
SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
shed. Since then she has worked with homeless young people in Peckham; drug addicts in Amsterdam; on a Youth for Christ mission team with a double decker bus; with CPAS helping churches with evangelism; with homeless women in a London hostel and with the Fresh Expressions team. She takes her inspiration from women who planted churches between 1900 and 1959. That was her PhD topic, researched in old people’s homes where she met elderly ladies who told their amazing pioneering stories. In particular, Gladys Gorton, an Elim Pentecostal preacher pastor who was healed when she was 14 and went to Bible college in Clapham. She was released into ministry at 16, got on her bicycle and started preaching and planting churches. Rachel met her when she was in her mid 90s. Gladys had been preaching all her life and couldn’t understand why more women hadn’t followed after her.
Why do my family and I keep coming back to Spring Harvest? My family has been coming to Spring Harvest for over 14 years, and we look forward to it every year. My twin sister who has Downs Syndrome starts counting the days after Christmas! There are so many things I love about Spring Harvest. The thing that I really look forward to every year is the amazing worship. The worship at the Big Start (a great way to wake up) and in the various other venues around the site. At Spring Harvest the worship is full of life and energy, but at the same time deeply personal and intimate, you can be jumping and dancing with hundreds of other people, and your still connecting with God. Every time I come back from Spring Harvest, quite teary that it has finished for another year, I feel so refreshed, recharged and so full of the Holy Spirit. Spring Harvest is a massive highlight of my year! Michaela aged 14
Catherine Butcher talks to Rachel Jordan about inspiration and call to mission
As a teenager Rachel Jordan was one of the crowd at Spring Harvest listening to Sharon Anson preaching at the event. Having grown up in a Brethren context, listening to a woman preacher was unusual enough, but this event was life-changing for Rachel. Quite apart from the fact that Sharon was wearing pink leather jeans, pink stilettos and was reading from a pink Bible – Rachel says, ‘I hadn’t seen a woman preaching in public before. I was already leading things but felt I shouldn’t be. Seeing Sharon made me think “If God can use her, he can use me!” It was a profound moment.’
days find Rachel writing reports for Synod; on others she is visiting dioceses or working on projects – like the collaboration with HOPE and Biblica to provide 700,000 souvenir New Testaments for churches to give away during the Diamond Jubilee.
Decades later and Dr Rachel Jordan is now the Church of England’s National Advisor for Evangelism and Mission – and a Spring Harvest main speaker. The CofE role sometimes seems like ‘an impossible task’. Some
Chicken shed church
‘I want to help equip the CofE for its missionary task in the 21st century,’ she says. ‘…helping more people to believe that we could be a growing, healthy, flexible Church, capable of mission.’
Her first ‘congregation’ was a group of girls who joined Rachel’s ‘faith club’ and met in her granddad’s chicken
SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
Find out more about children’s programmes at Spring Harvest. springharvest.org/children
A passion to see children become excited and eager followers of Jesus is what drives Steve and Kay Morgan-Gurr –- children’s evangelists and the couple behind the Whizz Kids’ work with youngsters at Spring Harvest for the past 13 years. ‘We want to enthuse five to seven-year-olds,’ says Steve. ‘They are a vital part of the church. We want churches to understand that – to be convinced that children are as much a part of the Church as anybody else.’ Kay and Steve see their role as a privilege but it can be quite a challenge. Over the years they have worked hard to win over what can be a tough audience.
Children are as much a part of the Church as anybody else ‘The thing I love about Whizz Kids at Spring Harvest,’ says Steve, ‘is when you see the children arriving at the start and they are a bit reluctant to get involved. But then, by the third day, they are queuing up outside before we begin, hammering on the the door to get in. And then they don’t want to leave at the end. And that is how I want church to be for them.
