March has been a very full month for the Fusion Whitley team. The month kicked off with Fusion Y&C UK’s first ever Youth Leaders Conference. It was attended by 20 people from Reading to Reigate, three quarters of whom we had never met before; and from what they said they found the morning enriching and inspiring. At the end, people were swapping contact details and asking us to put on another similar event before the year is out.
We had the privilege of supporting the lovely Learn4Life team with their RE lessons this month. Learn4Life is a Christian Schools Work organisation that is based in the same building as we are. We meet together with them and other youth leaders in the area each week to pray for God to move amongst the young people of Whitley, in their schools, families and across the whole community. L4L were invited by the two High Schools in Whitley to deliver two lessons to each year group on Jesus and the Easter story. As their support, we had the opportunity to share with the students how Jesus is active in our lives today.
This month also saw us continuing the journey of Foundations with our Whitley group; we had the weekend away at The House of Bread at the Mill and our Easter Sunday Festival on Rabson’s Rec. The weekend away as deeply profound for those who were there (we were only missing three), and a bonus was joining with the crew from Croydon who have been doing Foundations as well. The Easter Sunday Festival put our faith and resolve to the test with the first hour of rain, cold and wind; but then there was a glorious double, full rainbow over the community and the sun came out! The atmosphere was wonderful as 150 or so gathered with us in the park for fun, games, crafts and singing. This festival is part of a rhythm of community mission and engagement that the churches in the area are developing as the Fusion team work with them, this was the first Easter Festival that they had run.
On Tuesday we travelled to Witham, Essex to support #TeamWitham with festival training and team building activities for their team of youth volunteers, who will be running a festival in their community this weekend! Go #TeamWitham!
Our 11-week discipleship training Foundations course may have ended but the good news is there is strong interest in people continuing the connection by coming to our Community Teas which will begin next month. Though Marty & Jenny Woods will be away from Croydon for 5 months, Steve & Tami Harrington will see folk at the "bring & share" dinners and Steve, Tami & Patience are all involved in regular weekly catch ups with some people.
We heard from the wife of one of our Foundations participants that the course has been life-changing for him. Each week he would return home, read over the unit notes and write up his answers to the questions for reflection before going to bed - now that's commitment! He really feels he has some tools for life, marriage and work.
Our Street Party invitations have gone out for the Queen's 90th birthday in June. The notice will also let people know we are leaving / moving out of our house. We've had some very warm responses (i.e. appropriate levels of sadness) to our impending departure but we look forward to returning for the Street Party to say our final goodbyes.
Prayer Points for the team and work of Fusion in Whitley
For the high school students and teachers who heard the Easter message during RE lessons lead by Learn for Life and supported by the Fusion team.
For the Foundations participants as the course comes to an end and we all prepare to apply what God has been showing and teaching us through the 12 weeks.
For the churches as they continue to work together and engage with the community in effective ways.
Pray for deepening unity, favour and wisdom in all their interactions and plans.
For both our high schools who have recently been put into special measures by OFSTED, pray that the Churches and Christian organisations will know how best to bring life and hope and strength to both schools. Pray for a move of God amongst the young people in our community.
For continued strength, passion and joy for the Fusion Whitley team who also carry the lion’s share of the national work of Fusion Y&C UK. We are praying for these three roles to be filled urgently: General Administrator 3 days a week, Finance Administrator 2 days a week, PR and Communications Officer 2 days a week.
Prayer Points for the team and work of Fusion in Croydon
For Marty and Jenny Wood's departure: Please pray for the Woods as they spend the next six months abroad (first in France and then Brazil supporting Churches to make the most of the European Cup and Summer Olympics, respectively).
Pray for Steve and Tami Harrington as they continue to support community outreach in Croydon and Purley, in partnership with Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church.