Skateboarding pastor drops in to Norwich park
Professional skateboarder and church pastor Brian Sumner dropped into Eaton skatepark in Norwich on Monday (August 14) during a whistle-stop UK tour to promote the sport to young athletes.
Brian, who was born in Liverpool, moved to America aged 15 to pursue the sport and went on become a professional, competing for top skateboarding companies.
He was at Eaton Park skatepark with Stephen Nowak, a former UK skateboard champion, who is now a Baptist church minister in Stowmarket, to demonstrate and chat with the youngsters at the park.
He told the EDP that his visit blended both his love for the sport and his Christian faith.
“I’ve been visiting different churches and skate parks to share the gospel, see what’s going on and do some tricks with the people who are there,” he said. “We’ve had a great reaction so far.”
Edward Land, curate at St Thomas Church in Norwich, who was involved in organising the event, said: "It was great to have Brian at the skatepark, to watch him skate and hear his story of what God has done in his life and how he has been led to share his faith amongst the skateboarding community.
"At one point in the afternoon he shared with a group of youngsters that were sat under a tree, prompting and challenging them to think about who Jesus was and what life is really all about. As local Christian skaters continue to gather regularly to skate and pray at the park, we hope to build relationships with the people we meet there, and look for opportunities to share our faith with them."
Seth Bryant, 16 years old, who regularly skates at Eaton said: "It was great to meet Brian and see him skate. He has a really interesting story too."
Brian said that in America, skateboarding had become “the new baseball”, with many fathers and sons skateboarding together thanks to its prominence on television and the internet.
He made his US debut in the skate video The End. Brian has been in other films including One Step Beyond by Adio shoes, on many 411's and on Baker videos. Brian spent many summers travelling the US on Tony Hawks Gigantic skate park tour which aired throughout America on television, and helped present skateboarding to a new generation of skateboarders.
Brian also attended various bible schools and courses, and he is now a pastor at Rock Harbor Church in Huntington Beach in America, where he teaches and focuses on city evangelism and outreach. He continues to travel the world partnering with ministries, churches and the like, with the goal of reaching the lost.
More information about Brian is available at www.briansumner.net
Read more about this story at EDP24
Pictured top is Brian Sumner at Eaton Park in Norwich, picture by Friends of Eaton Park and, above, skateboarder Seth Bryant.