Reality II brings Hope to Norwich and beyond
This summer saw a second Reality
event for young Christians in and around Norwich,
combining community action, evangelism and teaching into a great week.
Building on the foundations of last year the team expanded the Action Areas to go beyond Norwich, reaching as far as Wymondham.
Grantley Watkins, of Wymondham Baptist Church echoed the views of many when he said: “Seeing young people mobilised to serve the local church to give up their week – it's an amazing sacrifice, there is such enthusiasm, such energy – to be part of that is a real buzz! We're really benefiting as a local church in a rural town from that energy.”
Eighty five young people from around the region took part in RII, taking a relevant message of Christianity into the five Action Areas each afternoon during the week. Their work included holiday clubs, sports groups, litter picking, dance, drama, gardening and more.
Andrew Tyler, Parish Priest of St Mary Magdalene, said: “This is the second year we've been involved with Reality. It's been very very good because eight or nine years ago when I came here this is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to do, and it's only because of the involvement with Norwich Youth For Christ that now we've been able to do it.”
The aim behind all of the community projects was to demonstrate the Gospel in actions, and create opportunities for conversations with community members. Caroline Silby,
one of the delegates on Mile Cross
, told of an encounter in a local park during the week: “This one lady in the park yesterday she let us pray with her, which was really cool. We had this long conversation with her about everything and she let us pray with her. She had lots of questions so we prayed that they'd be answered and that she'd really know Jesus in her life!”
Danny Doran-Smith of Heartsease said: “Hundreds of people from 3 - 95 years old were impacted by Reality, with many other people from across the Heartsease estate and the local area coming to get involved. The week ended with a Joint Golden Jubilee Celebration for St Francis Church and Last Night Event for Reality, With included a free barbecue with live entertainment, children’s entertainer, face paints, motorbike show and even donkey rides. This was a great end to the week, and many people from the Heartsease estate saw what was happening throughout the week and just got involved!”
working in the Lakenham Holiday Club
, said: “For me, one of the best things is that it's going on all round the city, and I think people have really noticed all the different things going on. It's just a real incentive and it shows God's love.”
Mark Tuma, Director of Norwich Youth For Christ, explained what the week had meant to him: “It's been an amazing week on so many levels. Just like last year, God has taken this group of young people who are prepared to work in his service and he has used them to change things in the five areas.
“The two biggest and most exciting things for me this year were these: first, that these God-filled young people were leading the way and showing the Church and the community what happens when people serve him – they actually bring hope into situations, like the family in one area facing a court appearance whose garden was cleared by the team, it brought hope to them; and secondly, you could watch the young people becoming evangelists as the week went on – by the end of the week when I asked people what would change when they finished Reality they all said, 'I'm going to tell my friends about Jesus, I'm not going to hold it in any more.' I couldn't have asked for any more than that!”
Although Reality was originally intended to be a one-off event, the organising team decided they should repeat the experience this year in order to build momentum for Hope08
. It is possible there will be an RIII event as part of Hope in 2008, so keep an eye on Network Norwich
for more news.
Pictured, from top:
Delegates praying at one of the morning meetings, held at Norwich Central Baptist Church.
The dance workshop in Lakenham show their moves.
The Heartsease Team clearing rubbish from communal areas.
Young people clearing a garden in Mile Cross.
Pete McAllen perfoming at the Thursday evening delegates' event.
Children's entertainment at the Heartsease barbecue.