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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. We're simply having a wonderful Christmas time here in St Leonards church office. So this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Ok, I'm going to stop with the Christmas songs now. But seriously, we are interested in what you're getting up to and want to tell you all about what we've got planned. So here's a little run down of everything that's going on in the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas and beyond...

  • Cell groups will be finishing this week with sessions looking at the Christmas story.
  • Never fear though – there is the cell Christmas social next Thursday, the 19th December. If you haven't already been told about it, it's from 7 – 9.30pm in the church. We are selling tickets for £5 each, which includes pizza and drinks plus games and loads of fun.
  • The Pathfinders Christmas specials are on this Friday, the 13th. Younger Pathfinders runs from 6.30 – 7.45pm (years 7-9) and Older Pathfinders is 8 - 9.30pm (year 9-13). Both are held at St Leonards church hall. Do come along and join in with some Christmassy games and snacks.
  • There will be a church services happening all over Christmas so take a look at the church website to find out when they're on. You are very welcome to go to any of them, even if you don't attend the church regularly. The church website is:
  • Cell groups will begin again during the first full week of school term - so the week beginning 6th January. Take a look at the past blog called “Our Youth Work Week” to see when all our cell groups are on. Please feel free to come along to any that are relevant to you!

Even though this time of year is incredibly busy, it's been lovely to look back on the past term and see all the good things that have happened. There have been lots and lots of positives within the youth work :) highlights include:

  • The beginning of The Bud. We are so excited to see so many musical talents that we can use for God's glory :)
  • Beth and Sarah are enjoying the internship! They have loved working with the young people and are really excited for what 2014 holds within the youth work here. Olly has had another term being a fantastic youth worker, as always (He didn't make me write that, I promise!)
  • The evening church service led by the cell groups on 20th October was brilliant. There was lots of positive feedback from people in the congregation and there was a real feeling that God was with us all as the service was so excellently led.
  • Younger Pathfinders began this term as a much smaller group than before the summer holidays, mostly because many of the members had moved into year 10 so were going to Older Pathfinders. However, the group has grown which has been great and they are all absolutely lovely!
  • Peter S Williams (apologist and philosopher) coming to talk to us on 7th October. We had chance to fire any questions we liked at him with some interesting answers. Speaking of which, the booklets containing all of the questions and answers from the evening (plus extra that he answered afterwards and emailed to us) are now ready. If you would like a copy, we will have some at the cell Christmas social, or contact one of us and we will get one to you.
  • We have started getting going with plans for Soul Survivor. It's exciting to think about the actual event, but also great that we can all get involved with the fundraising and preparations beforehand.

So this is our final blog post of 2013. There's just time to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We hope you have a safe, blessed time whatever you're up to. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Introducing The Bud...

As you may or may not know, St. Leonard's Youth have our very own (extremely talented) youth band called The Vine (click on their name to go to their Facebook group). They have been very busy over the last 2 years and have recently been booked to play for a church in Bicester as well as being the band for the Diocesan youth camp called Yellow Braces.

What you might not know is that we are starting a new youth band (to go alongside The Vine) which is going to be called.... The Bud (get it ha, we're so funny!).

The first meeting will be this Monday 2nd December at St. Leonard's Church and it is for anyone who is interested in joining (who is under the age of 25).

If you would like to check it out, or you have a young person who might like to join then go here to download the forms and come along and join us at 7.00pm!

What happens next...

Some times in youth work it seems like its all change all the time. Change for the better, change for the worst, young people leaving to go to uni, young people coming up from year 7. Groups change, groups dynamics change and (hopefully) the people involved, my self included, become more like the people Christ made them to be.

Change is good, change is exciting! But change can be scary...

Some times (particularly in the Anglican Church) things can seem to dip into the 'plodding along' stage where nothing really seems set to change at all. Not that the is a bad thing, there is a lot to be said for plodding along! (Romans 8:25Galatians 6:9

Amongst other changes, having just taken on 2 new members to the team, adding more groups and losing a long standing cell group with a couple of long standing leaders it felt like a big term of change last year. Some of which was exciting, some of which was scary.