Spring Harvest 2012 saw a change for the Morgan-Gurrs. Kay focussed on her leadership team role as disability and special needs consultant in Weeks One and Two at Minehead with Steve supporting her. In Week Three Steve was deputy co-ordinator for Whizz Kids, alongside Paul Willmott, with Sarah Covington at the helm. He loved it. ‘The children really grasped the teaching about church and being church,’ he says. ‘On the fourth day I did a family matinee with Paul and Kay. We explored “making good choices”. I think a good time was had by all.’ Both were very positive about being part of the team. ‘There was a great atmosphere on the site that we have summed up as gentleness and togetherness,’ says Kay. ‘There was a real sense of family.’
‘We make sure things are fast-moving so that they are never bored. There are songs, stories, arts and crafts, games and activities, puppets and creative prayer times.’ Songs have been at the heart of Steve’s ministry for a long time: he honed his song-writing skills under the guidance of Ishmael after getting involved with Children Worldwide (CW), an umbrella organisation bringing together a network of independent children’s workers. He and Kay are now General Directors of CW.
In Week Three, Kay had to take an OFSTED inspector around all of the under-11s work on site for what was a routine but unannounced spot check.
Spring Harvest has played a significant role in Kay’s ministry. It was at Spring Harvest in 1991 that she felt called by God to get involved in evangelism with children. ‘I heard John Berry from the Evangelical Alliance talking about the need for children’s evangelists – especially ones with special needs experience. I was working as a special needs nurse with children at the time so it really touched my heart.’ Kay was trained by Scripture Union and became linked to the ministry of Children Worldwide soon afterwards. Kay and Steve are based in Leicester where they are members of Knighton Evangelical Free Church. But their role in CW takes them further afield. CW runs a degreelevel course in Birmingham – Future Builders. They also mentor about 60 children’s workers around the country, providing them with advice, support and making sure they have a good system of accountability. Often it just means being there on the end of the telephone. And then there are school assemblies, holiday clubs, camps, church weekends… ‘What we do is like trying to describe an elephant,’ says Kay. ‘There are so many facets to it – you just have to see them. But it is a great privilege.’
‘She was very pleased with what she saw – and I was more than happy to have the pleasure of showing off the amazing work the three inspected age groups do,’ says Kay. Steve & Kay Morgan-Gurr with Albert
SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
Stay inspired – and look for opportunities to bring hope to people where none seems to exist. That’s charity leader Patrick Regan’s rallying cry. Patrick, who received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June, founded XLP, a charity at the cutting edge of urban youth work in the UK. His passion is to see young people from the most deprived and challenging backgrounds succeed in life and fulfil their potential. XLP works in seven inner-London boroughs, serving 60 schools and numerous communities, reaching 12,000 youngsters in some of the toughest parts of the capital. XLP has also worked in Bangladesh, China and several other countries. Patrick’s new book No Ceiling to Hope documents inspiring stories from Peckham to LA, from Jamaica to Bolivia on the triumph of hope in the darkest of situations. He likens it to the grass which manages to spring up between the cracks of lifeless concrete. Spring Harvest guests heard some of these stories when Patrick spoke in the Big Top at Minehead and led the iScape Bible Teaching and one of the morning Zone sessions.
Spring Harvest 2012 struck a chord with Patrick: ‘The whole theme – of being missional – is really close to my heart,’ he says. ‘It’s about lifestyle – not about churches doing a mission. My prayer now is that people will be inspired to see the possibilities of change.’ Patrick hopes the ‘high’ that people take away from Spring Harvest will stay with them. ‘The buzz is fine but if we live life based on how we feel, there will be lots of ups and downs. I want everyone to have a great experience at Spring Harvest -- it is a great event. But I want it to go deeper, so that people go home inspired to connect with others: the poor; the marginalised; the lonely. The greatest buzz of all is when you are doing exactly what God has called you to do.’ He feels bringing hope is the essence of being a Christian: ‘Hope is an amazing part of our heritage and our inheritance. It can set us apart and make us stand out in a society that is increasingly cynical and worn Patrick Regan
down by the pain it sees in the world today.’ And, as an ambassador with Compassion, Patrick welcomes its link with Spring Harvest and the aim of supporting the charity’s work in Haiti and sponsoring children there. ‘Sponsorship is a great thing. It can change a life,’ he says. But he points out there are many opportunities to bring hope much closer to home.
