COVID-19 RELATED ARTICLES
FUSION – helping students grow their faith
Lauren Fearn works for Fusion Movement as a Missions Developer. Having discovered a personal relationship with Jesus whilst at university she is passionate about seeing young people find hope in Jesus and come alive during the most influential years of their lives.
Our teenage years are those in which we grow, discovering who we are through our new-found independence. Imagine then, pushing through these years with your independence stolen by a global pandemic.
In a survey by Young Minds (2020) it was found that 80% of young people (those aged 13-25) agreed that their mental health had been worsened as a consequence of the pandemic, with 87% saying they felt lonely and isolated.
Whilst mental health is a complex issue, those of us who have a church to call home and a personal relationship with Jesus know that life is better walked together. After all this is Jesus promise to us: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mark 28:20
I work for Fusion Movement, a charity that partners with churches to help students find hope in Jesus and home in the local church. With one in four young people having turned to church online during the pandemic, there is evidence to suggest that youth and young adults are looking to the local church in response to the new challenges they face. One resource we have developed is our Student Linkup Box (fusionmovement.org/box) which helps to prepare young people for the university experience.
We are encouraging local churches to give these as parting gifts to their outgoing youth. Knowing you are behind them, cheering them on as they leave their local village, could be the support they need. Through this box, our hope is that through these boxes they would feel championed, encouraged and inspired, as well as being loved by their home church as they transition.
In a more recent study by Young Minds (2021), it was found that 67% of those aged 13-25 believed that the negative effects of the pandemic on their mental health will remain long-term. How much more important is it, therefore, that they have a supportive and loving community as they work their way through this? True healing can only come through Jesus.
At Fusion Movement, we are burdened by the vast majority of university students who don’t yet belong to a church community. One aspect of our work is facilitating connections between incoming Freshers and churches in their university cities via our mobile app and website (studenlinkup.org). Do you know somebody in your community who you could share this with? Imagine the impact you could have by encouraging one young person in your village to find a church at university. You could be helping them, and those around them in their halls, find a home away from home and a light in the darkness.
It’s not about the size of your church’s youth group, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how little you feel you have to give. Just think what one young person on fire for Jesus could do on their campus and the lives that could be changed.
New Chair for Christian Aid
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, the former Archbishop of York, will be the next Chair of the board of international development agency Christian Aid.
Dr Sentamu – who has been outspoken on issues of poverty and justice in the UK and globally for many years – served as the Archbishop of York from 2005 until 2020. He was created by Her Majesty the Queen, Baron of Lindisfarne in the County of Northumberland and Masooli in the Republic of Uganda. He is a member of the UK Parliament, in the House of Lords.
Born in Kampala, Uganda, Dr Sentamu will be the first person of African descent to take up the position of Chair in Christian Aid’s 75-year history.
Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Chair, will stand down at Christian Aid’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November, having served two full terms of office.
Announcing the appointment today, Christian Aid’s CEO Amanda Khozi Mukwashi said: “This is wonderful news for Christian Aid. Dr Sentamu brings with him a passion and energy for global justice, a deep love of the Church and a profound theological understanding that will be able to speak into the crises of climate change, Covid, conflict and debt that are affecting the world’s poorest communities. We look forward to welcoming him to the Christian Aid family.”
Teahouse group of Chinese heritage clergy is launched
A national network of Church of England clergy of Chinese heritage that grew out of a Whatsapp support group during the pandemic has been launched.
The Teahouse, made up of clergy and ordinands from across the country, was founded by the Revd Mark Nam, a curate at St Anne’s church in Oldland and United Church in Longwell Green, Bristol, who is also the Diocese of Bristol’s Minority Ethnic Vocations Champion.
People of Chinese heritage make up 0.2% of stipendiary clergy in the Church of England, according to the latest statistics.
“The aim of The Teahouse is to support and empower clergy with Chinese-heritage in the Church of England by promoting their presence in all structures of the Church, creating connections and providing information and resources,” he said.
“I hope that in the years to come, The Teahouse will have a real impact on the life of the church and the wider community in helping to reflect the diversity in our country.”
The Dean of Manchester, Rogers Govender, who is Chair of the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, a Committee of the Archbishops’ Council, welcomed the launch of The Teahouse.
Please help victims of Haiti’s earthquake
The Methodist Church in Britain and All We Can have launched a joint appeal in response to the powerful earthquake that recently struck Haiti’s Southern Peninsula.
More than 2,000 people were crushed to death in the terrible quake. Thousands more are destitute, their homes destroyed.
“As the Methodist Church in Britain and All We Can stand together to bring hope, we invite you to stand with those affected in Haiti,” says the appeal. If you can help, please go to: www.allwecan.org.uk/haiti
Visit the C of E online page
There is now a range of digital resources for to you connect with God at this difficult time. These include:
Time to Pray app (https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps/time-to-pray) which is free and has an accompanying daily audio offering on SoundCloud and iTunes.
Mental health reflections (https://www.churchofengland.org/faith-action/mental-health-resources/supporting-good-mental-health)
Finally, there are the Church’s smart speaker apps, which provide a range of Christian resources. https://www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/our-smart-speaker-apps In March alone, the number of people using the Alexa app rose by more than 70 per cent.
More details at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online