After the disruption of 2020, trying to prepare for 2021 was going to provide a challenge, with uncertainty about how Covid-19 would continue to impact. Yet we would not allow a pandemic to stop Urban Saints from our mission – reaching out to young people with the good news of the gospel. Here’s what we are focusing on during this year:
Group Leaders have done an amazing job of finding a variety of ways to keep connected with children and young people in their Groups, whether that is on Zoom, through doorstep conversations, sending encouragements or through phone calls. We want to cheer on, and encourage, Group Leaders in all they are doing to keep connected. For those who haven’t been able to keep their Groups going, we want to provide support as regulations around meeting up continue to relax.
We are looking at ways to provide further training support to Group teams, so that Leaders are fully equipped with all they need to run their Groups, whether that is learning about the spiritual, relational, emotional, mental or physical foundations to provide for young people. We are working through what it looks like to build further regional connections, between Leaders, between Groups and Camps, and between young people.
Finally, we are preparing for being able to see new Urban Saints Groups start across the UK in the coming months.
Missional ventures encompass the Urban Saints Camps, Additional Needs ministry, Westbrook and Overseas Adventures.
Evangelism and disciple-making is always at the heart of each Camp. Lou Bailey continues to work closely with Camps Leaders to consider ways in which it may be possible for teams to connect with young people this summer.
Mark Arnold has done an excellent job of taking all the Additional Needs training online and has continued to engage with a wide variety of networks. Mark will continue to champion the inclusion of all young people in the work of Urban Saints and beyond. Over the coming weeks and months, Mark will navigate delivering both in person training and online training.
After over 12 months of having to remain closed, the Westbrook team are excited to begin welcoming young people back to the site, for day trips to begin with, moving on to residential stays when permitted. The house and grounds being filled with laughter and excitement has been truly missed.
Overseas Adventures are paused for 2021 and 2022 and will be reviewed later in 2021.
Energize has provided churches and groups with free access Zoom-friendly resources across the last year, as well as developing other resources useable at home. The Energize team have also been working through an update plan – as materials started being written 17 years ago, you can imagine the many changes that are now needed! Across 2021 we are looking to increase the number of users on Energize, providing more churches and youth groups with the resources to take their children and young people on a journey to learn and know more about God and all He has for them.
Beyond each individual ministry area, is the great team of volunteer Leaders who are the life of the work of Urban Saints. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about Groups, Camps, Additional Needs, Westbrook or Energize – for all these to achieve our mission of seeing young people come to faith, we need Leaders who commit their time, energy and passion to journeying with young people.
We are taking some time to celebrate and recognise the hard work of the Urban Saints Leaders. We want to increase the sense of belonging that Leaders have with Urban Saints, with each other and across the different ministry areas. This includes growing networks of prayer, led and inspired by Leaders and young people, whether locally, regionally or across the UK.
Finally, we are also working on some more behind-the- scenes aspects, focusing on support processes and organisational leadership and development. You will already know that Ant Horton, the new Chief Mission Officer, will be joining us in mid-June. We are excited to welcome Ant and to work with him in all God has for Urban Saints. The Support Centre team continues to provide a foundation of support for the work of Urban Saints, including the Volunteer Support Team who are ensuring there is a clarity to Leader processes and administration, the Finance team, the Communications team and the Fundraising Team, who are reaching out to many who share our passion and vision for seeing young people become disciples for Jesus.
We are excited. Excited about getting back to in-person ministry with young people. Excited about taking learnings from the pandemic into future ministry opportunities. We are grateful. Grateful that God is ever present with us and still able to work, despite pandemic restrictions. Grateful for your ongoing support, whether through prayers, finance or action. And we are forever hopeful. Confident that God is able to transform the lives of young people, giving them a hope and a future.
Claire Murphy - Interim CEO
Could you help us raise up disciple-making disciples with bold and adventurous faith?
Every donation made to Urban Saints makes a significant difference for children and young people. We are looking for many more people to support Urban Saints in this way so we can reach thousands more with the love of Jesus.
We believe we can reach a generation of young people, thanks to your prayers and the prayers of people like you. If you need further inspiration for your prayers, we can connect you with further updates and more stories of lives changed. We can even connect you with others near you who are looking to pray for the local mission of Urban Saints.
Are you ready to give your time to be part of our movement of volunteers, transforming young lives for Jesus. We believe you can and we are committed to invest deeply in our volunteers, to make sure they have all they need to make a lasting difference in current and future generations of young people.