Encountering God on the Broads
The Revd Graham Kirk-Spriggs explains how a local sailing holiday transformed his faith journey.
Imagine for a moment that you’re a teenager. Hopefully thinking about those years of your life hasn’t made you run off, screaming for the hills. Our teenage years are the most formative and sometimes difficult years of our lives.
Not only was your brain totally re-wiring itself but your body was changing, in exciting or perhaps frightening ways. Your mind was being expanded; your horizons were broadened as we started to take steps towards adult life. There were so many pressures for us, and I for one was pulled in many different directions. It’s no wonder that many young people lose their faith during these formative years.
Then there’s what might be happening at home. Relationships with parents or carers might be difficult, perhaps academic results have been disappointing. Perhaps the pressure put on our young people is too much for some, and they are struggling with mental health problems because of it.
Back in the mid-noughties, I was 14. My parents had split up, and I was feeling raw. I didn’t have much of a faith at all, and I was questioning whether God was for me. I went on Cormorants and for the first time I wasn’t patronised, I was listened to, I had a place in a crew, in a team.
The priest who ran it the Revd Charles Hall was a kind man, who had an approachability and pastoral nature I’d never come across in adults before. He listened, intently, as if I mattered.
I think I owe being ordained to that first experience on Cormorants, I remember it vividly. The Bible study that year was the story of Joseph. I remember Charles saying; “Who thinks that God is interested in them?” Some people in that hot and cramped cruiser cabin put their hands up, I didn’t. Then he asked us “why?” I replied, “Because I’m just ordinary, there’s nothing special about me.” He said “God is interested in you, God made you and loves you. He loves you so much he gave you life.”
I’d not heard that before. God is interested in me? It made me think. I wanted to be like Charles.
Fast forward ten years and now I find myself walking in Charles’ shoes as Chaplain on Cormorants.
We’ve tried to foster an atmosphere where teenagers can explore their faith. It’s not about ramming a theology or Jesus down the kids’ throat but giving them the space to explore the questions they have. Listening to them. Showing them that you can have fun and be a Christian! Helping them know the love of God for themselves in a gentle and kind way, just like Charles modelled.
Fundamentally it all comes out of God’s love, His overflowing love that I discovered for myself on Cormorants. His overflowing love for them as individuals.
Pray for all of us, as we try to give them a glimpse of this.
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Pilgrimage in Lapland
Last August, as part of the "sharing of experiences", six people were invited to join in a pilgrimage along the Dag Hammarskjold Way which lies 250 km within the Arctic Circle, further cementing the link between the Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of Luleå in the far north of Sweden. Steve Williamson shares their journey.More
Active learning: Bible, sports, action!
Headteacher Helen Watson describes how Lyng Church of England Primary School has been engaging in Active RE.More
Worship on the wild side
Charlie Houlder-Moat, Trainee Reader, describes how her passion for the outdoors has combined with facilitating families to worship outdoors.More
And I would walk 500 miles
On 12 September 2019, Amanda Maundrell set out to walk the 500 miles of the ancient pilgrimage route of “El Camino Frances” across northern Spain, alone. Here she shares her story of why she undertook this challenge and the impact it had upon her.More
A selection of books on the theme of sport and outdoor spirituality, reviewed by Steve Foyster.More
Bringing my faith to parkrun
Roy Roberts shares his love of the organised free, weekly, 5km timed running phenomenon that is parkrun.More
Walsingham Way pilgrimage path
Previous articles for The Magazine on the Norwich to Walsingham route of the Walsingham Way have presented it as an aspiration, a project for which there was much local interest and support but still no wherewithal to make it a physical reality. That situation has changed, and 2020 will see the Way as a signposted path on the ground. Canon Librarian at Norwich Cathedral, Peter Doll, gives an update.More
Learning from GoodGym
An article in The Big Issue headed ‘Changemakers’ caught Susanna Gunner’s eye. It described a venture called GoodGym which, inspiringly, links exercise with social action. It doesn’t have a specifically Christian foundation, yet it resonates in powerful ways with gospel language, kingdom concepts. She was intrigued and wanted to know more.More
Holiday clubs – building faith through fun
For the past 10 years, Matt Beckett has worked for the Fountain of Life Church and Kidz Klub Mid Norfolk, in Ashill and has been involved in running their annual summertime holiday club. He shares his and others' experience of organising these fun faith-filled events.More
Game-changing: sports ministry
As the 2020 Olympics looms in Japan, Ruth Anderson urges us to consider the mission opportunities offered through sport and fitness.More