Diocesan interns have been learning about the care for those most in need at the heart of one of the most deprived areas in the country recently.
New Wine Discipleship Year students and Ministry Experience Scheme participants spent four days at St Stephen’s Church in Bradford, immersing themselves in some of the many outreach and mission activities led by the team there.
They experienced first-hand the impact of this welcoming, open doors and Jesus-centred church community which lies in the heart of West Bowling, one of the 2% most deprived communities in the country.
They started the week with their peers, the Bradford Mission Apprentices, gathering to worship, pray and learn more about the city of Bradford and the communities where each Mission Apprentice is placed.
Luke Owens from the Eden Network, the Revd Jimmy Hinton from St Stephen’s, and Sarah Hinton, from the charity SHINE, shared their story and vision for this multicultural, varied and often troubled community and their heart for the marginalised and those facing many daily challenges.
Students walked and prayed around the neighbourhood and supported some of the many weekly activities on offer.
They helped distribute food at the Pop-Up Pantry, conversed with speakers of other languages in the English Chat and joined in with the Gardening and Creative Arts Groups.
They also helped plan youth events, collected nine bags of rubbish during a litter pick in a local park and joined in with the weekly Eden double decker which hosts 50 young people each week, providing activities on board and sharing the Gospel message.
Livvy, one of the students, said: “I’ve really enjoyed hearing all the wisdom from the team at St Stephen’s, the Eden Network and Shine charity and seeing how they love people so well and do community amazingly.”
James, another student, added: “This week God has shown me what it is to grow community with love at the centre.”
Luke Owens said: “It was a wonderful and inspiring experience for us at St Stephen's working with the Diocese Interns and Mission Apprentices.
"It was really encouraging to see young people wanting to know more about living an incarnational life in the community and getting involved in the mission of the church.”