Norwich Youth for Christ want to reach out more
The annual thanksgiving service of Norwich Youth for Christ featured the commissioning of creative arts youthworker Libby Redman, a performance by the Gospel Choir and a look at the exciting developments of the organisation.
By Helen Baldry
Around 100 supporters, staff and volunteers of Norwich Youth For Christ (YFC) joined together at St Andrew’s Church, Eaton on Saturday February 1 for an evening of celebration, worship and testimony about the work the charity is doing in their mission of Christian outreach to young people in Norfolk.
Director Nick Blanch explained the focus of NYFC on four elements of their work; schools, partnerships, creative arts, and resourcing others, “We have to be quite ruthless in trying to pursue each of those things.” He said they have become more proactive in approaching schools to take lessons and run prayer spaces. This direct approach appears to be paying off, with 81% of students rating the Easter Uncovered lesson as either ‘brilliant’ or ‘very good’.
The Christmas prayer space at Hethersett Academy was a success. 350 young people experienced different ways of praying and 92% rated it as a positive thing. One student commented, “Before I did this I didn’t believe in God and now I do and I know there are different ways to pray.”
NYFC is looking forward to going into Thorpe High School and Sewell Park College this year.
Nick said, “This is a growing base of our work. We are beginning to build a reputation as a professional resource for schools.”
Part of the thanksgiving service was the commissioning of Libby Redman as creative arts youthworker for NYFC. Libby, a songwriter and youthworker originally from York, has a broad arts perspective and adds a different dynamic to the work of NYFC. Margaret Smith, Chair of trustees described Libby as “A lively lassie who wowed us with her joy and vision for NYFC”. Her enthusiasm for youth work and optimism will help her lead the Gospel Choir to the next step and reach out to more young people. Libby is also developing the youth work at St Andrew’s Church, Eaton.
Libby said she has settled into Norwich and said she approached the job with, “A lot of excitement and a bit of nerves. When you know that God is with you, you know it is going to be ok.”
Nick Blanch paid tribute to all the NYFC the staff. “They are an amazing group of people. Behind them stand an army of volunteers. I am grateful for every one of those people.”
Partnering with local churches to assist with youth work is a key part of NYFC’s work. Nick said, “A lot of churches want to do youth work but they don’t know how.”
Nick spoke about the number of young people who are struggling to cope with life’s pressures, recently revealed in a Young Minds survey. He believes that in 2014 Who Cares will have an impact on this. “To ask people what hurts, to listen and to respond with the fact that God loves them. That could be really big in our county.”
Being a Christian can be isolating for a young person, which is why NYFC runs Encounter, a youth worship service that brings together young people from churches to allow them to feel part of a bigger Christian community.
NYFC is financially dependent on the Christian community. The evangelistic mission of telling young people about Jesus has means that NYFC is unable to access other sources of funding and sometimes comes up against resistance from local authorities. However, this also means that they are able to partner with organisations who are not so openly evangelistic to help them communicate the Christian message. Nick acknowledged that NYFC’s main source of funding will always be donations from local Christians and the church. He encouraged people to think of creative ways of giving and to support the 500 Fivers campaign. He said, “We want to keep moving forward. We are working with more schools. We are resourcing more churches and young people. We want to do more.”
Pictured above: Commissioning of Libby with Trustees Don and Margaret; Director of NYFC Nick Blanch; Libby and the Gospel Choir.
Contact Norwich Youth For Christ more more details about youth work, schools work and how to get involved.