‘I tell the story of a village pastor who went to the local Citizens Advice Bureau and got a profile of the sorts of problems faced by people who lived within two minutes walk of his church,’ he says. ‘The people who went to that church just had no idea of kinds of issues facing those who lived around them. ‘In every school, there will be maybe 20 kids on the point of exclusion – for a variety of reasons. It could be family breakup; cancer; maybe another illness. We need to be building relationships with kids like these – right there in our own communities.’ Patrick was inspired to set up XLP in 1996, when, as a youth worker, he was invited into a school where there had been a stabbing. The more he learned about the daily struggles facing the most disadvantaged youngsters, the more his heart broke for them. ‘I could see all the potential that God had given them to be amazing people and live incredible lives, and at the same time I could see them struggling against so many issues. ‘But I refuse to believe this is a lost generation,’ he says. ‘I am convinced if we tackle the drivers of why these things happen, we can bring about change.’
Buy Patrick’s book & DVD small group resource No Ceiling To Hope at www.essentialchristian.com SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
Inspired by a different beat!
An inspiring seminar on worship sent 17-year-old drummer James Brown in a new musical direction.
James, from St Albans, was at Skegness in 2011. He was about to take his AS-levels but was already toying with the idea of taking a year out before university although he had no definite plans. James and a friend went to hear Bishop Pete Broadbent and Vicky Beeching deliver a talk on worship. While there, James got chatting to Tim Luft, who drums with Geraldine Latty’s band. What Tim had to say challenged James to re-consider his plans.
It’s a simple thing to ask ‘Where is God leading you?’ but what happens when that translates into caring for orphans in Mongolia or learning a crazy Tibetan dialect for Jesus? Twenty-two years ago I was in the youth meeting at Spring Harvest and Jesus called me into missions. I’ve now lived cross-culturally building God’s kingdom for 15 years and I run Asia Connect, an organisation exhibiting in the Skyline this year. Thank you for creating the space for my life to be influenced this way.
‘Tim really got me thinking. I’d already thought about a gap year – suddenly Nexus seemed the right thing to do. I applied and got an interview.
Time to reconnect I moved jobs in November last year, moving from Lancaster to near Leeds. The area is completely new to me and I know no-one so embarked on trying to find a church, I was beginning to get disheartened before Spring Harvest. I find it very tiring and daunting looking on my own and, with no Christian friends in the area, I was just having a bit of a low patch.
‘It was really nerve-racking. I had to play to a backing track, and then play unaccompanied. But I did it. And they offered me a place.’ James was delighted to be accepted.
‘The talk was about future scenarios,’ remembers James. ‘Tim explained about getting into a worship band, his
What Tim had to say challenged James to re-consider his plans training at Nexus (the Christian music training school) and how he’d always wanted to play at an event like Spring Harvest. When the talk finished, I went to speak to Tim to get more information.’ James attends St Paul’s Church in St Albans. He’s been drumming in the morning service there since he was 13 and in the evening service – where the worship is more guitar-led – for the past two years.
‘I was really happy to get in. It was something to really look forward to doing in the gap year - something I am going to really enjoy. And it’s not just music and drumming - we learn about theology too, so there’s a lot more to it.’
Then I went to Spring Harvest and have come away massively encouraged and motivated, not only to find a church, but also take on some other challenges, so that I can start to grow in my faith again, sharing it with others and get back into that community of a church etc.
James still intends to go to university after Nexus – he’s hoping to study Real Estate Management and has his eyes on a career as a Chartered Surveyor. Meanwhile, he is very grateful for the support St Paul’s have given him with his application and for the vital role that Spring Harvest played. ‘What I like about Spring Harvest is the way you get top people like Vicky Beeching, Ben Cantelon and Geraldine Latty there. But also the way you can be really be inspired by them.’
