Engage Spring 2012

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The latest newsletter from Urban Saints, packed full of stories and inspiration from around the network

Text of Engage Spring 2012


    First the good news! Since Urban Saints Hitchin launched in October 2008, 476 young people aged 11 to 17 have attended at one time or another, with an average of 80 young people attending each week at the moment. The evangelist in me absolutely loves this. The more the merrier! The wider the better! Even if a young person comes once we get a chance to share something of the love of Jesus through our words and actions.

    But now the bad news! Since Urban Saints Hitchin launched in October 2008, 476 young people aged 11 to 17 have attended at one time or another, with an average of 80 young people attending each week at the moment. Loads have stopped coming, disciple-making is extremely difficult, and small group attendance is erratic. The discipler in me really finds this a challenge. Less is more! Deeper is better than wider! We dont just want to entertain; we want to see young people experience God.

    It strikes me that Jesus did spend time reaching out to thousands but he spent more time hanging out with just a few. That seems like a good model to me but Im increasingly aware of just how difficult that still is.

    Maybe thats why Jesus spent so much time in prayer - taking time out to regularly get wisdom from the Father for the next step in the journey? Im so aware that I need more wisdom from the Father, dont you? The stakes are so high. My prayer for each of us this year - as we all live with the various tensions, challenges and disappointments of running a group is that we would take more time to pray and receive Gods wisdom for the next stage in the journey of our group.

    God be our vision and wisdom. Fill us with your power and authority. Give us your boldness and a persevering heart. For the sake of this generation we pray Amen?

    Matt SummerfieldChief Executive



    Are you All Inclusive? - Page 03

    MIMIC changed my life - Page 04

    I wasnt a believer until Shine! - Page 07




    There was a bumper crop of Urban Saints family members included in the 2012 New Years Honours list by Her Majesty The Queen. This included MBEs for John Coatman (for his work with young people in Croydon, including the Wallington Urban Saints group), Dr Avice Hall & Stephen Hammersley (for their work in education, the community and their own local groups, in St Albans and Harpenden respectively). Former Crusaders Director, Dr Alan Kerbey, received an OBE for his work with young people in education and another former staff team member, Colin Henry, was recognised for with a MBE, for services to education in his role as Chair of Governors at Christs College in Guildford.

    Meanwhile, we continue to honour the unsung heroes in the Urban Saints movement with our very own Urban Saints honours, as Mark Instone our North West Regional Director explains:

    Andrew Craven - A look of confusion fell across Andrew Cravens face as around 15 adults from the community invaded his Friday night group meeting in the church hall at Hest Bank, near Lancaster. The young people gathered and Esther OSullivan (from the Urban Saints Support Centre) made the presentation to a now surprised Andrew. Following a short acceptance speech and photograph the evening fun continued on plan with the party food served !!

    Andrew Grahame (AG) - Its not easy to surprise AG, but thanks to a good deal of comprehensive planning from Daphne Hall we managed it. AG has served on over 50 holidays and continues to serve locally in and around Warrington. It was very clear from the gathered friends that AGs ongoing input is really appreciated and a real blessing. Once he had overcome his shock AG relaxed and enjoyed a great time with friends.


    Its a commonly asked question. However, it is not one that is easily answered. In the past, it was hard enough to describe a typical Crusader group but even more so now. I guess if you had to press me, Id say that we serve individuals and groups of Christians who love Christ and love children and young people. People who share our values of riotous fun, adventurous faith, genuine friendship and life in all its fullness

    But what those groups do and what they look like as you will glimpse from some of the stories in this edition of Engage is as varied as the young lives we help them serve. Some are traditional Sunday Schools while others operate in school lunch clubs, drop-ins and out in the community. Some are small close-knit groups while others use Energize across their entire youth and childrens programmes. Whatever they look like, we serve them in their vision to make a difference in their communities.

    And you serve them too. Whether you give your time to help run one of these vital ministries or give financially or commit to pray, you all play your part and we are eternally grateful for your support!

    Paul WindoENGAGE Editor

    Our Dream: To release a movement of radical young people, committed to taking the good news of Jesus Christ to every generation.

    Our Passion: To help young people live lives of faith, hope and love through Jesus Christ.

    URBAN SAINTS Support CentreKestin House45 Crescent RoadLutonBedsLU2 0AH

    Tel: 01582 589850Fax: 01582 721702Email: email@urbansaints.org

    For the latest news and resources visit: www.URBANSAINTS.org

    To connect with old friends go to: www.crusadersreunited.org.uk

    Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/urbansaints

    Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/urbansaints

    URBAN SAINTS is the operating name of The Crusaders Union, a company limited by guarantee and registered in England & Wales, company number 07771037, charity number 1144923. Registration with OSCR is pending.

    Read the extended versions of these stories online at the Engage website. Scan this barcode with your smartphone to jump straight to it


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    Our vision for Capernaum Club, started just over two years ago, is to enable the church to reach the disabled community and share the gospel with them and their families. We help local churches set up weekly clubs filled with food, fun, and friendship, and we help recruit more typical teens from the local schools to act as buddies to their disabled peers.

    We start with pizza and squash and a chance to chat. Then we throw in some exuberant fun, tailored to our members, including games, activities and dancing before ending with a short Bible-based talk. Once a month we go out for an activity such as bowling or a meal together. Last summer we took a crowd of 35 to camp at Lee Abbey and we regularly have 40+ each week.

    Some members attend with their carers and family and together, we explore moral and spiritual issues while hanging out, finding friendship and developing leadership skills. Some buddies use this volunteering experience as part of their Duke of Edinburgh or school service award, and several of our older buddies have gone on into the care industry most have never been to church in their lives.

    Andrew JackmanCapernaum Club, Trowbridge


    ALL INCLUSIVE? WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDSMost childrens and youth workers want to include kids of all abilities and needs in what they do, but many struggle to make this a reality.

    In this 90-minute session we will:

    Explore some of the statistics and explode some of the myths surrounding working with kids with special needs. Look at some of the key strategies that you can use to make what you offer more inclusive. Identify some of the amazing benefits that inclusion can bring to your whole group. Well also highlight some further resources that you can use as you work though this with your teams.

    Presented by Mark Arnold, Chief Operating Officer at Urban Saints, who has over 20 years of youth work experience and is the father of a boy with Autism (James, pictured right).

    All Inclusive? is looking for host churches Thursday evenings during term-times so if you would like this course to come to your church in 2012, please contact Mark on 01582 589850 or marnold@urbansaints.org

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    MIMIC launched during 2011 and were starting to see groups connecting with this key tool for encouraging mentoring relationships with their children and young people. To get an insight into why this resource can make a difference in your group, we asked three youth workers and MIMIC contributors (as well as a couple of young people too!!) why they are excited about being involved with MIMIC

    We have been involved with MIMIC right from the early stages. Our 7-10s and 11-14s were both pilot groups. I am really excited about it because having mentored some of my group it has been such a privilege to see them develop, grow and understand what it means to live lives based on Jesus. One story which still touches my heart was where one lad (aged 10) shared the story of how he had completed the challenge of what it meant to show compassion; His mum had a really difficult day at work and so he decided to sit with her and comfort her. He then also went on to share how he had stood up for his faith during a conversation at school (not an easy thing to do), after being challenged about trying to put into practice the trademark of commitment...