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Claire's Farewell, July 2013

Claire Stoney will be Leaving Uffculme with wonderful memories! 

Claire Stoney has been a trainee youth worker supported by St Mary’s Church for the last year. She has worked with the young people in Uffculme and the surrounding villages and spent lots of time in Uffculme School . This is her report of her time in Uffculme.

 

This is it! The beginning of the end! Ok, that sounds a little dramatic, but as I write this I have a mere ten days left in Uffculme. I’ve been blessed with some lovely young people (and grown-ups!) to work with this year, and it’s heart-breaking to know that I’ll soon be leaving you behind… especially as it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here very long!

I have a whole load of highlights from this year, but here are just a few;

“Street Challenge” – This seems like a lifetime ago, now, but I really loved every aspect of Street Challenge! I had the best team to work with, in the form of Helen and Tony, and I was so impressed with the young people’s willingness to enter into the spirit of the event, to go without their phones, and to sleep on nothing but cardboard boxes. I was less surprised at their willingness to avoid brushing their teeth before bed, however! Spending a night sleeping ‘rough’ in St Mary’s Church to raise money and awareness for the homeless in our region was a wonderful opportunity in itself, but I was so blessed to be able to talk to the young people about the bible and how God feels about the oppressed and needy in our society, and to join them in praying for organisations such as CHAT. We were also deeply impacted by hearing from Danny, an ex-homeless man who met Jesus and has an amazing testimony of what God has done in his life.
 

  I’ve also really enjoyed being questioned in ‘Grill-a-Christian’ RE lessons at top school, speaking to Mr Maddicks, Mr Thompson and Mrs Browse’s classes. I loved the questions that the young people came up with, especially the tricky ones, and I loved the opportunity to share the gospel with them! My favourite question (and one that stumped me!) was probably “what one word would you use to sum up your relationship with God?”


Finally, a massive highlight of my year was the trip away to St George’s House with twenty four Squarefish young people. The weekend was full of wonderful activities and time spent together.

I especially enjoyed the products of the baking workshop! My favourite part of the weekend by far, though, was seeing the young people engage with the creative prayer space that we set up. God really was with us that evening, and young people and leaders alike found Him and His peace in that space. We ended up spending double the time we had planned to on that activity! I also loved seeing the young people use their gifts and skills to lead worship that evening.
Of course, I’ve also loved leading Squarefish youth group on a Sunday evening, helping with CU at top school, Youth Café on Mondays and learning to knit on Thursday lunchtimes, as well as lots of other lovely experiences, but I can’t write about everything.

I’m hoping and praying that I’ve been a good example of Jesus to our young people during my time here, and that I’ve shown God’s love to those that I’ve me
t. I’ve got many ‘thank-you’s to say, but I hope to say many of those in person!

A big thank-you does go to Jeff and Karen Green for putting up with me living in their lovely house this year, though, and to Selina, Jilly and Tony for keeping me from making any huge faux-pas whilst navigating the parts of the Church of England that I didn’t really understand! I also owe a huge thank-you to the congregation of St Mary’s, Uffculme, for accepting me and making me feel welcome, trusting me with your much-loved young people, and bearing with me as I learnt. Finally, thank-you to all the lovely young people I’ve had the chance to spend time with this year; I value each and every one of you and you’ve made this year so worth it; you’re wonderful.

 

Moving on…

The next step for me is to head back to Bristol. I will be sharing a house with my best friend and, if all goes well, stepping into a position as ‘Youth Work Leader’ at my home church. I would value your prayers for the next couple of months as I work out what life looks like and settle down, and move towards the position I feel God is calling me to.

I’d also love it if you would continue to pray for the young people and the youth work here in Uffculme… if I’ve learnt anything this year it’s just how much God loves these young people and what a difference knowing this can make in their lives.

I tried to be the best example of Jesus I could be, and I am praying that they will continue to see wonderful examples of Jesus and God’s love from the community here in Uffculme.

God bless,

Claire Stoney

Youth worker in Uffculme 

September 2012 – July 2013

www.squarefish.org.uk


Next term Selina and the local team will be keeping the youth ministry going and there will be an evening group starting for Yr 11 on Tuesday nights to explore puzzling questions about life;  alongside a Sunday evening programme. In addition we support the not at all religious Monday cafe run in Square Corner by Duke of Edinburgh students and lots of special events !!