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The London Scripture Union Summer Sports Camp
Scott Gentry is a student worker for the Scripture Union and based in London. Here he reports on a holiday sports camp which the organisation ran in partnership with the Diocese of London, over the summer.
“This Summer, Scripture Union invited children from inner London to engage with sport, as we posed to them the question: What do you believe in?”
Throughout the UK, sports ministry is continuing to grow rapidly, and is now spreading to the streets of Holloway! Over the summer holidays, Scripture Union endeavoured to continue their 95 Campaign in partnership with the Diocese of London, by utilising the warm weather and trying their hand at hosting a one-day sports camp within St John’s C of E Primary School.
Children travelled from Pimlico, who currently engage with the Pimlico Foundation, (an SU local mission partner) were invited to be coached on cricket and football, led by Ben Poch (team leader of SU South East), an SU intern and was with two workers from the Pimlico Foundation. Unfortunately, two projects and their children were forced to pull out (due to unforeseen circumstances), leaving only eight young people in attendance. But despite the unexpected dip in numbers, we knew that this was a special opportunity as each and every one of those children did not regularly attend church or consider themselves to be Christians, despite their ongoing relationship with Scripture Union’s projects.
So for us as a team, the mission of sharing the word of God very much remained of paramount importance. Diving into the book of Daniel, Ben and the team shared the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and posed the question and challenge to the kids: What do you stand up for? Whilst training and playing games, Ben continued to reveal significant developments within the story – many of which seized the children’s attention, particularly some odd biblical names! – accompanied with questions and finally, personal testimonies.
Throughout the day, each child received training that focused in on the complete basics of cricket and football – from learning to catch/bat correctly and to pass balls effectively as a team. As predicted, each child’s abilities varied heavily – some even protested their inability to play sport in general, which is something we as a team, didn’t entertain.
One (initially) shy girl continuously faltered in her attempt to catch or hit a ball. But with continued encouragement from Ben and the team, the young girl emerged as a talented and valued member of her team. We believe that it is through ministry opportunities such as this, those young children are given rare opportunities to not only be introduced to Jesus, but develop their confidence, the expression of their opinions (in regards to faith), and sports skills.
Ultimately, each child left know that for us as a team, we believe in standing up for our precious relationship with Jesus, because of his sacrifice and radical love for each and every one of us. And it is our hope and prayer, that God would continue to meet with these young children, and surround them with his amazing love. Following its success, SU hopes to continue this integral form of mission by going one step further, with a two-day, non-residential sports camp in October.