This term seems set to be a bit more steady. Not boring by any stretch but not too many dramatic changes should be happening.

Having said that we are planning on:

  • Setting up a mentoring programme. 
  • Starting a youth alpha 
  • Starting a new youth band 
So not too much is changing, but watch this space... 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Trips, Cell Celebrations and other things...

For anyone who has never heard of a Cell Celebration it is a church service where all our regular cell groups come together to worship God. Each group plan and run a different part of the service and bring the whole thing together as a whole. They are run by the cell groups but anyone of any age is welcome to come along and we are really pleased that there is usually a great mix people and 'generations'!

The Sunday just gone (21st October) at 6pm we had our Cell Celebration for this term. The theme was 'Living Life to the Full'. The service was based around Jesus' statement in John 10:10 " I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". We looked at what it means to live life to the full and how following Jesus might effect that. About 90 people came along and as usual we had a full range of prayer stations, great music from The Vine, a great talk and welcome game.

Our next Cell Celebration is on Sunday 9th February 2014 at 6pm so if you have never been to a cell celebration before then why not come along and see what it is like!

In other news...

Letters are about to go out for both our Youth Weekend Away and Soul Survivor trips. Every year we have a fantastic time at both trips and I am really grateful that we get to run them again. If you have a child who would like to attend the trip you can download the forms from here:

One issue that could occur is coinciding dates. Because of changes to the way we are being charged, we require the deposit of £30 for the weekend away by 30th November and full payment by the 20th January. We also require the deposit of £70 for Soul Survivor by the 1st December. We realise that this may be quite a finical burden for some families, so prayer would be appreciated.  

On the whole this half term has been a great start to the academic year. We are looking forward to the next one and the up and coming Cell Group Social.

Next week is the half term holiday and the youth work team will be taking a break, so if you want to contact us, please be patient if we are slow to reply!

Prayer points: 

  • That no young people would be hindered from coming to Soul Survivor or the Weekend Away for finical reasons.
  • The next half term will be a very busy time for the youth work and we would appreciate prayers for energy to see us through.   

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Apologists talk on 7th October

On Monday 7th October, we were blessed to be visited by Peter S Williams - apologist, philosopher, author and general very cool guy.
We broke into small groups to begin with and wrote down some questions with no restrictions (brave Peter). We then put them all together and the minions (Beth and Sarah) sorted them into similar questions. There were several themes that came up a lot, particularly questions on heaven and hell, why God created disabilities, and the Devil. Peter faced such a range of questions but he answered every one in a way that everybody could understand and with interesting information. The questions ranged from “What are your ideas on the cosmological argument?” to “What's your best Christian chat-up line?” and there was definitely something for everyone as Peter discussed his views on whether to take the Bible literally, dating and the challenges posed to us by new atheists.

Peter took away the questions that we ran out of time to ask and he will send an email through with his ideas and answers. Also, his recording of the evening will be available from his website on a podcast so you can listen again. Finally, we will be creating a leaflet/booklet type thing with the questions that were asked, plus the ones he is still to answer, with a summary of what he said so you have something to keep and refer back to.

If you weren't at the evening with Peter, you are still very welcome to receive the leaflet (once it has been put together) and listen to the podcast. Let one of the St Leonards youth team know and we can get the leaflet to you. His podcast will be available on his website: and on our website: 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sponsor an Intern...

As you will hopefully be aware by now, we have taken on 2 interns to work with us for this academic year. They will be studying under the internship programme at Oxford CYM  (the same organisation that Olly did his degree with). We will be their placement church and they will be working with us full time.

So far, this has been fantastic and I am really excited to see all that God will be doing in our youth work through running this internship course. Already Beth and Sarah have got stuck in to everything and there is a real buzz around the office.

Taking on the interns does have a financial cost.

