Youth President's Visit
Tamara Wray, the Methodist Youth President for 2013/14, visited Cumbria this week. Her role takes her across the connexion to various Districts. It was a privilege to have Tamara visit. Tamara’s trip to Cumbria was her first ever trip to the county: she experienced the beauty of the Lake District and a warm Cumbrian welcome.
Jonny Gios, District Youth Officer, took Tamara on a whistle-stop tour of the District. She spent some of her time meeting with Rev Dr Jonathan Pye, Superintendent of the Kendal Circuit, and Jonny, learning what has been taking place in the Kendal Circuit over recent years. The Kendal Circuit has become a hive of activity with different youth events in recent years, including #ignitethelight and Domain. These have seen young people gather across the area to come together for fellowship and teaching.
Sandylands Methodist Church’s youth ministry, XLR8, works alongside the local young people of Sandylands estate. Thirty young people from XLR8 met Tamara and were given a snap shot of the life of a Methodist Youth President! Tamara also shared about one of her passions - the Street Child World Cup. XLR8 youth are now looking at how they can raise money to support these children. Find out more here....
Tamara also met some of the people behind the exciting ecumenical detached youth work project in Windermere. This is led by South Lakes Youth for Christ, who regularly work with sixty young people every Friday night alongside their double decker bus, aka The Light Bus.
Tamara also met Gavin Rushton who is the Network Youth Church Leader for Whitehaven Deanery. Carlisle Diocese and Cumbria District are keen to work in partnership to reach young people in our county with the good news of Jesus Christ. The Network Youth Project is the main initiative led by the Anglican Church across the Diocese. Gavin has worked for the Anglican Church in this role for three years and developed many relationships with young people, including peer-to-peer evangelism amongst the church youth - a legacy that will last!
Gavin said 'It's been good to meet up with colleagues from the Methodist Church and talk about what it means to have a shared vision for reaching young people in Cumbria with the gospel. More meetings like this are needed to foster real gospel partnerships that will lead to transformed communities'.
Tamara also visited the fantastic Shackles Off Project in Seascale, who work with the local young people who face rural isolation and who face many issues, one being alcohol. Jonny commented “I never experienced first-hand cross generational work in action. Young people playing Uno with older members of the local community was inspiring to see and encouraging. Older people can and do make a huge impact working with young people! This project is making a real impact in its community and is well supported by the local church”. With limited volunteers and limited funds, Shackles Off has a big vision and a big aspiration yet distinctively Christian in its approach! A great example of great work in the Cumbria District - www.shacklesoff.org.uk.
A final quote from Tamara :
'I really do love my job! I've had an amazing 24 hours in the Cumbria District. Shackles Off is an absolutely amazing project that empowers young people to make a positive contribution to the local community and society and also encourages intergenerational relationships within the community. Thank you so much Jonny, for showing me some of the inspirational youth work which is happening in your District and because the weather was amazing. This is the way that I will always remember Cumbria!'
To find out more contact District Youth Officer, Jonny Gios.
Tel: 07530 104182 or 01539 723030 or email Jonny@sandylandschurch.com.
Reflection from Tamara : 23 May 2014
My time in Cumbria has been an inspirational and enlightening experience. I was immediately struck at how much of a presence the 'Shackles off' initiative has in the lovely seaside town of Seascale. Although on its website it is described as Youth Project, I don't think that this description gives it the justice that it truly deserves. As not only is this project equipping and empowering young people to strive for the best in life, it is encouraging much needed intergenerational relationships. Having listened to how this initiative began and the distinctive, apparent humility of the staff and its volunteers you see with your own eyes that God is behind this, enabling the community to witness the Kingdom of God. While as with many things funding is an issue with this project, I find it comforting that its staff members believe solely in the fact that God always provides. It is an amazing project and I would encourage you to keep Shackles Off in your prayers.
Cumbria is a beautiful district but, what I found to be even more striking is the love that people have for one another. Everyone goes out of their way to help others and this is reflected in its young people. I joined Cornerstone Sandylands Methodist Church youth club XLR8, in the evening and I was welcomed by the young people with warmth and kindness. As we played rounders that evening, I truly knew what it felt like to be part of a Methodist family. Thank you for welcoming me and thank you for being an amazing District.