St Christopher's Launch Brand New Youth Church

On Thursday 4th November 2021, we launched our brand-new St Christopher’s youth church in our main school assembly hall. The service, a Eucharist, led by Bishop Philip of Burnley, started at 3:45pm, to allow time for the after-school road traffic grid-lock to clear, and was finished by around 4:30pm.

Bishop Philip of Burnley leads the new congregation in worship

Around 75 people were in attendance, mainly pupils, but some parents, staff, governors and local clergy too, a very encouraging number for our first service. This church has been over two years in the planning, originally conceived of as a seed-thought in the summer of 2019. Under the banner of the national C of E ‘growing faith’ initiative, we are seeking to bring home, church and school together for the benefit of our pupils. The establishing of this congregation is a key part of our plans to support ‘growing faith’ in our part of the world.

Grace our Sixth Form Worship Co-ordinator had this to say on behalf of the entire school Worship Team:

‘We felt the whole service went really well, the presence of God was tangible. The fellowship in which we prayed for prior to the start of the launch was definitely achieved, with lots of community spirit both before and after the service. We felt there was a welcoming atmosphere and the space to be free. Bishop Phillip did an amazing job at leading the service and the message he gave was very fitting for this exciting new adventure. We look forward to seeing all that God has in store for the young people of this church through both the Eucharist service and the youth service coming soon.’

Grace Hands, Year 13 and Sixth Form worship co-ordinator, introducing the first worship song.

Malachy, Year 11 and main school worship co-ordinator, reads the Gospel passage.

Wesley and Georgia, Year 13 and our Sixth Form 'courageous advocates' leading the prayers of intercession.

And Daniel from Year 10, our ‘Growing Faith’ newsletter editor, added:

‘It was great to see so many people gathered to praise God and celebrate the church launch and we are really looking forward to the next service.’

Our new church has three founding principles that we intend to stick to. These define who we are as a church, and what we aspire to become, our three spiritual DNA strands if you like:

We are a church that is:

1. By youth for youth.
2. Outward facing.
3. Committed to growing followers to become disciples.

In the first instance, we are now going to meet as a church twice a month, always on a Thursday, always at 3:45pm. The first Thursday of the month will be a service of Holy Communion, celebrated by Fr. David Arnold our local parish priest, and the third Thursday will be a non-eucharistic act of worship. Fr. Arnold commented on the launch:

‘It was wonderful to be part of the new Youth Church launch at St Christopher’s. I was particularly excited to see such a faithful group of young Christians enthusiastic about their faith, and seeking to share that faith with the wider community. I pray that this venture will go from strength to strength, and that we will truly see God at work in all that we do.’

St Christopher’s orchestra plays the music for the hymns

Bishop Philip of Burnley ends the first service of the Youth Church.

St Christopher’s choir lead the hymns throughout the service.

Each service will be planned and delivered entirely by our young people. Every role, from car park attendants to coffee servers, from preachers to worship leaders, will be filled by our young people. We are extremely excited about the possibilities here. All members of our wider St Christopher’s family, as well as the wider community, are always welcome to attend. Please do not hesitate to contact our school if you require any further information about our new youth church.