Teenage enthusiasm I can’t pick out any one thing to tell you to encourage you. It was all so exciting and (hate to use the ‘a’ word) amazing. You filled the four teenagers we took with so much enthusiasm. Tom, 17, asked if he could take the youth Sunday class instead of my hubby. I wake up singing some of the songs from the worship and can’t get them out of my head all day. We can’t wait till next year. God Bless you all. Beryl & Steve Walker
SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
Compassion, in partnership with a local church in Haiti want to run a Child Survival Programme which will provide education, healthcare, nutrition, literacy and skills training to pregnant mothers and their babies. With the overwhelming response to the offering at Spring Harvest this year, we are helping make this vision a reality by constructing not just one, but two buildings in which to house the project and in turn save lives. Thank you to everyone who gave so generously.
Steph Adam has volunteered with Spring Harvest for the past few years co-ordinating our After Hours artists at the event. She now works full time for Spring Harvest overseeing the youth and children’s programmes and tells us why she thinks it’s all so worthwhile. When we talk about young people and the church, there are a few Bible passages which spring immediately to mind. In Matthew when Jesus tells his disciples to let the children come to Him so He can bless them, Paul’s letter to Timothy, God calling to Samuel, Daniel being taken to Babylon. And these are all really good biblical examples of God’s attitude to young people and why we should be investing in them. Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it all too easy to rattle these verses off as platitudes and forget the heart behind them, forget God’s heart! But we worship an amazingly gracious God who knows us and who knows that we can loose sight of the bigger picture, and sometimes, just sometimes, will give us a timely reminder! It’s April, I’ve spent the last week running around after visiting artists at Spring Harvest, I’ve not had enough sleep and my legs hurt (from all the running, obviously). Some of my friends have come to the same week but I’ve hardly seen them, and I’m generally feeling pretty grumpy and tired, and starting to wonder why I
bother. Then I walk into the Distinctive venue at Skegness to speak to one of the youth leaders and as I walk through the door, I get hit in the face by the most amazing heartfelt worship I’ve heard all year. ‘Who is this leading worship?’ I think, assuming it must be someone quite well known, and I see it is one of the youth team, and these amazing worshippers are the rest of the youth team. The young people aren’t in the venue yet, this is the team meeting before the main Distinctive meeting. And suddenly I remember why we make the effort, why we inconvenience ourselves and why it is all worth it. Because that whole team understood that they were there for God, and they were full of worship for Him. And their obvious love and commitment both to Him and for what they do really brought home to me why we do the youth programme at Spring Harvest. Because how else will young people find out about God, or make any real commitment to Him or do anything about what they believe if we don’t tell or show them what we believe and how that leads us to act?
One of the things I love about God the most is that He knows and loves every single individual for who they are and He knows what potential we have. And one of things I hate (yes, hate, you heard me) is the way the world, particularly our western culture, leaves people feeling they’re not good enough, that they don’t matter, that they can never be satisfied, they always need more, better, faster. But what God tells the world is that we are made in His image and we are beautifully and fearfully made, and we are worth dying for. That He values us, and wants to get to know us, and walk in relationship with us. That He knows we’ve messed up, but if we’re man enough to own up and repent, He will wash us whiter than snow. That He is more than enough for us, and He teaches us to yearn not for worldly wealth and earthly desires, but for justice and mercy and for His Kingdom to come. And He empowers us to do things we never thought possible, and which on our own would not be possible, but with Him, are suddenly achievable, realistic goals. This message is something every young person on the face of the planet needs to know. And we can help some of them understand that. And this knowledge changes lives and starts people off on the most amazing journey they will ever make, all in the company of our awesome, amazing, loving Father God. So is youth work worth it? For me the answer is always an unequivocal Yes!
SPRING HARVEST NEWS AUTUMN 2012
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Published on Oct 22, 2012