“We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4b)
I am looking for your help. I wonder if you could commit to make a donation today to help enable more Groups to be established to meet the need for isolated young people.
“[The leaders] really reached out to us. They didn’t make us feel cut off or anything. We really just felt included in the Urban Saints family. It could have been so easy for Camps and our Group to say, ‘Alright, we’re not doing anything’ but they put (so) much effort in - they showed how much they care about us...even though we were missing out on everything else, Urban Saints was still there.” Maddie, 2020
Our history is 115 years of sharing the good news of the gospel. “We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4b). For Urban Saints, telling the next generation has been about sitting in a room or gathering in a marquee – in person, alongside young people - for them to see, hear and experience the life-changing message of Jesus. The last year of the pandemic has interrupted our usual rhythms of meeting face to face with young people in the same way.
In January 2021, Young Minds (a mental health charity for young people) carried out a survey of young people about the impact of the pandemic. Of those they spoke with, 67% believed that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health. ‘Loneliness or isolation’ was the leading answer given when young people were asked what the biggest negative impact on their mental health was. One young person said, “I feel like I’m connecting with people less. I don’t really talk to people often at the moment and with all the uncertainty about my GCSEs it all just feels lonely and confusing.” It has been increasingly difficulty for young people to access mental health services because of long waiting lists and limited capacity.If there was ever a need for Groups for young people to have a place where they felt they belonged and were cared for, then surely it is now?
We know that some young people thrived during the lockdowns, and the return to more usual rhythms of life now are incredibly difficult for them. Conversely, other young people found the lockdowns provided the most challenging circumstances they have faced, and they are now trying to process what has taken place over the last year. Either way, at Urban Saints we believe that the love of God and the care of excellent Leaders have the ability to transform the lives of young people everywhere. Your support is vital as we continue to provide young people with safe spaces to process what has happened, and to share with them the hope that Jesus brings, now and for their future.
“It made a difference in lockdown because it gave you something to do and have lots of fun. I’m glad that our Leaders tried to keep the Group going even though we couldn’t meet face to face. It made the Group feel like (the Leaders) really cared.” Olivia, 2020
When everything else has been so far from ‘normal’ for young people, it is the fantastic Urban Saints Leaders who have worked so hard to remain present. They have been the living example of ‘the long walk in the same direction’ that supports, guides and does life alongside young people. That may have been on Zoom, through doorstep conversations, with a phone call or via resources posted through a letterbox. We long to be back in a place where Urban Saints Leaders can all meet with young people in person again. We also know there are some really positive things for us to learn from engaging digitally with young people and from providing additional support to Leaders during this time.
Can you stand with us financially as we further explore what it means to continue to open new avenues for Leaders to connect with young people? As we move into a time where, for some Groups, in-person gatherings are possible, we will continue to support those young people who may be unable to gather in-person. We will continue to work hard to increase the number of Urban Saints Groups, whilst embracing digital youth ministry and our learnings from ministry in the pandemic. We also want to provide greater opportunities for young people not yet connected to Urban Saints Groups to be encouraged by stories and experiences of faith, of hope and of love, with Leaders who care. Your gift could directly make these experiences possible.
It is likely that you can look back on your own childhood and teenage years and remember those who so significantly journeyed with you, who supported you and cared for you through all you faced. Can you help ensure that this experience is offered to every young person?
When you give, we can provide Leaders with further support as they journey alongside young people, offering practical help and training. We can explore more opportunities for setting up new Groups, in areas where young people do not yet have access to a Group or to Leaders who commit to walking with them. We can provide opportunities for more young people to hear, understand and experience the impact that Jesus can have in their lives. As we continue to understand what youth ministry looks like in a post-COVID world, every gift of £15, £25, any amount that’s right for you - allows Urban Saints to give new opportunities for young people to be adventurous, to have supportive Leaders journeying with them, to reconnect young people after a year of isolation for so many and to see them discover the hope that faith in God brings.
- A one-off gift of £15 could provide a Group with a lockable box, ensuring documentation is kept safely, in line with GDPR requirements.
- A one-off gift of £25 could cover the cost of running a vision evening with potential leaders for a new Group.
- £16 per month for a year could allow two leaders in a Group to participate in First Responder level first aid training. (Note, all leaders are given access to a required first aid training course; engaging two leaders in this further course demonstrates best practice.)
Please consider whether you can stand alongside us with a financial gift as we journey with young people through the impact for the last year, and provide a focus of hope for their future.
Claire Murphy, Interim CEO
P.S. Thank you for reading this. Please consider today whether you are able to give a donation to help a lonely young person find a sense of belonging, friendship, meaning and purpose through an Urban Saints Group.