Andy takes on massive mission field in Earlham
Andy Woodman is appealing for support as he takes up a new mission as Associate Vicar of St Anne’s Earlham in Norwich and chaplain to the University of East Anglia.
For the last four years Andy and his wife Jo have been part of the Mitre Benefice, and he has been site pastor at St Thomas on Earlham Road.
“For the last year or so we were getting that sense that God was calling us out,” said Andy, “and we’ve been exploring in the last year what that might look like."
Andy has chosen the name Crossroads for the new initiative, and has created a website for it here.
"We will begin by starting a new contemporary service," he said, "to reach primarily young adults (but of course anyone is welcome) over the next few months and we want to create a space that is welcoming to all. This will work alongside all of the other things that are happening currently in Earlham."
Andy is appealing for support as he launches the new venture. "Most importantly we need your prayers," he said. "It is so exciting to be at the start of an adventure, but also scary. There is some equipment we would like to get in order to get us started: a sound desk, speakers, screens, a computer, microphones and a few signs." He estimates that these will cost around £20,000 in total.
"Of course we don’t need these things to be church, but our heart is to reach those we are not currently reaching and to meet people where they are at, so music and media are key. We would love your support to see Gods church advance and to reach the unreached."
Andy is also inviting people to consider whether God might be calling them to be part of this new venture and to help start this new worshipping community. "Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to find out more," he said. "We would love to hear from you."
“The parish of Earlham has some really weird statistics compared to the rest of the diocese,” he added. “In the diocese parishes have an average of 32% young adults. In Earlham it is 53% young adults. It’s a massive, massive mission field.”
“We’ve lived in Earlham for the last four years,” said Jo, “and have got to know the area. For comparison, the whole of the Mitre Benefice has 14,000 people. Earlham has 22,000 people.”
“I’m sure I’m not the only one who meets so many people who thinks that church is just completely dead, boring or irrelevant to their life,” commented Andy. “Or maybe they think their life is too messy, too chaotic, that they are unworthy…that if they walked into a church building the roof would fall down on their head.
“But Jesus met people at the fringes of society, the least, the last and the lost. It’s not about filling my church or your church. It’s about filling heaven.”
Andy will be licenced for the new role on September 12.
Darren Thornton, meanwhile, who has been Anglican chaplain at the University of East Anglia, will be taking on the role of Anglican chaplain at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where he has already been assisting.
“The intention is for me to be taking over that chaplaincy role at the heart of the campus,” said Andy. “It's an amazing opportunity.”
You can see Andy’s vision for his new mission on the video below. If you'd like to get involved you can contact him on email@example.com.
Pictured above are Andy and Jo Woodman