“Is James* booked in for camp this year?” I vividly remember asking James’ dad this question as he was dropping James off at our church Youth Group.
James’ dad looked sad. “James can’t go,” he said to me, “I’ve been off work for months and we can’t afford it.”
I nodded, understanding their situation, but then I asked, “Do you mind if I ask, is there any other reason that James can’t come?”
His dad looked puzzled, so I continued. “I mean, is money the only problem? If it weren’t for the money, would you want James to go? Does James want to come?”
James’ dad replied at once: “Oh we would love him to go! He is gutted. He really wants to go!”
“Then book him in.” I said. “Fill in the forms and leave the money to me. I’ll see what I can do. Do you think you could afford the deposit?”
I remember that day very well. James and his dad were absolutely thrilled that James could go to camp after all. I organised forms for them to fill in and applied for bursaries on their behalf, covering most of the cost of the holiday.
On camp, at M+M, James took it all in and revelled in the activities and the Bible teaching. James is still coming, year after year, and his family has paid for him to come every year since.
Other families need help every year to get their children along to camp. Every year I arrange bursaries for about a dozen young people, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come to camp. It’s quite a task but it is well worth it when you see those young people enjoying camp and learning about Jesus. I thank God for the generous people who give to the Urban Saints Bursary Fund that make it all possible.
James and his dad didn’t meet those generous people who gave money for ‘a camper’ to come but those people changed James’ (and his family’s) lives for good… even for eternity.
*not his real name.
Liz Cox - Minister for Women and Community, St. Giles' Normanton-by-Derby
As a church we really rate gospel work on camps and it's so frustrating when we discover funds are the obstacle to a young person going. Subsidising a place or getting a grant for someone is such a massive help. And in the last few years we've had many young people come on Urban Saints Camps with extra financial help - a number have been on the fringe of church and a number have come from families where the finances are stretched or over-stretched and a bit of a helping hand makes all the difference. Thank you Lord for every donor - from the widow giving her mite to the millionaire giving more - for their help getting the gospel out.
Neil Barber - Vicar, St. Giles' Normanton-by-Derby
To find out more about accessing the Camps Bursary Fund - or to give a donation towards it - visit the Bursary web page: