Last month, Andy Hughes (our Senior Impact Team Leader for the Celtic Nations) celebrated 25 years since he began work with Crusaders (as we then were) in Wales. He shared an update of what's been happening this year...
None of us could have dreamed of the roller coaster of adventures that has followed since I began to serve in this nation. There is much to praise God for. Also, of course, none of us had any inkling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect it would have. So many of our ‘normal’ activities were instantly curtailed and are, only now, beginning to reignite - sometimes looking very different.
This summer has been one of some small, single Group camps (in accordance with Welsh Government regulations) and quite a bit of training to help our fantastic Group volunteers restart their Groups - both here in Wales and also in South London! In addition, we have a new Group in Leeswood (nr Mold, Flintshire) who have joined the US Wales family. It has been a joy to go through the Initial Training programme with them.
In times of such adversity, I am profoundly grateful to God for our amazing volunteers who are so committed to doing all they can to continue to walk with the young people in their care and help them to become disciples of Christ. I pray for them in Paul’s words to the Ephesians: I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Eph 3:16 NLT
Here's some updates from the Groups in Wales - including a brand new Group about to launch:
Abertridwr - We have decided to hold off starting back younger youth and children’s work until January. Numbers of COVID cases in our schools has increased dramatically. Our older youth group has started back successfully on a Thursday evening.
Please pray for all the youngsters normally in touch with the group and for wisdom for the leaders.
Brynmawr - Following some training over the summer, the Group are working through necessary admin and practicalities for relaunching. They have not yet restarted the youth club but are hoping to do so in the second half of this term.
Give thanks for volunteers - old and new. Pray for a successful restart and a good bridge between the young people and the Church.
Conwy Valley - Praise God for the children who are attending and the response to the word and that one family has already began to attend our chapel as a result. Praise God that one visit to the local estate brought another family to the club .
Pray for growing relationships with the children and their families. Pray for plans to develop an older youth group for those who used to come but have not since moving to high school. Pray too for further developments in specific ministry to families.
Kinmel Bay - Praise God that restrictions have eased and we are able to meet face to face. Give thanks for all of the new connections made over the last 18 months and for the spiritual hunger amongst young people.
Pray that we hear God's voice as we all make decissions about the way forward and for leaders as they support children, families and young people who are struggling with the many difficulties caused by the pandemic. Pray for more willing and Godly volunteers to walk alongside young people, children and families and that we as leaders will continue to seek God's will in everything we do.
Llandderfel - CIC (our oldest group) kept going throughout lockdown on Zoom and then face to face as soon as we were able. The group have also carried out some practical service projects in the community. Our younger 2 clubs have restarted this term with great enthusiasm and some new members.
Please pray for all those who come as they re-adjust to different ways of being together.
Rhydyfelin - Two age groups are now meeting with 10-12 younger ones and 7-8 older ones attending. Half of them are fairly quiet and manageable the other are noisy and challenging - two in particular.
Please pray about the tensions in the older group and that the difficult behaviour would not put off youngsters from coming each week.
Troedyrhiw - The group has been unable to relaunch this term as they lost their venue over the summer.
Pray that this would be resolved this term and for a successful restart in the new year in a new venue.
Leeswood - Earlier in 2021, Bethania took the exciting decision to affiliate to Urban Saints as it re-engages with families and children in Leeswood. Our initial training took place between July and September with five, well attended, effective, helpful and confidence building training sessions lead by Andy Hughes. We now feel poised and ready for the future and for reaching out with the good news in our village.
Please pray for the work in Leeswood. Pray too for volunteers in Capeli Dinbych who begin preparation in November.
Planning for Summer 2022
The core planning teams are already working towards Camps for 2022 while praying that Covid restrictions will enable us to run larger Camps as before. We hope to include the following:
- SPREE in Carmarthen for Groups in South and Mid Wales aged 8-15
- Middle Park Adventure Camp near Welshpool for those aged 12-18
- Llanddwywe Junior (8-11s) and family camps near Harlech
We will need help! If you can volunteer for camp teams, site work parties, catering teams or in any other way, please contact Andy.