As a church we have agreed to pay for their travel expenses up to £800. Other than that, due to our current deficit, the PCC were unable to offer any other financial support such as covering their course fees (£1650 each) or contributing to their cost of living or housing for the year.  

So we are asking if you would like to Sponsor an Intern?...

Any money that you contribute would go towards covering the cost of their course fees, expenses and if they receive enough a financial gift to contribute to their living costs.

As a sponsor you would receive regular updates from your interns blogs, cards and if you wanted your very own intern cuddly toy (the last one is kind of a joke, but you could have a mini minion toy as a reminder to pray for your intern if you wanted).

If you are interested in supporting our work in this way then please email Olly on or pop in to the church office.    

Monday, 14 October 2013

Prayer Update 14/10/13

It has been an eventful and exciting start to the new year. The major change has been the appointment of our 2 interns Beth and Sarah (they have their own update blogs, click on their names if you want to take a look). Having had them working with us officially for three weeks I can honestly say I am really excited for the next year and am looking forward to all God is going to do in them and through them. So far it has been going really well and God's hand is clearly on this.

In other news, we are already beginning to fund raise for next years Soul Survivor. Having had such a great time in August all the young people who went are very keen to go again so it is looking like next year will be very large!!

After Soul Survivor 2 young people have decided to start leading a CU at Bartholomew school. Our youth team has been visiting every week and seems to be a fantastic group!

Last week we had Peter S. Williams join us for a Q&A session at 7pm at the Church Hall with all of our cell groups to talk about tricky issues such as science and religion.

Our cell groups are now beginning to plan for this terms Cell Celebration which is happening on Sunday 20th October at 6pm

Prayer points: 

  • Please pray generally for the continued development of our interns and the internship programme we are running. 
    • More specifically, Sarah and Beth both started their lectures on Monday 7th October
  • Please pray for the Fundraising efforts for our Soul Survivor trip, we are starting early but there is a lot of money to raise.
  • Please pray for the CU at Bartholomew, that it continues to go from strength to strength and tha God encourages and equips the young people who are leading it.
  • Please pray for the Q&A session with Peter S. Williams, it was a great opportunity to try and tackle tricky questions about faith and the world. Pray that the young people continue to grapple with these issues and pursue God's truth.   
  • Please pray for the upcoming Cell Celebration.  

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Our Youth Work Week

I am aware that not everyone knows the structure of our regular weekly groups or who meets when, so I thought I would take this opportunity to fill you all in. For more information about specific groups, please visit our website

5.30pm - 6.45pm: Year 11- 12 mixed Cell Group

6.15pm - 7.30pm: Year 9 mixed Cell Group
7.00pm - 8.30pm: Year 9 girls Cell Group (this group takes place in Hanbrough)

4.30pm - 5.30pm: Year 7 mixed Cell Group

3.05pm - 4.45pm: Year 10 mixed Cell Group
6.30pm - 9.00pm: Thursday Night Junior Youth Centre
7.30pm - 9.00pm: Year 12 - 15 mixed Cell Group

3.05pm - 4.30pm: Year 8 mixed Cell Group
6.30pm - 7.45pm: Younger Friday Pathfinders
8.00pm - 9.30pm: Older Friday Pathfinders

No Groups

10.45am - 12.00am: Sunday Pathfinders
10.45am - 12.00am: Cyfa (every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

"Updates now available..."

Have you ever wanted to be kept more informed about what we are doing with St. Leonard's youth?

Well now you can! It seems crazy, in a world of information overload, that at church we have to wait for a piece of paper to be handed around before you are filled in on what is going on.

The solution? As a youth work we have decided to make better use of social media to keep you lovely people informed on what is going on.

At least once a month we will be posting general information here about what is coming up and what has been happening with 'da youf'. 

We will also be tweeting regular updates and posting regularly on to Facebook.

So, if you want to stay informed, get subscribing to, following and 'friending' us and try to keep up!