Three Urban Saints Groups came together to celebrate Christmas with a big youth event and there were contributions from across the country to make this celebration of hope and purpose in Bradford possible...
“God, I want to know how to live in purpose. I feel like I am just existing. But You say that I’ve got a purpose. I am young, but I want to know the purpose for being here. I want to know peace because I am young, but I am feeling anxious. I am young, but I feel hopeless. Jesus, can You still give peace? Can You be my hope amidst all that is happening? Can You help me know my purpose?”
Wise words from Rev. Linford Davis, an inspiring leader and gifted communicator, who provides faith-based pastoral care and spiritual support to individuals from all walks of life. However, this was not a Sunday sermon delivered in church, but an inspirational talk to a room filled with young people who are just beginning to explore what it means to encounter Jesus in a meaningful way.
With the number of people identifying as Christian in the UK steadily declining, we recognise it is more important than ever to engage young people in faith conversations and share the transformational love of Jesus Christ. One thing’s for certain, this cold December evening definitely delivered on that mandate.
On the 9th December, a Christmas Gathering took place in Thornton, Bradford, where St James Church was packed out with three Urban Saints Groups and several other young people from the local community. Attending to all needs and interests, the venue was zoned, with different activity stations ranging from creative graffiti sheets to reflective seating areas with sensory lights. Trees, from the Christmas Tree festival, formed a pathway to the front of the church hall, where a seating area was set out for the main session. Amongst the plethora of sparkly trees, were two adorned with Urban Saints logos and the faces of the young people from the local Groups. Directly above, on the mezzanine floor, was the new youth room, donated by the church and redecorated by the young people themselves. It was clear that this church was their safe space, and they took ownership for it.
The main event kicked off with an engaging set from J Vessel, a young award-winning, musical artist from London. This wasn’t just an upfront performance. It was a musical interaction that engaged and included every young person in the room. The evening continued on with an inspiring word from Rev. Linford Davis, before closing with an awards ceremony and a silent disco. The young people left that evening, having experienced something they never had before and fully in the knowledge that they were loved.
Many people far and wide contributed to this evening. The volunteer leaders who, not only serve each week in their own Group, but with the help of their Impact Team Leader, demonstrated their commitment to be unified across Bradford and create safe spaces for young people to encounter Jesus. The guest artist and speaker, who collectively travelled for twelve hours to share the word in their own unique and creative ways. The former Group leaders who, sat around a table 210 miles away in Surrey, prayerfully discerned that the legacy of Virgina Waters Crusaders would live on by helping to fund the ministry of these new Groups in Bradford.
Every individual had a role to play, and every part was played to perfection. This clearly wasn’t just an event. It was an active demonstration of community. One that was made possible due to the bold and daring leadership of individuals who believed in one common purpose - demonstrating the value of a Father’s love.
Sara Taylor - Missions Lead
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