11 April 2012
Young Christians ‘invade’ York
Young people from across York worked together over Easter to bring good news to their city streets as part of a city-wide youth mission.
Around 30 churches joined together to pray for and support Hope Invasion, which took place over three weeks.
Youth workers, drama groups and live bands visited 10 secondary schools for the last two weeks of the school term to lead religious studies lessons for school years 7-9, perform dramas and put on live concerts at lunchtimes.
More than 70 enthusiastic teenagers from the churches dedicated the first two days of their Easter holidays to go into the city centre, give out freebies, do creative evangelism, chat to other young people and invite them to a free concert.
Several hundred young people attended the concert on 4 April, which took place in a central park, with free activities including a football cage, face painting, gladiator jousting, nail art and a bungee run. The evening gig featured a number of bands including LZ7 and Twelve24 from the Message Trust and a local band called This Resistance.
Lending his support to Hope Invasion, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu sent a video message to the young people. In it, he said: “There is hope, and whatever your past, together with God, suddenly everything is possible. I pray that you’ll know that God is close at hand, closer than your own breath, and he will give you the courage to have dreams that will transform not only your lives, but the lives of all those you meet, for the better.”
Caleb Ellwood, Hope Invasion co-ordinator and youth worker at Alliance member Gateway Church, said: “We believe we could see a generation living for Jesus in this city. The young people we met were interested in finding out more about this hope we have for the future and we were so excited to be able to give them an opportunity to explore it further. I was so thrilled to see Christian youth taking risks to reach their friends for Jesus and even more excited when young people made a response to become a follower of Jesus.”
Youth leaders from churches of different denominations meet to pray together regularly, sharing a desire to see the young people of the city encounter Jesus. Hope Invasion is an expression of unity in mission, aiming to give every 11 to 14-year-old in York a chance to hear and respond to the gospel message.
Following the event, more than 100 young people have registered their interest in attending a Youth Alpha.
The Alliance is helping to encourage and network unity for mission movements in towns and cities across the country. For more information, visit www.wegather.co.uk